Vivint Car Guard Review

With Vivint in the driver’s seat, we tested the Vivint Car Guard to see its accuracy and tracking in action.
Best for Vivint users
Vivint Car Guard
  • Works with Vivint Smart Home
  • Detects towing, break-ins, and bumps
  • Monitoring starts at $9.99/mo.
Katie McEntire
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
Read More
Published on June 01, 2021

Vivint Car Guard is a GPS vehicle tracker, connection to your smart home system, and diagnostic wizard all in one device. It’s smaller than a pack of cards and installs into your OBD II port like a USB stick. Once it’s up and running, you can check the location, driving history, and general health of your vehicle.

If you have teen drivers in your household, the Car Guard shows you their location and any dangerous driving habits like hard braking and speeding.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Low monthly payments
Pro Bullet Works with Vivint lights, cameras, and garage door opener
Pro Bullet Detects dangerous driving
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Expensive
Con Bullet Smart home features require a Vivint security system
Con Bullet Bump detection didn’t work in our tests
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Do I need a Vivint Smart Home system to use Car Guard?

While you don’t need a full-fledged Vivint security system to use this vehicle tracker, you do need a Vivint account. Your account email and password gains you access to the Vivint app where you’ll set up, track, and control the Car Guard.

Vivint Car Guard vs. other GPS vehicle trackers

Vivint Car Guard VyncsMOTOsafetyBouncie
Product
Vivint Car Guard product image
vyncs device
Motosafety device
Bouncie GPS tracker
Equipment price
Monthly fee$9.99$0.00♱$19.50$8.00
Tracks driving and maintenance
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Distrubance alerts
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Works with smart home
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo

Info current as of 05/18/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Amazon.com price as of 05/18/2021 at 0:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

♱ Vyncs charges annually, not monthly. Service for Vyncs Basic+4G starts at $99.99 per year.

When it comes to features, Vivint Car Guard matches top GPS trackers like Vyncs, MOTOsafety, and Bouncie. All four devices provide basic location tracking, vehicle maintenance alerts, and driving data like average speed.

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Compare Vivint Car Guard

We’ve tested other GPS vehicle trackers too. Check out our full reviews on MOTOsafety and Bouncie to see how they compare to Vivint Car Guard

But Vivint Car Guard has these unique features:

  1. If you have a Vivint Smart Home system, it allows your car to communicate with components like lights, garage door openers, and outdoor cameras.
  2. It’s the only one we’ve seen with disturbance alerts.

With these powers combined, you can scare off would-be thieves in your driveway. If your vehicle detects tampering, it can trigger your outdoor camera and lights. It’s also super convenient to ditch the clicker and link Car Guard with your garage door opener.

Checklist
Our disturbance alert tests

We installed a Vivint Car Guard into our own vehicle to test this feature out. After rocking the car, jiggling the locks, and doing everything we could (short of actual damage), we couldn’t trigger the disturbance alert.

This doesn’t mean the feature’s a total dud, though. It may just mean your car has to sustain more serious damage to send an alert to your phone.

Vivint Car Guard price

The Vivint Car Guard costs about $200 up front and $9.99 per month. That monthly cost goes towards supporting the cellular signal from the device itself to your app.

You can get additional Car Guards for teen and other adult drivers in your family for an additional $4.99 per month.

Compared to other GPS vehicle trackers, Vivint is more expensive up front. But after that initial expense, it falls within a similar range of other trackers. MOTOsafety, for example, is the cheapest vehicle tracker up front but costs over $20 per month. And, even though Vyncs omits monthly fees, a will will show up annually.

Who is Car Guard for?

Its combination of tracking features, maintenance reminders, and alerts makes it a good addition to any vehicle—whether it’s yours or a loved one’s.

For teens

It’s a big day for families when a kid gets their driver's license. Before your kids hit the road, be sure to talk to your teens about safe driving. But even responsible kiddos can run into trouble.

Vivint Car Guard helps keep parents in the loop about their teens’ driving habits and whereabouts to make everyone feel more comfortable.

The Car Guard provides a driving score and alerts for dangerous driving habits like speeding and sudden braking. And parents can set boundaries that send alerts when teen drivers enter and exit areas like school, work, friends’ houses, and their own neighborhood.

For seniors

​Independence is important to adults of all ages, but as we get older, driving can become more of a hazard. Along with a medical alert system, devices like the Vivint Car Guard can help your aging parents drive longer.

If your parents forget to maintain their vehicle, Car Guard can send reminders about things like oil changes and basic maintenance. It also shows how much gas is in the vehicle.

For you

The Car Guard offers a few benefits for your own vehicle beyond tracking. The movement sensor can alert you to fender benders, towing, and even vehicle theft. And along with vehicle diagnostics (I know I forget to change my oil), you can get fuel efficiency reports based on your driving habits.

What's in the box

Vivint Car Guard in the box
  • Vivint Car Guard vehicle tracker
  • SIM card and pin
  • Instructions
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Is my vehicle compatible with Car Guard?

If your vehicle was made after 1996, it should have an OBD II port. This is the space where your mechanic or other professional checks diagnostic codes in your vehicle. You can check for further vehicle compatibility on Vivint’s website.

Vivint Car Guard tracks your vehicle

The primary function of the Vivint Car Guard (and any GPS vehicle device for that matter) is tracking location.

