What Cars Have GPS Tracking Built-in: Everything You Need To Know

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Almost all new cars have GPS tracking built-in. GPS tracking contributes to improved security of your vehicle as you can track it in real-time. It’s projected that in the next five years, 98% of the vehicles in the United States will have a GPS tracking system installed.

Are you looking to buy your child’s first car and considering safety features like GPS tracking? Car shopping is even more difficult when buying your teen’s first car. After all, this is your baby that you’re putting on the road. 

GPS tracking is an essential feature for any car, in my opinion. When helping my brother pick out my niece’s first car, I ensured he got one with a built-in GPS tracking system. This way, he can keep an eye on his baby girl.

GPS Tracking In Cars

GPS tracking is a term we’ve all heard about in one way or another. Whether that’s in relation to your phone or your car. GPS is a part of our everyday lives now. 

What Exactly Is GPS Tracking?

Interior of a Tesla car going on the road

GPS stands for Global Position System. GPS technology means that an object’s location can be monitored remotely. GPS technology can track the target’s longitude, latitude, course of direction, and ground speed. 

You can learn more about GPS Tracking from WhatIs, a reference and self-education site that is about Information Technology (IT). 

How Do GPS Tracking Devices Work?

An arrow showing the location of the car on the navigation map

Understanding how GPS works is just as important as knowing what it is. According to National Geographic, GPS works via 24 satellites (a constellation) that circle the Earth in a precise orbit. 

GPS receivers on the earth (such as your phone or your car) are programmed to receive signals from these satellites at any given time. The GPS receiver determines its own location by measuring the time it takes for a signal to reach it from at least three satellites. This process is known as trilateration. 

Do All New Cars Have GPS Tracking Devices?

A person holding steering wheel of a car

Most new cars have a built-in GPS tracking system. According to the insurance company The Zebra, there are 78 million cars in the U.S. with built-in GPS tracking systems. It’s estimated that in the next five years, 98% of cars in the U.S. will have GPS trackers installed. But while this is the case, GPS trackers are not mandated by law in the U.S.

According to Transfinder, a logistics software company, GPS navigation for personal vehicles officially began in 2001. Therefore, it’s safe to say that any vehicle built before then might not have GPS navigation built-in. Many car brands offer factory-installed GPS navigation systems, including Nissan, Hyundai, and Ford. 

Features To Consider When Choosing A Car With Built-In GPS Tracking

Map on a phone screen inside the car

Here’s what you need to consider when choosing a car with a built-in GPS tracker:

  • Real-Time Tracking – this means you can monitor your vehicle’s location and movement as it happens. This is the first feature my brother and I considered for my niece’s first car. It’ll give you some peace of mind as a parent or guardian.
  • Geo-fencing – with this feature, you can create virtual boundaries on the map and get alerts when the car enters or leaves those boundaries. Geo-fencing is a great feature for a GPS system and parental control apps in general, such as mLite. My brother uses it for my niece and his two sons so he can monitor their digital activities and movement. 
  • Speed alerts – can let you know when your child’s car exceeds a set speed limit. Thankfully, my niece has been a safe driver thus far, the opposite of my brother and I when we first started driving – but don’t tell her that! 

Another way to monitor your child’s driving speed is with a parental control app such as FamiSafe.

  • Smartphone Integration – look for a built-in GPS tracking system that can easily integrate with your smartphone. This will easily allow you to monitor your teen’s vehicle. It was a huge relief to my brother when he learned he could monitor my niece from his phone.

What Are The Benefits Of GPS Tracking Devices?

Map shown on the touch screen of a Tesla car

While most new cars have a built-in GPS tracking system, they aren’t just there for show. GPS trackers offer a host of benefits for car owners. 

  • A GPS tracking device is vital in the case of emergencies. The faster emergency services can locate you, the faster they can assist, and a GPS tracker makes all that possible.
  • GPS tracking technology can help you recover your vehicle faster in the event of theft. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB), 1,001,967 vehicles were stolen in 2022 in the U.S. If this ever happens to you or your teen’s car, having a specific tracking system can help you locate the vehicle faster and recover it. 

Can A GPS Tracker Be Added To A New Car? 

A couple discussing with a sales person

Not all cars have built-in GPS tracking devices, older, more budget-friendly cars may not. If you’re opting to buy a car like this as your teen’s first car, which I totally understand because that’s what I got. 

You don’t have to worry about the fact that there’s no built-in GPS tracking device. In fact, you can talk to your dealer about possibly adding a GPS for you at an additional cost.

