Where you place GPS devices on vehicles can have a dramatic effect on how useful they will be. Though best placement can vary from car to car, here is our guide to some general rules of thumb to help keep your devices as effective as possible.
GPS devices will always report most accurately when their antennae have a clear view of the sky. Check your device’s manual for the location of the antenna on your particular device. If you are trying to hide a device, it may not provide the same level of accuracy as if it were sitting out on the dashboard, but we have some tips for you to help optimize your results:
- Do not put the device anywhere surrounded by metal, like the car’s trunk.
- Avoid placing the tracker on top of other electronic devices, like turn-by-turn directional devices; a few inches between the two should be adequate to avoid interference.
- Most battery-powered tracking devices have weatherproof magnetic “slap and track” cases available. These allow a device to be placed underneath a vehicle.
When placing beneath a car:
- Make sure the antenna is facing down, toward the ground. This will allow the device to pick up a satellite signal reflected off of the earth.
- Place the device as near to the edge of the vehicle as you can. If it is too far beneath the car, it may not get a signal.
Note that best placement can vary by vehicle. Due to differences in automobile manufacturers, a device may report perfectly on one vehicle but not report at all from the same location on a different vehicle. There is an element of trial and error that will need to be performed by each customer; it is simply not possible to test individual trackers on every model of car manufactured.
It can sometimes be more difficult to place a tracker on a new vehicle than it would be on an older model car. For example, vehicles with tire pressure sensors can cause problems for GPS devices. The sensors located in the wheel well transmit UHF radio signals to the car’s on-board computer that can interfere with a tracker. Usually, ensuring that the tracker is moved a few feet from one of these sensors can mitigate any negative interference.
All of these rules are for battery-operated trackers. If you want to bypass the GPS placement issue entirely, you can look into on-board diagnostic trackers like the TrackPort, or hardwired trackers like the HCT Plus, which runs on the vehicle’s power.
GPS devices are already a valuable investment. Get the most out of your purchase with these simple steps.