How to Locate the GPS Tracker on a Vehicle

Updated February 21, 2017

A GPS tracking device is used to track the location of a person, an item of value and even a vehicle. These devices work in the same way as a Global Positioning System device. One of the most common types of GPS tracking devices, installed on a vehicle, is the OnStar system. However, a GPS tracking device can also be hidden on your vehicle without your knowledge. You can locate the GPS tracker on a vehicle by detecting the radio frequency (RF) signal from the device.

Disconnect the battery cables from the terminals using a wrench. This will prevent any interference that could be caused by the electrical system of the vehicle.

Turn on the RF scanner and move around to visually inspect the outside of the vehicle.

Open the bonnet of the car and scan the engine compartment. Place the RF scanner on the edge of the engine compartment for a few minutes to see whether it detects a signal.

Open and scan the boot of the vehicle. Repeat the previous step by placing the RF scanner on the floor of the boot for a few minutes to see if whether it detects a signal.

Scan the inside of the vehicle when you have completed scanning the outside. Run the scanner over each seat, under the seat and along the floorboards.

Make a note of the location if the RF scanner detects a signal. If you cannot access the area where the RF detector picks up a signal, you may need to have a professional take a look.

Reconnect the battery cable to the terminals with the wrench when you have completed scanning your vehicle.

If you did not find the GPS tracker, take your vehicle to a mechanic or auto technician and have him look over the vehicle to see if he finds anything out of the ordinary. Alternatively, you can take your car to a business or company that installs car alarms.


RF scanners can be purchased online or from any home security dealer. GPS trackers can be as small as a matchbook.


GPS signals are not on all the time and may not be detected with one pass of an RF scanner.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • RF signal detector
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About the Author

Cameron Easey has over 15 years customer service experience, with eight of those years in the insurance industry. He has earned various designations from organizations like the Insurance Institute of America and LOMA. Easey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Western Michigan University.