If that’s not an option, your mechanic can add a tracking device to the car to ensure you always know your child’s location. If you’re looking for a GPS tracking device for your teen’s car and don’t know where to start, I recommend checking out Motor1’s recommendations on the 5 Best Car GPS Trackers. It’s a website dedicated to car reviews and news.  

What Is The Best Place To Hide GPS In Your Car?

A mechanic examining car tyre

If the car you’re getting for your child doesn’t have a GPS built-in and you’re opting you get one for them, then you need to know the best place to install the GPS device. Here are the best places to hide a GPS device in your teen’s car:

  • Underneath the car – the undercarriage is one of the best places to hide a GPS tracking device. This is because most GPS devices have a magnetic mount, so you can securely attach it to the metallic part of the car without worry. I’ve helped a friend install a GPS on a car this way before. 
  • In The Bumper – Another great place to install a GPS device in your teen’s car is the front or rear bumper. You can remove the bumper to install it, but in most cases, you can firmly secure the GPS to the car’s bumper with velcro. 
  • Inside The Dashboard – you can install a GPS device inside your dashboard below the steering. While it’s difficult to reach for installation, doing so will keep it out of sight, so it won’t be easy to remove by robbers or your teen if they like to fiddle with things, like my niece. 

Here’s a video on how to place a covert tracker on a vehicle:

YouTube player

How To Find Hidden GPS Device On Your Car?

Auto technician discussing with his colleague

While GPS navigation can be used to keep you, your teen, and your car safe, it can also be how criminals monitor you or your teen’s vehicle. You can refer to the National Conference of State Legislatures to determine your state law around someone installing a tracker on your vehicle. 

Generally, though, it’s illegal in the U.S. for someone to install a tracker on someone else’s vehicle without their consent. If you have suspicions about someone tracking your vehicle, here’s how to find a hidden GPS device in your car:

  • Physical inspection – A thorough check of your car’s interior and exterior can help you find a GPS device. Be sure to check the undercarriage, the dashboard, inside the bumpers, and even under the hood. The same place you can hide a GPS device is where a criminal is likely to hide it. 
  • Use a GPS Detector – If you want to avoid the hassle of doing a physical inspection, you can use a GPS scanner; I found a great article by GPS Tracker Shop that explains what a GPS scanner is and how it works. It’ll find the GPS device in minutes, even if a physical inspection missed it. 
  • Enlist Professional Help – If you want to be as thorough as possible, I suggest you take your car to a mechanic to find any hidden GPS devices in your vehicle

Here’s a video sharing how you can find a GPS tracker on your car:

YouTube player

Can You Remove Or Block GPS Tracking On A New Car?

If you do find a hidden GPS tracker in your or your teen’s car, you can remove it. But if your car has a built-in GPS system, you won’t be able to remove it. However, you can use a GPS blocker to block GPS signals. Check out these GPS jammers from the Jammer Store. 

Another option is to remove the battery from the GPS device to get it to stop working. If all else fails, you can bring your car to your mechanic to have them remove it. 

Here’s a video on how to remove the GPS system from your car if you want to DIY the process:

YouTube player


Do cars have built-in GPS tracking?

Many cars have built-in GPS tracking and most new cars have GPS tracking built in. However, you can remove it if you wish. Research has shown that 78 million cars in the U.S. currently have GPS tracking, with approximately 98% of them having it in the next five years.

How far can you track a car with GPS?

How far you can track a car with GPS depends on the software you’re using, the hardware, and the signal. You can track a car virtually anywhere with those three in good condition. A real-time GPS tracking device can have an accuracy of up to 6 feet.

How do you tell if a car has a GPS tracker?

You can tell a car has a GPS tracker by checking the common places where one is hidden. These include under the seats, the dashboard, the bumper in or behind the glove box, or the undercarriage. It looks like a black box with wires coming out of it.

Can I put a GPS tracker on my car?

You can put a GPS tracker on your car. Once you own the vehicle, there is no law against installing one. However, it is illegal in the U.S. to install a tracker onto another person’s car without their explicit consent.

Can you put a GPS tracker on a car without them knowing?

You can put a GPS tracker on a car without them knowing. However, it is an offense in the United States to knowingly install or conceal a tracking system in someone else’s vehicle without their knowledge and consent.

Cars With Built-In GPS – Wrapping Up

Personally, I feel that a GPS tracker is essential, especially in your child’s vehicle. While older cars may not have GPS tracking built-in, you can buy GPS tracking devices and install them by yourself or with the help of your mechanic. 

Most modern-day cars have GPS with a host of great features. These can help keep your car and teen safe, especially as they start driving independently. Be sure to leave any questions in the comments below and share this article with other parents who have driving teens.

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.

  • 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.

Photo of author

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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