Vehicle tracker guide: What is vehicle tracking & the types of device?

Vehicle Tracker Systems: What Is Vehicle Tracking?

Vehicle Tracking / Wednesday 11th April

Many companies want to manage their fleet better, even if they only have a few drivers. It’s important to implement processes which keep your business operating as smoothly as possible while ensuring you’re not wasting money on factors such as excessive fuel consumption.

Vehicle tracker systems are devices which many companies are turning to, providing them with valuable data to manage their fleet effectively while giving drivers with more information to plan their journeys well. This can be something as simple as a GPS tracker for car dashboards or hardwired trackers for advanced data collection.

Let’s take a closer look at your options.

What is a Vehicle Tracker?

Business vehicle tracking involves installing an electronic device such as a GPS tracker in the dashboard of a fleet of vehicles such as cars, vans or lorries. This device can collect data about the vehicle it’s attached to including location, speed and driver hours, using this information to produce analytical and monitoring reports which will enhance fleet management for a business. It’s also a great way to keep an eye on how efficient your drivers are and the factors costing you money.

This great business improvement opportunity can provide you with an impressive return on investment through the benefits on offer for your business.

Benefits of fleet management software include:

  • Gain greater control over your vehicles and driver behaviour (including harsh steering, frequent speeding and harsh breaking).
  • Reduce your costs on expenditure such as fuel consumption, vehicle insurance, repairs and breakdowns.
  • Increase efficiency and productivity with improved route planning and live traffic updates to help your drivers reduce their journey times.
  • Easily identify areas where training is required both on an individual driver and entire fleet basis.
  • Enhance customer service via more accurate delivery times, tracking capabilities and on-time deliveries.
  • Ensure you comply with safety legislation on driver hours with automated tracking of time and driver break alerts.
  • Track your vehicles in real-time and define the geographical areas they need to stay within (geo-fencing).
  • Integrate software features to find the right solution for your specific business needs.

The type of vehicle tracking system you choose depends on the management requirements you have of your fleet and the areas of your business you want to monitor more closely.

Types of Tracking Device

A variety of factors come into play when selecting the type of vehicle tracking device for your business vehicles. This includes the size of your fleet (even if for just one vehicle), the type of vehicles which need to be tracked, your service agreement with customers and what you expect from your drivers.



There are three main types of tracker to consider; plug & play devices, hardwired trackers and those which are integrated into your satnav system. Each has its own merits including differences in installation requirements, coverage and data collection.

Plug & Play Trackers

‘Plug and play’ or OBD (on board devices) trackers are one of the most flexible on the market, installing within seconds into a vehicle to start collecting data.

Benefits of plug & play tracking devices:

  • INSTALLATION: This type of tracker is self-installed, ensure they’re quick and easy to fit to your vehicles via an OBD socket.
  • PORTABLE: Being easy to plug in and remove, moving plug and play trackers around to different vehicles is simple. This is ideal if you change vehicles regularly or have extra vehicles you don’t use as frequently as your main fleet.
  • CHEAPER: If you’re on a tight budget, plug and play trackers can be a cheaper alternative to hardwired devices, as well as lower costs on installation.
  • SIMPLICITY: This type of GPS tracking device is easily connected to the vehicle’s diagnostic port, collecting information such as engine performance and allowing companies to protect their fleet against misuse. Businesses can also track where vehicles are, their routes and driving speeds.
  • DRIVER ALERTS: Monitoring driver behaviour helps improve their performance, provide more training where required and alert them if there’s something they need to know.


Hardwired Trackers

Hardwired trackers need to be professionally installed by a technician, hardwiring the device behind the dashboard, directly into the electrical system of the vehicle.

Benefits of hardwired trackers:

  • IN-DEPTH DATA: Hardwired trackers provide a higher volume of accurate data to fleet managers which provides greater opportunities to identify areas to save on fleet costs and operate more efficiently.
  • SECURE: Being hardwired into a vehicle, it’s harder for others to tamper with the vehicle tracker, alter data or spot the tracker from outside the vehicle, making this a more secure option and the best anti-theft tracker.
  • EASY INTEGRATION: Hardwired trackers have greater capability to integrate with other sensors, merging with systems which can increase your fleet management live functions. This includes fuel monitoring, locking and alarm systems, all recorded and available in real-time for fleet managers.
  • COVERAGE: With external antennas, hardwired trackers open up options to cover a wider tracking area as well as providing more accurate locations on the position of a vehicle.
  • REMOTE ACCESS: With reliable power connections and greater integration possibilities, management and data collection is easier to complete at any time, even after working hours or when out of the office.


Satnav Integration

Satnavs can now be integrated with GPS live tracking capabilities, expanding the function of the traditional satnav and collect data for those supervising or managing the fleet.


Benefits of satnav integrated trackers:

  • DESTINATION TRACKING: With the office having a link to the driver’s programmed satnav, it’s possible to track where the vehicle’s next destination is.
  • IN-CAB ROUTING: Drivers can easily programme the satnav themselves, planning their route from the information they have for the most efficient journeys.
  • VEHICLE-SPECIFIC: Unlike conventional satnavs, these have the benefits of inputting specific information about the vehicle and the goods on board, improving routing options while taking restrictions into account on the roads.
  • PORTABLE: Like plug and play trackers, satnavs can be easily moved from vehicle to vehicle, making it simple to move a tracker into active vehicles only.
  • POINTS OF INTEREST: The satnav also has other functions to improve the journey of the driver and save them time. This includes marked points of interest including truck stops and petrol stations along and around their route.

When choosing the right tracking for your fleet, consider your requirements, what you need the tracker for and how you’ll use the device for the benefit of your business. Any investment should provide your company with a good ROI, so select the product which will improve efficiency and meets your specific requirements.


Benefits of Using a Comparison Site for Vehicle Trackers

If looking for the best car tracking device for any type of vehicle, using a comparison site can help you find the best system for your business needs.



One of the advantages of tracking devices is improving the efficiency of your operations and identifying cost-saving areas. However, how do you know if your investment will be worthwhile and cut the costs you need? Comparison experts help you to find a tracking option which is suitable for your fleet rather than your business investing in software which won’t do the job you need it to. A reputable comparison site will only recommend trusted suppliers, giving you the peace of mind you’re getting the most suitable system for the job and at the best price possible for a quality system.



When you start to research the different types of tracker for your fleet, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the large amount of information on offer. Comparison experts will break down the information you need and present you with your options in the most simple format possible. They’ll also understand exactly which types of vehicle trackers are going to meet your needs, saving you time and energy researching trackers which aren’t a suitable match for your requirements. This also includes the type of tracker which you’d like including plug & play, hardwired or satnav integrated options.



Whether looking for small tracking devices (e.g. for a motorcycle tracker), a car tracking device or van trackers, identify the right tracker for your vehicles. Comparison sites will also take into account the size of your fleet from one small car or motorcycle through to hundreds of lorries. They’ll find you the best price for the amount of tracking devices you want.



One of the most challenging parts about trying to find your own vehicle tracker is ensuring it has all the features you want. Not only will comparison specialists be able to identify which trackers have these, but highlight other features you may not realise are available. This includes car dash cam options, automated processes and integration capabilities. Some systems can even be accessed via a vehicle tracking app for managing your fleet remotely while on the move.


Compare Trackers Now

To find the right vehicle tracker for your business, get in touch with the Vehicle Tracking Channel. We specialise in vehicle and car tracking device UK services, working closely with companies and fleet managers to identify the best tracking software for their needs.

Get your free consultation to talk through your requirements.

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