How To Track My Car Location By Number Plate

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When your child is driving a car, you can track it by number plate by linking it with a GPS server or using CCTV cameras. Alternatively, you can track a car’s location by using spyware, a hidden GPS device, or a spare phone.

Does your child drive a car? Are you worried about whether or not they are driving safely? This is relatable – one of my elder cousin’s sons started driving a few months back, and he is always worried about him.

Understandably, you would want to track your car’s exact location to know where your child takes it and if he or she is safe. But can you track a car’s location just with a number plate? The answer is yes, you can do this with the help of a GPS tracking system (Global Positioning System.

How To Track Car Location By License Plate – 2 Methods

Backside view of a car

You can track a car location through its number plate by either linking it with a GPS-tracking server or using CCTV cameras. Here’s how you can use these two methods to track your vehicle’s location.

By Linking The Car Plate With A GPS Server

The first thing you can try is to link the car’s license plate number with a GPS server. A GPS server is a combination of hardware and software that enables the tracking of GPS devices.

My cousin’s son started driving a few months ago and my cousin initially tried this method to track his car for the first month and a half. However, he felt this was a little complicated, and I think he was right.

To do this, you need to create an account on a GPS server, add a tracking device to the car, and then link the license plate with the server. However, most new cars have built-in GPS, so in this case, you can track car’s location directly through its built-in GPS system.

When you create an account and link the GPS device, the GPS server will create a license plate database set. It will keep fetching and adding the car’s location details to the license plate database. You can simply track the car’s location by logging into your account and getting the most recently fetched location.

By Using CCTV Cameras

CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras are one of the most traditional methods to track a car. CCTV is a TV system where signals are used for surveillance instead of being distributed publicly.

Many cars have a built-in GPS tracking system. But if your car doesn’t, leveraging a CCTV camera network is the only option to track a car’s location only by its number plate. That said, this is not an entirely viable option, as many small cities and rural areas don’t have a wide-reaching CCTV network.

Even if your city does have a city-wide CCTV network, you will need access to all the CCTVs in your city for this method to work. You’d have to check the CCTV footage to see what part of the city your car is in. However, this can be challenging, time-consuming, and even impossible to check all the footage frame-by-frame.

I think getting access to all CCTV cameras in your city is almost impossible. My nephew lost his phone some years back, and I wanted to access some CCTV footage to track his course in the hope that I would find his phone.

But I struggled to access the traffic camera footage. Traffic cameras are usually operated by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or other government agencies. The footage captured isn’t accessible to the general public.

If you want to access such footage, you need permission from an authority in the department. Such requests are usually denied, but I was lucky to get permission in my case, with some effort. If your request is denied, your only option is to hire a lawyer and get a court order. 

For these reasons, tracking a car by number plate is complicated and uncertain. So, I would personally not choose this method to track a car by number plate.

Other More Viable Ways To Track A Car Location

I guess you now have the idea that car tracking by number plate alone can be difficult. It’s not impossible, but the time and resources required are not something everyone has or can afford to have. Luckily, there are other ways to track a car.

Using Spyware

Spyware is an ideal option if you want to track a car to monitor your child’s driving. Spyware can monitor and gather data about what you are doing on your phone and send it to a third party.

There are many popular spy apps available for both Android and iOS devices. Most spy apps have a location-tracking feature. You can use this to track a car location with the help of a GPS system.

Different GPS locations on the mSpy dashboard

I personally use mSpy for tracking my nephew’s online activities. I prefer this app because it offers several additional features, such as a keylogger, social media monitoring, web tracking, etc. Moreover, its geo-location tracking capabilities are very accurate. So, you can use it to get the exact location of your car.

Besides location, you can also use spy apps for their geofencing feature. Geofencing uses GPS trackers and cellular signals to create virtual boundaries.

Pinpoint location of the target on the mSpy dashboard

You can use geofencing to define a boundary for a location where you don’t want your child to take the car. The feature will track a car’s location and notify you whenever it enters the location defined in geofencing.

