Cheapie GPS tracking for your car

2014-02-11 07:30
Google has launched a new mapping application for iOS. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Google has launched a new mapping application for iOS. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Cape Town - Your car is valuable to you, but even with an alarm you have little peace of mind when it comes to thieves because few people even bother to look when a car alarms shrieks.

The solution then lies in the tracking technology of GPS, but products are often expensive and require monthly fees that may be ideal for a late model luxury car, but may not suit folks who have a 90s runabout.

One answer that might work is the smartphone.

Most people are on to their second or third smartphone contract and using the old phone as a cheapie GPS device for your vehicle is a snap.

Simply direct your mobile to the Google Play Store, for example, and download a GPS tracker application. Be aware that not all apps are created equal and some may offer better functionality than others.


In a test, Way GPS came out on tops because you can load more than one device on to a single account and it allows you to set the refresh rate which could save on battery power.

On the minus side though, many apps offer free trial versions, but demand payment for additional services or time. Also, it is a concern that some apps demand a range of personal information.

Once installed, the app work by checking the GPS signal from your phone - even if you've hidden it under the spare tyre in the boot (Assuming, of course, that your runabout has a spare tyre).

The hero bit here is that the app doesn't even require that your phone has a SIM installed and any GPS tracker worth its salt should run discreetly on a smartphone.

You should have about two days before you will have to charge the phone, but if that is too much on an effort, you can have a lighter socket fitted and charge the phone with cheaply available USB adaptors.

For those who can't bear to see their beloved old device in the nether regions of a car, you can pick up a cheap Android smartphone for as little as R400 - cash.

If you insist on more functionality, like alerts when the car moves or even the ability to stop the car, you will have to fork out for an aftermarket dedicated device.

Some cheap options include a fitted GPS unit from Soundmatch, among other suppliers, for R1 299. The device has no contract and you have the responsibility of tracking your car on the internet.


Check out our video debate on the cheap tracker options for your car:

Cape Track offers a system for R1 999 that tracks your car through the web, but you have to supply a SIM card. The device offers alerts and some units can also be fitted to motorcycles.

G-Track has a clever system that installs in the vehicle for R2 100 and allows the user to run reports and receive alerts if the car moves without the owner. For this you pay a monthly fee of R60.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

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