How To Install a GPS Tracker (Easy 5 Step Guide)

Wondering how to install a GPS tracker? You're in the right place!

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • What you need to know about installing a GPS tracker
  • Supplies you'll need
  • How GPS trackers work

And much more!

how to install gps tracker

Installing a GPS tracker in your vehicle is a good idea if you want the added confidence of knowing where your vehicle is at all times. 

Vehicle tracking devices are especially effective if you live in an area where you are at risk of having your vehicle stolen out from under you or for fleet management systems if you own a fleet of vehicles.

However, there are a few things you'll need to know before you jump into learning how to install a GPS tracker on your car.

So, before you install your GPS tracker, I recommend you read through our guide for some key tips that are going to help you with easy installation.

What You Need To Know About Installing a GPS Tracker

Before you go and purchase a car GPS tracker, there are a few things you are going to want to consider. 

First, are you purchasing the tracker more for personal anti-theft services or for business logistics like fleet vehicles? 

This could greatly sway your opinion on which model you choose, as there are battery-powered tracking devices that are more versatile to move around between vehicles and hard-wired tracking devices that are incorporated into the wiring harness of the vehicle and sit underneath the panels. 

So how does the GPS tracker know where your vehicle is at all the time? By using the Global Positioning System, or GPS. The Global Positioning System is a network of 30 or more satellites that was originally developed for the United States military but is now available to anyone with a GPS device.

There are thousands of satellites orbiting the earth that your GPS tracker unit can communicate with.

Using this technology has revolutionized almost all parts of our society giving us an even clearer sense of where we are in relation to other people and places on the planet. 

Supplies You’ll Need For Installing a GPS Tracker

There are lots of different GPS tracker products on the market, and some of them require that you purchase a cell phone chip from a service provider for operation.  

The installation process is different for each product; some will require that the GPS is hardwired into the vehicle for constant power source, and others will have a power source that can be placed anywhere in the vehicle; each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Here's a list of supplies you are possibly going to need:

  • Multimeter
  • Electrical repair kit (electrical tape, shrink tubing, wire strippers, zip ties, etc)
  • Your cell phone
  • Razor blade
Did you know? GPS - a.k.a Global Positioning Systems - were originally invented and used for U.S. military purposes.

How To Install a GPS Tracker(5 Step Guide)

  1. Read manufacturer's installation guide
  2. Find a suitable place to position the tracker
  3. Wire the power supply cables(if necessary)
  4. Download tracking software onto your smartphone
  5. Find your vehicle's location in real-time

Step 1: Read Installation Guide Provided by the Manufacturer

Detailed descriptions will help you get your tracking device up and running. The way tracking devices function is all based on the manufacturer and the concept is very simple.

The device transmits a signal to a nearby satellite and then transmits it back to your mobile or electronic device showing you exactly where it is using latitudes and longitudes.

Step 2: Find a Suitable Position for the Tracker  

Finding a good place for your tracker shouldn't be too hard to do. If it is a hard-wired device, you are going to want to put it behind the interior panels or in a place that is more stationary underneath the dash panels.

Some battery-powered trackers have a magnet that allows you to stick it onto the frame of the vehicle securely which is useful in fleet tracking where not always the same vehicle goes out. You are going to have to take some panels off to expose some wiring for the three-wire type trackers.

Step 3: Wire the Power Supply(If Necessary)

Your GPS tracker will either be wireless and equipped with its battery, plug into the OBD port, or have to be hard-wired to a constant power source in your vehicle. 

For three-wire installations, you are going to have to disassemble some panels to locate the ignition wire that will provide your GPS with constant power. 

Disconnect the negative terminal on the battery.

Connect the white, red and black wires from the GPS tracker into the appropriate matching wires on the ignition column by looping it as shown in the video below, and then test with a multimeter with the car off to ensure that there is always power going to the tracking device. 

The red wire is positive, black is negative, and white is neutral. Be sure you get them all looped into the right spots. Having a wiring diagram of the vehicle will help you be sure about your wiring placements.

If you don't have any experience installing hardwired GPS trackers, then maybe it's best to leave it up to a professional to avoid damaging your vehicle's electrical system and paneling.

Step 4: Download Tracking Software Onto Your Smartphone

Most GPS tracking systems operate by using an app that you can download onto your smartphone. Download the application, and follow the instructions to find the current location of your vehicle.

Step 5: Find Your Vehicle's Location in Real-Time

Locate the GPS signal of your tracking device in real-time by using the application provided by the tracking device unit. You can now find the location of your vehicle at any time by simply clicking on the app or communicating through SMS. 

Read More >> How to Install a HUD

Other Valuable Resources on GPS Tracker Installation 

Google, Amazon, and Youtube are your best friends when it comes to finding the right GPS tracker for your specific needs and installing it correctly. A decent unit shouldn't cost too much.

Hard-Wired or Battery Powered? 

Keep in mind that a hardwired tracking device that is hidden under the paneling will be more difficult to tamper with than an independent battery-powered or OBD-II port unit. That's where the tracking devices differ.

Another downside of a battery-powered tracker is that you will have to remove it from the vehicle for charging every couple of weeks, and it can potentially run out of battery making your vehicle impossible to find if stolen.

Purchasing a Tracker Is Cheap and Easy

The world we live in makes it easier than ever to track a moving object. Purchasing a GPS tracker is easily done on websites like Amazon, and the price for these devices is also unbelievably inexpensive.

There is even open-sourced software technology in existence that was designed to help track fleet vehicles. 


There are a few different reasons why you might want to have a GPS tracker on your vehicle.

Maybe you want to keep track of your teenage driver or spouse, or perhaps you have more than one vehicle for your business that you like to keep a firm grasp on for efficiency? These are both great reasons.

You can set geofencing parameters with your GPS tracker that notify you when your device is outside of a certain area. 

Whatever the reason may be, it is easy to track your vehicle, and you shouldn't feel like you are going to extremes by wanting to know where it's at all the time. 

You should now be able to successfully install a GPS tracker in your vehicle. Enjoy!

Read More >> How to Install HID Headlights

About Your Mechanic

About Ryan Nichols

Ryan here! My pro mechanic career began as a technician for Mercedes-Benz. After two years of that great experience, I went out on my own in both the automotive and construction fields. I've since pulled my share of salvage yard parts and fixed more vehicles than I can count.

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