The steps to add a restricted area are almost similar in all spy apps. Once you have downloaded and installed mSpy on the target phone, here’s how to add geofencing.

  1. Head to the geofencing tab.
Geo Fencing feature on the mSpy dashboard
  1. Tap the “+” sign.
Plus icon at the bottom to add a new zone
  1. Add the details based on what area you want to fence.
Geo Fencing zone area selected on the map

By Installing A Hidden GPS Device

You can use a hidden GPS tracker to track a car location. In my opinion, this method is easier, as you don’t have to install any app on your child’s phone to track the vehicle. Due to its small size, you can easily put this GPS-tracking device anywhere inside the car.

You can buy hidden GPS devices for car tracking on Amazon, Best Buy, or any other online retailer. They are affordable and come with their own battery. So, you won’t have to connect them with the car’s battery, which makes the task even simpler.

With a hidden GPS tracker, you can even track a stolen car. Most thieves would remove any electronic device in a car before stealing them to avoid being tracked. However, hidden devices are very small and unnoticeable by thieves.

I have even personally seen car rental businesses use these devices for fleet management. They help them track how many cars are on the road and how many are available for renting.

By Keeping A Spare Smartphone In The Car & Enabling Location Sharing

Another efficient way to track a car is with a spare phone. Smartphones allow you to share your device’s live location with others. Therefore, you can enable location sharing on your spare phone and keep it inside the car to track it.

You can then track the cell phone’s location using Google Maps. I feel that this is the best option if your motive is to only track where your child is taking your car. In this way, you can track a vehicle for free.

In fact, I use this method myself, although not for tracking my car. I use it to track that my nephew gets home safely after school.

To begin with, you need to enable location-sharing on the spare phone. Once you do that, here are the steps to share live locations through Google Maps. I am using my Redmi Xiaomi Mi A2 Android phone for the images.

  1. Open Google Maps and tap on the profile picture.
Profile icon at the top right corner on the Google Maps
  1. Select “Location sharing.”
Location sharing option in the menu
  1. Tap the “Share location” button.
Share location button on location sharing screen
  1. Select the “Until you turn this off” option.
Duration selection option for location sharing
  1. Enter your Gmail account address, name, or phone number, and select yourself.
Account selection option for location sharing
  1. Tap the “Send” button.
Send button at the bottom right corner to send location link


Can You Track The Location Of A Car?

You can track the location of a car with GPS, a license plate, spyware, and even CCTVs. You can use these methods as described in this article to track a car.

How Do I Track My Car On Google Maps?

You can track your car on Google Maps by keeping a spare phone in the vehicle and enabling its location services. You can share the phone’s live location and track it using Google Maps.

Can You Track A Car Without A Tracker?

You can track a car without a tracker using its number plate, CCTVs, and text recognition software. The software will match all the text in CCTV footage with your car’s license plate to find it.

How To Track Your Car’s Location By Number Plate: The Final Verdict

You can track a car with just its number plate with the help of CCTVs and a text recognition solution. However, it can be challenging, as you would not have the right resources to do so. Therefore, it is best to use a hidden GPS device, spyware, or a spare phone to track a car.

If you have any questions, please feel free to write them in comments. I will reply to each one of them.

About The Authors

  • Kailash Vaviya

    Kailash Vaviya is a freelance writer who started writing in 2019 and has never stopped since then as he fell in love with it. He has a soft corner for technology and likes to read, learn, and write about it. His content is focused on providing information to help build a brand presence and gain engagement. You can connect with him on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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  • Jenn Peters

    Jenn Peters is an experienced content manager and editor who holds a degree in English and certifications in Social Media Marketing and Copywriting from the College of Media and Publishing. She has been working for TechUntold since 2018. In addition, Jenn works as a content editor for Valnet across 7 company sites, publishing numerous articles weekly. Connect with Jenn on LinkedIn.

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Kailash Vaviya

Kailash Vaviya is a freelance writer who started writing in 2019 and has never stopped since then as he fell in love with it. He has a soft corner for technology and likes to read, learn, and write about it. His content is focused on providing information to help build a brand presence and gain engagement. You can connect with him on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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