It’s midnight and your teenage son or daughter promised to be home by ten. You tried calling their cell phone. No response. They could be avoiding your call. Or, they could be in serious trouble. You can either worry yourself sick, not knowing where he or she is. Or you can do something about it.
Now there’s help
There are several GPS trackers in cars available today that can legally tell you where someone is — provided the phone or car is in your name. And in most cases, it is — or should be.
In fact, you should make a point of paying for your teen’s vehicle or smartphone just so you can get it legally registered in your name. A bit devious? Possibly.
But will your teen be glad you knew where they were in case they get into a dangerous situation or get stranded somewhere with no cell phone reception? Absolutely.
Keep track of your elderly Mom or Dad
Or, in the case of elderly parents, you can now easily monitor their whereabouts in case they get lost one day — or in some well-documented cases of dementia — for days on end.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if you could instantly give law enforcement or other public safety officials the exact whereabouts of your loved one?
Here’s the bottom line
In the old days — that would be around ten years ago — you were forced to sit by an idle phone if your teen or wife or husband wasn’t home on time. But times have changed.
You can now do something besides getting in your car and cruise the highways in hopes of spotting their car. Or call the local hospital to see if they’ve been admitted. Think about it. How would you know whether they’re safe or not?
These devices won’t let you actually see what’s going on where they are. But you can certainly go and see for yourself. Right down to the actual spot on the street. Or a parking lot. Or deserted alley.
Some helpful recommendations
Here’s a list of devices you can install quickly and easily on vehicles you own — or co-own with, say, your spouse or parents. In one case, you just slap a magnetic case — just like the ones that hold spare car keys — inside the fender well of the car you want to keep track of — son, daughter, father, mother, or spouse.
In fact, it’s so small you can stash it at the bottom of your teen’s cluttered backpack or purse — preferably with their knowledge.
Tracki 2021 Mini Portable Real-Time Personal and Vehicle GPS Tracker
Here’s our favorite device for monitoring your loved ones’ whereabouts and activity.
You’ll be able to track — in real-time, transmitted every five seconds — where your teen or spouse or elderly parent is, 24 hours a day.
In fact, just so you don’t have to constantly be checking your phone, you can set up an alert that notifies you when someone strays beyond a digital “geo-fence” — geographic parameters. So you’ll know if your teen deviates from a set commute corridor, or your elderly parents leave the house when they shouldn’t be driving.
This compact little device will even go to sleep when it’s not in motion — conserving valuable battery life to be used when it’s most needed.
At only 1.75 x 1.5 x 0.55 in, the compact and discreet Tracki is easy to insert into a backpack, attach to a belt, or attach to the underside of a vehicle.
And, again, since the tracker has motion activation, its battery lasts 2 weeks or longer in most cases. That means you don’t need to access and recharge it as often.
Overall, this is our top pick for GPS trackers in cars.
- This device is tiny and uber-portable — making it easy to conceal or carry on someone’s person.
- It has a two-week battery life but is easily rechargeable.
- Gives location data down to within 15 feet.
- Has a VERY useful SOS button in case the wearer needs help.
- Sends a text or email if the unit goes beyond certain “boundaries”.
- Requires a moderate month-to-month monitoring fee, allowing you access to the real-time monitoring features and the device history logs.
Get the waterproof hard case that magnetically attaches to the inside fender well or undercarriage of a car.
- Magnetic weatherproof case with a powerful, heavy-duty magnet and a 3500mAh extended battery.
- The sturdy and waterproof design is perfect for long-term GPS tracking. Also suitable for use on moving vehicles outdoors – keeping the interior safe from moisture and corrosion
- This extremely cover design measures only 2.5 x 2.2 x 1.6 inches and is built with high-grade plastic for long term protection and monitoring
MasTrack OBD Real-Time GPS Vehicle Tracker with 12 Months of Premium Service
This real-time tracking unit has received overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon since its debut a few years ago.
The “OBD” in the title means “On-Board Diagnostics” and refers to the fact that this clever little piece of equipment slips under the dash. It will therefore remain totally unnoticed by anyone who isn’t looking for it — like your teen or your suspected spouse.
The unit includes 12 months of real-time live GPS tracking with 1-minute updates. Nationwide coverage (U.S. and Canada) and no activation fees — unlike most other units in its small class.
There’s no installation as such. It simply plugs into the OBD port under the dash usually accessed by service personnel. And it’s trackable on any Internet-enabled device, including iPhone and Android. No software is required.
- Includes 12 months of Internet access with purchase
- The screen shows both GPS coordinates and street addresses.
- Utilizes geofencing function, and sends a text when, for example, your student arrives at school.
- Easily removed by those who know where to look
- Some software glitches were reported (very few)
- Expensive but worth it, consumers report
Optimus 2.0 GPS Tracker
This device’s ultra-small size is its primary selling feature. Weighing only a little over 3 ounces and measuring only a little under 4 inches in length, it can be concealed almost anywhere. A built-in motion sensor will help keep the battery fresh. And you can find your target vehicle or persons with ease on Google Maps — right down to the street number.
Another highly useful function — it can be programmed to send a text or email if there is an emergency, or if the vehicle or person goes outside predefined boundaries. It’s one of the lowest prices per month trackers, starting at just over $19 a month. And the coverage area spans North America from Canada to Mexico — and everywhere in between.
- Small, concealable design — even in the hard shell magnetized holder.
- View details such as the speed your teen is traveling
- Battery lasts about two weeks before requiring recharge
- Doesn’t work well in very remote areas
- Some technical issues were reported (very few)