But the Car Guard doesn’t stop there. You don’t just get the wheres; you get the whens and hows of each trip.

From the Vivint app, you can see your vehicle on a map, where it’s traveled, if it’s in motion, or where it’s going.

Every time your vehicle moves from point A to point B, Vivint provides trip details with information like distance traveled, trip duration, max speed, average speed, and fuel efficiency.

Thumbs Down
Laggy live tracking

During our tests, we watched our vehicle live on the app. (Don’t worry; we weren’t driving.) The map had a hard time keeping up with the car’s location in real time but was able to place it accurately once the vehicle stopped.

If you have teens who borrow your car, you can set locations in the app where your kids are most likely to go. By entering the address of your kids’ school, workplace, or friends’ houses, you’ll get alerts when they leave or arrive at these popular spots.

Unfortunately, Vivint Car Guard doesn’t have geofences like the other vehicle GPS trackers we’ve reviewed. Instead, Vivint restricts locations to single addresses but geofences allow you to draw lines around larger areas like neighborhoods, cities, and even states.

Vivint Car Guard detects disturbances and movement

One thing that sets Vivint Car Guard apart from other GPS vehicle trackers is the disturbance alert feature. If a bad actor tries to break in or someone hits you in the parking lot, you’ll get an alert on your phone.

Bell
Big bumps only

Before testing, we thought this feature worked for small things like shaking the car or jiggling the handle.

We tried that and didn’t get an alert, which leads us to believe someone has to do actual damage to your car for these alerts to register.

The one disturbance alert we got was unintentional. After loading and unloading the trunk, we got one alert but no context. (Maybe Car Guard’s not a fan of heavy groceries either.)

As an anti-theft device, the Car Guard won’t stop thieves like a steering wheel lock might but it can warn you when someone breaks a window, giving you time to get to your car and investigate before they get too far.

If someone does manage to get away with your car, you can track it through the app.

And, as anyone who uses street parking knows, fender benders and towing are constant threats. If another driver bumps into your car or your vehicle gets towed, the Car Guard will sense the movement and alert you.

Vivint Car Guard provides diagnostics

Vivint Car Guard takes the mystery out of those rumbles and scary dashboard lights by providing vehicle diagnostics before there’s a problem. The device watches for issues like battery life, DTC notices, recalls, and service bulletins. It can even tell you how much fuel is in your tank.

With over 10,000 diagnostic codes, this feature works for all types of vehicles with diesel, gas, or electric engines.

Thumbs Up
Maintenance snapshots
We were happy to see the Car Guard didn’t spot any issues with our vehicle when we plugged it in. But the device will send you alerts if something does go wrong. You also get a rating on your battery’s health, fuel levels, and any recalls for your vehicle released.

Vivint Car Guard works with your smart home

While Vivint Car Guard is far more expensive than other GPS vehicle trackers, it’s the only one we’ve come across that works with smart home equipment. The catch is it has to be Vivint equipment at your home. You won’t be able to sync up the device with any third-party equipment.

You can link the Car Guard and your Vivint Smart Home together. Vivint’s garage door opener, smart lights, and Outdoor Camera Pro can all trigger when you pull up to your driveway or if something disturbs your car while it’s in place.

Installing and testing Vivint Car Guard

Final word

Whether it’s with your own vehicle or a loved one’s, a feature-rich GPS tracker like Vivint Car Guard can save you a lot of potential headaches and worry.

Vivint injects its particular brand of smart home integration in the Car Guard to blend with your smart home components and keep you in tune with what’s going on with your car.
And, while the Car Guard is pricier up front than others like Vynce, MOTOsafety, and Bouncie, its features are worthwhile when paired with a Vivint Smart Home system.

How we reviewed Vivint Car Guard

We reached out to Vivint and received a Car Guard in person to test ourselves. To make the most of our experience, we downloaded the Vivint app and tested all the Car Guard’s features available to us. But we didn’t stop there.

Car Guard is just one of several GPS vehicle trackers we’ve tested in the past. Check out our reviews on Bouncie and MOTOsafety to learn more about how we tested these devices.

Our SafeWise methodology page is also chock full of information on what we look for in every review and how we approach new products like the Car Guard.

Car Guard FAQ

First, always lock your car, remove your keys from the ignition (even when parked for a short amount of time), and park in bright, populated areas when in public. You can also use tools like steering wheel locks, aftermarket car alarms, and kill switches to prevent any thieves from leaving with your car.

The Vivint Car Guard installs into your vehicle’s OBD II port and contains a SIM card. The port in your car allows the Car Guard to read diagnostic info about your vehicle while the SIM card uses a T-Mobile LTE signal to transmit cellular data to your phone. Combined, you get location and vehicle information sent directly to the Vivint app.

No, but you do need a Vivint account and the Car Guard has more features when paired with a Smart Home system.

The FBI estimates over 700,000 motor vehicle thefts in 2019, causing $6 billion lost that year.1 Unfortunately, many of those vehicles are never recovered. A GPS tracker in your car, SUV, or truck can help you and local law enforcement find your vehicle and lead to capturing the perp who took it.

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Sources

  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Crime in the United States 2019 - Motor Vehicle Theft.” Accessed May 18, 2021.
Disclaimer

(Only for Amazon): *Amazon.com list price as of 05/18/2021 05:06 (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.