How to Find a Tracking Device on a Car

Written by laurie rappeport
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Tracking devices can be a helpful device to have on a car. It can help locate a car if it's stolen, allow parents to track where their teenagers are taking the family car and help law enforcement agencies to track suspected criminals. An individual may suspect that a car has an unwanted tracking device installed on it. Because of its small size, removing a tracking device is tricky. Locating one on a car involves research and some basic knowledge of how to find it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Flashlight
  • Internet access

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  1. 1

    Educate yourself about trackers to get an idea of what they look like. See the resources at the bottom of this page to see some samples of various tracking devices as well as to learn about how they work.

  2. 2

    Check the exterior of the car.

    Check for a tracking device between the grill and radiator of the car. Run a hand around the area and check with a flashlight.

    Run a hand under the bumpers of the car, front and back. Stick a hand far up to the top of the bumper to make sure that nothing is inserted there. Use a flashlight.

    Look under the plastic of the wheel wells.

  3. 3

    Check under the car. Have the car lifted on a hydraulic lift or drive it up portable ramps in order to be able to get under it.

    Use a flashlight to see if anything has been attached under the car. Tracking devices are attached with zip ties, wire, string or rope under a car. Look for any of these types of ties.

  4. 4

    Search the interior of the car.

    Look under the seats of the car. Pull the seats up, unscrewing them if necessary and look underneath. Take the seat covers off the seats and check in the crevices of the seats, especially where the back meets the seat bottom.

    Run a hand under the plastic bumper inside the dashboard. Look behind the glove compartment and under the dashboard.

    Search under all plastic interior panels. Check inside the pockets of the car's interior doors and seat covers. Pull up the carpet and look under it.

    Unzip the cover on the head rests and run a hand around the head rest.

Tips and warnings

  • Tracking devices need contact with the sky to work properly. The signal that they send out must be read by the satellites keeping track of their location. If tracking devices are surrounded by metal on more than one side their effectiveness will be limited, so they are generally installed under vinyl, glass, wood, plastic or fibreglass.

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