Getting lost on the road is a nightmare, but getting your car stolen in one of your regular stops is even more so. This is why many people have turned to installing GPS devices on their cars despite the heavy price tag that comes along with it. This somehow assures them that they have a way to track their vehicles down anytime. Because of this guarantee, having a GPS tracker could help lower car insurance premium.
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From the point of view of a car security and insurance company, a vehicle tracking system is one of the main weapons in the fight against carjacking and theft.
Many of these devices are installed by professionals, but that is no reason for you to think that you can’t install it yourself if you are inclined to tinker with technology.
Before you do so, however, it is important that you check with your manufacturer to avoid invalidating any warranties and with your insurers for any discounts on premiums regarding on device fittings.
Here’s a little guide on how to install GPS tracking devices on your car:
Installing GPS Devices: A Guide
There are two ways of installing a GPS device on your car: hardwiring it or plugging it to the OBD port.
Hardwiring GPS device to your car
Here’s how you hardwire a GPS tracking device to your vehicle:
- Secure the 12-VDC power source to the red wire found on your tracking device.
- Start by attaching the wiring harness to the transceiver. Follow the “poke and wrap” technique to avoid connectivity issues.
- Remove about an inch of insulation from the wire with the power source.
- Take a sharp object and poke through the wire, creating a loop.
- Take off an inch of insulation off the end of the red wire on your tracking device.
- Twist the ends of the red wire (tracking device) and poke through the loop you made on the car’s power source.
- Squeeze loop shut, and twist the red wire around. Wrap in electrical tape to ensure it does not ground out.
- Find the vehicle’s ignition wire, and connect it to the white wire on the tracking device.
- Finally, connect both the vehicle and tracking device ground wires together.
- Consider using a zip tie, Velcro, or tape to hold it in place as you don’t want your tracker to move while on the road. It can damage the wires as well as your device.
Now even with all these tips laid out for you, hardwiring GPS tracking devices to your vehicle may still not be as easy as you think. Even if you know the ins and outs of your car, there may still be things that you will need someone else’s help with. Because of this, you can choose to have a professional do it on your behalf to ensure that it is done properly and that nothing goes wrong. But then again, it’s all up to you.
If you choose to do it yourself, here are some things that you need to remember:
- Make sure that the power of your tracking comes from the ignition column.
- Avoid connecting the device to the car radio, as you won’t get sufficient power.
- See to it that the device always gets 12-VDC power even when the ignition is off. You can test this with the help of a multimeter. Watch the power during startup and shutdown and make sure it does not dip below 9 volts.
- Avoid touching wires connected to the airbag since this could up end up compromising your overall safety.
- Manufacturers usually recommend the installation of the tracker to be in a safe, dry, mechanically protected area that does not receive direct sunlight or not at an extreme temperature.
Plugging in GPS tracking device to the OBD port
PLug-in trackers need a power source. The most reliable of them is the OBD port that is built in on your car. The OBD port is not used that often, so it is safe to use it as a power source for your tracker with no need for constant charging. To fit the tracking device to the port, all you need is the OBD-II port, which you can find on your dashboard.
With plug-in trackers, you can easily remove the device. And you can even hide them in your dashboard with the help of a durable extension cable.
This one is way simpler than hardwiring the device to your vehicle. All you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
- Locate the OBD-II connector.
- Plug the device to OBD-II port.
- Register to the tracker’s companion app by creating an account, and start tracking your device.
GPS tracking technology, however, does not come cheap. Besides the rather expensive purchase price of the device, there is also a monthly or annual fee to look out for, so it’s important to weigh things including the costs, the likelihood of your car being stolen, and whether or not paying for a tracking device will be worth the cost of the initial outlay.
What happens to GPS devices?
Most systems are activated as soon as a vehicle is tampered with, like the engine starting without the keys in the ignition. The device sends out a signal via GPS satellite to a monitoring station as well as the police.
Some of the devices even have driver recognition transponder cards so if the keys are not used to start the engine, anomalies can be picked up as it identifies the authorized driver.
Companies also offer a service that detects and calls the owner of the vehicle if their car is driven at an unusual time or into an unusual area, and they can contact the owner to ensure that an authorized driver is using the car. This involves the company having to build a map of where you usually travel and park and will highlight deviations from your usual pattern.
Then there are also systems that can incorporate remote engine kill, with the engine dropping below a certain point, preventing thieves from driving even further using your vehicle.
If you’re not comfortable enough with shelling out an expensive tracker for your car, then you have another choice to help lower car insurance.
How a GPS Device Helps Lower Car Insurance
Telematics insurance has also been gaining popularity in recent years and has become even more so given the gender ruling back in December 2012. It was when a law was passed that men and women will pay the same amount in a gender-neutral insurance pricing—without the distinction on the grounds of sex. #EqualRights, if you will.
Telematics is a small box installed on a vehicle and works similarly to a black box installed on aircraft, a machine that records everything that happens to the car as it happens. Insurers can then build a history of data about your driving habits and can subsequently raise or lower car insurance premium. This gives insurers a way of monitoring the location, movement, status, and behavior of a vehicle.
Telematics usually benefits drivers aged 17–24 who, historically, are the ones who have to pay exorbitant prices for their car insurance, and this technology aims to change that. Monitoring young drivers with the Telematics box will record anything that a driver does, whether they are behind the wheel or not—things like where the car is parked, for instance, will be taken into consideration.
However, there are five key areas where Telematic technology assesses these motorists: cornering, swerving, braking, speeding, and accelerating.
Insurance providers will look into the behavior of drivers, if they’ve been approaching corners too quickly, going about on high speeds, and braking and accelerating sharply. They will check if one can be considered “safe” on the road. While some critics say that this is the “Big Brother” way of using technology to restrict drivers, early indications do show that it is possible to reduce the price of your car insurance as long as you drive with proper care and decorum, so how bad could it be if having this technology can not only reward you with lower car insurance premiums but also help improve driver performance and can therefore keep you safe and responsible on the road?
Are GPS trackers Worth All This?
If you feel the need for extra security on your vehicle, then tracking is something that you should look into.
Prices for these trackers vary. Trackimo, for instance, is relatively less expensive compared to others but still offers prime services, which is something you should remember when picking out a device suited for you.
It is essential that you inform your insurance provider about adding these devices to your car before paying for anything, however, as most companies only recognize certain brands that they trust. Even an extra car alarm with immobilizer, for instance, can be enough to lower car insurance premium. Before you buy any extra devices or technologies, help yourself make the right decisions by checking in with the insurance company that will pay for your future loss or damages.
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