Vehicle tracking installation

Keep your business' vehicles safe and efficient with our guide to successfully setting up vehicle tracking devices, from where you should fit them to how you should install them...

This article will cover:

  1. Where in your vehicle you should install your tracking device
  2. How to install a GPS vehicle tracking device

Perhaps your business offers courier or delivery services, transporting packages to and fro. Or maybe you have skilled staff who need to drive out to clients to perform a service for them.

Whatever the reason, whether you have two vehicles or two hundred on the road, vehicle tracking software should be high on your list of priorities.

Using GPS to report on the location and speed of your business’ vans, bikes and cars when they’re out and about, vehicle tracking requires that a GPS tracking device is installed in each vehicle.

But where is it best to place a tracker? And how, for that matter, do you install one? Read on to find out…


Learn more about vehicle tracking – including what it can be used for a why it’s valuable for small businesses – in our guide, or to compare vehicle tracking suppliers and prices directly, use the form at the top of this page.


Where should you install your tracking device?

When deciding where the best place to put a tracker is in each vehicle, you’ll want to consider these factors:

Discretion

The last thing you want is for an opportunistic thief to steal a tracker you’ve worked hard to buy and install, damaging your vehicle in the process.

So, try to fit the tracker in a place where it can’t be seen from outside the vehicle – or when peering through a window – to reduce this risk.

Size

Your tracker will need to fit somewhere comfortably and discreetly, so you’ll have to take into account how big it is when deciding where to attach it. You’ll only damage both tracker and vehicle if you try to jam it somewhere in which it doesn’t properly fit.

Accessibility

Some trackers will need you to change or charge their batteries regularly – as often as every couple of days in many cases – so keep this in mind and fit your tracker in a place that you can access fairly easily.

Even if your tracker doesn’t have its own batteries to maintain and is to be hardwired to the vehicle’s battery, it’s still wise to fit it somewhere accessible. If it breaks or requires a check up, for example, you’ll need to be able to get hold of it. Furthermore, it’ll need to be in a place where its wiring can be connected to that of the vehicle (more on that in the next section!)

Hardiness

Is your tracker weather-proof, waterproof and all-round tough? If not, have you bought a waterproof, bash-proof case for it?

If you have, you can consider fitting your tracker somewhere external (such as the underside of the vehicle’s body). But you’ll need to ensure it’s secured properly and out of plain sight.

Ready to narrow down your options? Some positions in which you might choose to fit your tracker include:

  • In the boot
  • In the glove compartment
  • Underneath a seat
  • Behind a removable door panel
  • In a secure, safe place under the bonnet
  • On the underside of the vehicle


How should you install your tracking device?

How you actually install your tracking device will depend on whether it comes with its own batteries, or needs to be hardwired to your vehicle’s battery to work.

The former option will need to be maintained regularly – i.e., its batteries will need to be charged or replaced frequently – however, the latter will be markedly more difficult to install.


Installing a GPS tracking device that has its own batteries

This process basically entails securing the device in the location you’ve picked.

Zip ties, strong velcro fastenings or magnetic cases are good options for keeping your tracker in place – or your vehicle tracking supplier may have provided or advised on something for you to use.

Alternatively, you might consider hiring an installation expert who can ensure all of your trackers are secured professionally (and save you a lot of time if you’ve got hoardes of vehicles).


Hardwiring a GPS tracking device to your vehicle’s battery

Rather than hardwiring any trackers yourself, hiring an installation expert instead will likely be the most sensible course of action here.

While calling someone in will come at a cost, the expense should be well worth getting a professional-standard installation, which will both save you hours of labour and – more importantly – minimise the risk of any costly or dangerous mistakes.

However, if you’d like to hardwire your trackers yourself (please only attempt to do so if you have experience and a good understanding of your vehicles’ mechanics), here’s how you can…

You will need:

  • A sharp object (like a needle, pin or the point of some sharp scissors)
  • A sharp knife OR a wire stripper
  • Electrical tape

Before you begin, you should thoroughly read any instructions provided by your vehicle tracking supplier. If they differ from our instructions, opt to follow them instead as they’ll be specific to your device.

Now you’re ready to get started!

Put simply, installing a vehicle tracking device will consist of connecting three wires within your vehicle to three separate wires within the tracker:


Connect this wire in your vehicle: With this wire in your device:
The 12V or 24V DC power source The red wire
The ignition wire The white wire
The ground wire The ground wire


Step by step instructions for connecting these wires:

  1. Find the correct wire in your vehicle (for example, a 12V DC power source).
  1. Remove about an inch of rubber insulation from a point in the wire that your tracker’s wiring can reach easily. To do this:
  • Use your sharp knife to score two cuts width-wise around the surface of the rubber, about an inch apart. Be very careful not to damage the wiring beneath.
  • Score another line lengthwise from one of these cuts to the other.
  • Gently pull this lengthwise cut open, then pull the insulation from the wire.
  • Alternatively, you can use a wire stripper to remove the rubber from the wire.
  1. Remove about an inch of rubber insulation from the end of the corresponding wire in your tracking device (for example, the red wire). To do this:
  • Score a cut around the surface of the rubber using your sharp knife, about an inch from the wire’s end. Again, don’t damage the wiring beneath.
  • Gently bend the wire this way and that, opening up the cut. Gently twist and pull the insulation off.
  • Or, you can use a wire stripper to remove the inch of rubber from the end.
  1. Connect the tracker’s wire to the vehicle’s wire using the ‘poke and wrap’ technique. To do this:
  • Use your sharp object to poke a gap between the newly exposed wiring of the vehicle wire.
  • Twist the exposed wiring at the end of your tracker wire together to create a neat point, then poke this through the gap you’ve just made in the vehicle wiring.
  • Squeeze the gap shut.
  • Wrap the exposed tracker wiring tightly around the exposed vehicle wiring, connecting them.
  1. Cover this connection with electrical tape so that the wiring is no longer exposed. This will prevent the power from grounding out.
  1. Repeat this process for all three necessary connections!


What’s next?

Now you’re ready to fit and install your GPS vehicle tracking devices into your business’ vehicles!

To learn more about vehicle tracking, visit our dedicated channel – or, to compare suppliers and quotes directly, simply fill in the form at the top of this page.