If you’re like many people, you may be wondering how to detect if someone has placed a GPS tracking device on your vehicle. GPS Tracking devices have gotten so small, they are commonly the size of a pack of cigarettes, and some are even as small as a quarter! With devices that small, they can be hard to detect, especially if you’ve got a large vehicle.
The first thing you need to know is that there are two different types GPS tracking devices:
A GPS Logger is a passive device, meaning that it doesn’t actively transmit your GPS location. This means whoever put a GPS logger on your car will have to place it on your car, and then retrieve it later in order to view the driving data, which is stored on the device. A popular example of this is the Sleuthgear iTrail GPS Logger, which is only 1.5″X1.5″ big.
A GPS Tracker is an active device, meaning that it actively transmits your location “live”, usually to a secure website, where the person who placed it there can view your location and driving information via a web browser or special program. Once they put it on there, they do not have to retrieve it, they can just view the information online. They will likely come back later though, because the battery life on active tracker is usually less than 30 days.
Here’s where knowing the difference between the two types of tracking devices is important. A GPS Logger (like the iTrail GPS) can only be detected manually – meaning you’ll have to physically search for it. The reason for this is because since they don’t actively transmit a signal (they just store data to the device), then a bug detector or bug sweeper won’t be able to pick up any kind of transmission or signal. If you suspect that you might have a GPS logger on your vehicle, the first place to look for it is UNDER THE VEHICLE. This is the most popular place to hide a GPS tracking device, and is accomplished by placing the device inside a magnetic case, which securely attaches to the metal on the underside of your vehicle. Other places to look are in the glove box, center console, and the truck (including under the spare tire).
If you suspect that you might have an active GPS Tracker on your car, a manual search is always the first step. Look under the vehicle, in the glove box, and in the trunk. These type of units are usually bigger than GPS Loggers because they need a bigger battery in order to actively transmit a signal. If you don’t have time to do a manual search, you’re in luck, because active GPS Trackers can be easily detected by a GPS Detector.
A GPS Detector is a handheld device that is usually battery powered that allows you to “sweep” your vehicle (or wherever else you want to locate a GPS Tracker) and will alert you when it detects a transmitting GPS signal that is sending out your location. There is an adjustable sensitivity knob that allows you to hone in on the exact location of the tracker, so you can remove it from your vehicle.
A GPS detection device will also detect cell phone signals, because cell phones are commonly used as makeshift GPS tracking devices, since owners of cell phones can often use a “locate” feature of their phone to find out where it is at.
So if you want to find out if someone has placed a GPS tracking device on your car, first conduct a manual search, and for a quicker and easier search, use a GPS Detector.