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Vehicle tracking installation

Keep your fleet safe and efficient by successfully fitting vehicle tracking devices into your vehicles. Here we cover where to fit, how to install and the associated costs

Last updated 19 July 2019; Originally published 22 August 2018

This article will cover:

  1. Where in your vehicle you should install your tracking device
  2. How to install a GPS vehicle tracking device
  3. How much does it cost to get a vehicle tracker fitted professionally?

Vans, lorries, bikes and taxis (even ice cream vans)… there’s no end to the array of vehicles used by startup businesses. But how does the discerning business owner keep track of their fleet?

To make sure fuel use is efficient and routes as quick as can be, a nifty piece of kit can be installed: a vehicle tracker. Designed to promote safer, more efficient driving, vehicle trackers can transform the transport side of your business via GPS.

Perhaps your business offers courier or delivery services, transporting packages up and down the country (if so, check out our specific van tracking page). Or maybe you have skilled staff who need to drive out to meet clients.
Whatever the reason, whether you have two or two hundred vehicles on the road, vehicle tracking software should be high on your list of priorities.

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



Where should you install your tracking device?

If, like many, you’re wondering ‘where do they install tracking devices on cars?’ you’ll be interested in the below list detailing all of the possible places and considerations to keep in mind when installing a vehicle tracker.

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).

What are the best battery operated vehicle trackers?

Supplier: Best for: Cost:

Verizon Connect
Drivers’ leaderboards show staff how their driving compares to their colleagues’. £22 to £42 per vehicle per month
Movolytics Trip history: journey data is recorded so you can check back on it in the future. Quote only available on request
Quartix Friendly, committed customer service, free installation, mobile app, transparent pricing & interactive demo £13.90 – £19.50 per month, per vehicle

We’ve shown a quick-fire view of the best vehicle trackers on the market, but that’s not all! Head over to our page detailing the seven best vehicle trackers for the full story.

Or, feeling ready to see direct quotes from suppliers? Head to the free form at the top of the page to be put in touch with suppliers dedicated to you and your business.


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, but before you do, take a look at the three best hardwire vehicle trackers available today:

Supplier: Best for: Cost:

RAM Tracking
Unlimited free training and system upgrades
Quote only available on request
BOX Telematics Tracker Instant access to Google Street View of vehicles, available 24/7. Quote only available on request
UK Fuels Ltd’s Kinesis Tracking An online training hub packed with training videos, template documents and answers to FAQs. £14.50 – £19.50

If you’re looking for a more detailed insight into the world of vehicle tracking devices, our seven best vehicle trackers page is probably the place for you! Or, if you’re feeling ready to see some quotes, hop to the top of the page to fill in our handy, free form to get quotes today.


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!

How much does it cost to get a vehicle tracker fitted professionally?

The expected price range for vehicle tracker installation comes in at £50 – £100 per vehicle. This is dependant on a few variables, such as vehicle type, GPS, power source and whereabouts on the vehicle the tracker is installed.

But there’s no need to slam the brakes on yet! For a more detailed account of the charges you can expect to incur when planning to track your fleet, visit the page on vehicle tracking costs for a geared-up pricing analysis.


What's next?

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

But before you can fit a vehicle tracker, you need to buy one first! Head to the top of this page and we’ll indicate some of the best suppliers to you, plus we’ll provide decent vehicle tracking quotes to boot!




Poppy Mortiboys-Harrison is a writer for startups.co.uk. Having previously worked on projects for Jaguar Land Rover, her background in automotive advertisement comes in handy as she’s now our expert in fleet management. Plus, when it comes to dealing with digital marketing and card payment services, Poppy’s our go-to girl.

When she’s not searching for exciting startups, or dreaming of delicious puns to spice up her copy, Poppy can be found nurturing a passion for spoken word poetry or cooking up a storm in the kitchen.