Finding a global positioning system, or GPS, receiver in a vehicle is increasingly common. Even if your car doesn't have a built-in GPS, you can purchase an aftermarket unit from an electronics store. GPS navigation systems help you find specific locations and guide you to destinations via satellite and by using digital mapping software. This technology can also be used to track vehicles. For instance, if someone places a GPS tracking device in your automobile without your permission, its whereabouts will become traceable. If you're suspicious, you can defeat vehicle tracking by using an RF scanner, which checks for the radio frequencies that tracking devices emit.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- RF Scanner
- Wrench, if necessary
Unplug your vehicle's battery cables. To accomplish this, remove the black (negative) cable first and the red (positive) after. If necessary use a wrench to lose the retainer bolt. You need to disconnect the battery to ensure that there's no interference with the RF scanner. Also, before unplugging the battery cable, take the car to an area that is at least 20 feet away from electronic devices such as mobile phones and other vehicles. This is necessary because the electronic devices and vehicles will also cause interference.
Switch your RF scanner on and walk around your car. Make sure to walk slowly so you give the RF scanner the chance to read GPS frequencies, if any are present.
Inspect your vehicle's engine area. To accomplish this open the bonnet and scan the whole engine area. Thereafter, set the RF scanner on top of the cooled engine to ensure that the scanner gets a thorough reading.
Go to your vehicle's boot area and scan it like you did the front. Leave the RF scanner inside the boot for a moment to see if it picks up on any GPS signals. If nothing is found, go inside the car and inspect the back and front area thoroughly. Make sure to scan under the seats, along the floor areas, dashboard and the rear deck.
Examine the areas that trigered a signal on your RF scanner. If the scanner picks up a GPS signal, it will give off a loud noise and display a light. If the area is tough to reach, you will need the assistance of a mechanic to gain access to the area. Once the scanning process is completed reconnect your vehicle's battery.
Decide if the results are satisfying. If your tracking suspicion is not appeased, consider getting a second opinion by approaching a professional technician, mechanic or a car alarm installation shop so they can help you investigate further. If you have no solid reason to believe that someone is tracking your vehicle, than your RF scan results are most likely correct.
Tips and warnings
- Scan your vehicle for at least 30 minutes. This is recommended because GPS tracking devices transmit signals to towers or satellites every 20 minutes. Therefore, the longer you scan your vehicle the better your chances of getting a good reading.
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