The Bottom Line: Vyncs GPS Tracker Won Our Top Spot
The Vyncs GPS Vehicle Trackerhits all the marks of good vehicle tracker: unsafe driving alerts, geofencing, and real-time location tracking.
Plus, free roadside assistance and a companion app that can help you track your mileage, which is great if you travel a lot for work.
Vyncs also reminds you of maintenance like wear and tear, battery charge, and recall notices. You can ask Alexa about fuel consumption before work in the morning, and Vyncs even gives you advice on getting better fuel economy.
Overall, it’s a great choice you want to keep your car (and its driver) safe and sound for about $100 per year.
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The Vyncs GPS tracks location, unsafe driving practices, engine diagnostics, battery life, maintenance needs, recall notices, and fuel levels.
It evaluates your driving to give you a Tip Performance Index (TPI) score that can help you save money on car insurance. Its free companion app, VyncsMiles, is compatible with Amazon Alexa and can track mileage and categorize it by personal and business use.
Vyncs uses one-year plans instead of month-to-month deals. This kind pricing can save you cash if you’re committed to tracking your vehicle’s location for awhile.
You can also check out Vync’s Basic, Premium, and Pro plans that sweeten the deal with services like roadside assistance. Vyncs also has a Fleet service for commercial customers who might want to monitor their employees during deliveries or routes.
The OBD plug-in GPS device costs around $75 and comes with a one-year basic plan subscription (and a one-time activation fee of $30). Yearly renewal costs are about the same, which works out to around $6 a month, making it the least expensive GPS on our list.
We don’t like that the default refresh time is three minutes—the fastest refresh time (15 seconds) is available only for an added fee. The user interface is also a little tricky to manage.
With a driving education course for teens, Google Maps route replay, geofencing, and customizable location alerts, the easy-to-install MOTOsafety GPS Tracker earned our top spot for new teen drivers.
This tracking device costs around only $20 with a monthly fee of $19.99. You won’t have to sign a contract or pay a cancellation fee, but you will have to call the company if you want to cancel.
We like the included driver training program, with access to educational content and practice quizzes to help your teen prep for their driving test.
We also like the daily driving report card on the mobile app, but metrics can be confusing. Speed limits aren’t always accurate on Google Maps, so MOTOsafety might say you’re speeding even when you’re not.
Likewise, normal rapid acceleration—like when you’re merging onto a busy highway—can also count against you. We recommend taking it out for a test drive and checking the sensitivity before taking away your teen’s car keys for a bad grade on their MOTOsafety driving report.
Bouncie is to the GPS tracking game, but it has all the best parts of other popular trackers. So we expect to see it rising to the top.
Bouncie plugs into your car’s OBD port and offers standard geofencing and real-time alerts for speed, hard braking, and acceleration. It also helps you keep tabs on gas levels, vehicle maintenance, and routine car-related tasks, like annual emissions inspections.
We like that you can use your Amazon Echo to check the gas in your car or ask when your registration is due.
The device also tracks your mileage and stores the data, which is a great feature if you need to track mileage for business purposes.
Bouncie charges only $8 a month for its tracking services, so it’s a close second to Vyncs when it comes to pricing, but without the long-term commitment. If you want to track three vehicles, you’ll get a special discounted rate of $20 per month for all three.
The only downsides to this device were the green flashing light that never seems to go off (black electrical tape to the rescue) and some occasional glitches with the Alexa commands.
The two-inch SpyTec STI GL300 GPS Tracker is small enough to be tucked into a pocket or attached to the undercarriage of your vehicle. This tracking device is battery-powered, so you’ll need to charge it periodically. The manufacturer claims a two-week battery life, but it’s more like eight to ten days.
Monitoring will cost you around $25 a month, and you’ll get location updates only every 60 seconds unless you pay more for faster tracking. There are no contracts or cancellation fees, and we like that SpyTec offers a 30-day, no-hassle cancellation policy.
The Optimus 2.0 GPS Tracker is a close cousin to the SpyTec. Both are small, battery-operated vehicle tracking devices, but the Optimus is slightly bigger. The Optimus has better battery life, and the monthly fees are $20 a month.
Unlike SpyTec’s website-only tracking, the Optimus uses both a website and an app.
We found the location tracking to be more of a connect-the-dots experience rather than the fluid turn-by-turn that you see from other apps, but it depends on the type of monthly plan you buy. Upgrading to updates every five seconds could smooth it out.
Autobrain is fairly new to the scene, making it a top brand to watch. It shows your vehicle’s real-time location on its mobile app thanks to powerful tracking software. But it’s much more than a real-time GPS tracking device.
Autobrain provides trip reports and maintenance alerts to keep your car healthy and safe to drive. We also like its emergency response abilities. The mobile app’s crash response feature kicks in and calls emergency contacts and responders when it senses a collision.
Things to Consider before You Buy a GPS Tracker
Whatever your reasons for wanting to purchase a car GPS tracking device, it’s important to make sure you’re staying within your legal rights. In most places, as long you’re putting the device only on vehicles you own, you’re safe. If you want to track a loved one out of genuine concern for their safety and well-being, the best approach is to talk to them about it first.
To make your vehicle even safer, consider other devices like dash cams and rearview (backup) cameras. These devices can improve your viewing angle and keep a valuable record of your time on the road.
Can real-time GPS trackers pinpoint your exact location?
Sometimes. GPS tracking devices triangulate their location by sending and receiving satellite signals. Just like your cell phone, your GPS tracker might also experience some interference that can knock the location accuracy off.
My car GPS tracker says it’s moving when it’s not. Why is this happening?
When you’re in an area with a lot of buildings, your GPS tracker’s signal can bounce off different surfaces and cause false alerts. It can be annoying and worrisome to get an alert in the middle of the night telling you your car has moved from the garage, but it’s not uncommon for this to happen with GPS trackers.
If the alert shows that the car has just moved a short distance, like down the street, it’s usually a false alarm.
Will my GPS tracker still work in rural areas?
If you live in an area where cell service is spotty, then you’ll likely experience some spotty GPS coverage as well.
This doesn’t mean the GPS isn’t working, it just means it’s unable to get the location information to your phone because there aren’t enough cellular towers around to send the signal.
Will my GPS tracker work outside the United States?
It depends on the device you buy. Most of the devices we studied were for US use only, but a few worked outside the US in Canada and Mexico.
If you’re not sure if your device will work outside the country, contact the manufacturer.
How We Chose the Best GPS Vehicle Trackers
Our search for the best GPS vehicle trackers started with investigating top-rated location trackers to see which consistently performed best. We then did our own deep-dig research to see what users were saying about each device so we could choose the best of the best. Check out our full methodology to learn more about how we rank and review products.
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Written by Kasey Tross
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers. Learn more