Tracking systems

Stolen vehicles can be traced

Sadly, it’s easier than ever these days for a determined thief to make off with a car, a van or even a much larger vehicle. That means heartache for the private owner, potential loss of equipment and earnings for the van driver and reduced efficiency for fleet managers.

Whether it’s down to a simple case of stolen keys, or a relay attack carried out near the vehicle, or even the removal of the entire ignition barrel and a replacement installed to start the engine, vehicle theft has increased dramatically in the past decade and it looks like that increase will continue.

Yes, there are alarms and immobilisers, but clever car thieves are always one step ahead of vehicle manufacturer’s security developments and the workings of aftermarket security devices, so the bad news is that vehicles will continue to vanish.

But the good news is that more and more of those vehicles can be traced, located, retrieved and returned to their owners – even from outside the country – as long as they have been equipped with some kind of tracking device.

Tracking systems defined

Tracking device sensors activate an alarm when they detect the vehicle is being driven by an unauthorised driver. That alarm sends information to the police or a monitoring company, who then contact the owner.

Essentially, though, tracking devices can be broken down into two different types, depending on what kind of signal they use to enable location – either GPS (Global Positioning System) or VHF (Very High Frequency) radio signals. That said, some tracking devices incorporate both.

GPS tracking devices work anywhere in the world, but the signal produced is very weak, meaning the stolen vehicle can easily be lost should it be hidden, say, in an underground car park. And the majority of GPS devices require a monthly subscription payment to a monitoring company whose sole business is to look out for alarm signals from subscribers’ vehicles.

VHF tracking devices, on the other hand, don’t require payment of a service fee, are only activated once the vehicle has actually been stolen and produce a much stronger signal, meaning they can be traceable even when the vehicle is concealed – perhaps the reason UK police use the VHF system by default.

The most common tracker functions:

  • Real-time tracking – ideal for delivery fleets to ensure best fuel usage and delivery routes and timings, and for parents to keep a discreet but watchful eye on their new drivers.
  • Geo-fencing – the facility to create virtual pre-programmed geographic “zones” so every time a vehicle enters or leaves one of those zones the tracker triggers a push notification alert. This can be useful not only in cases of emergency but also to keep track of time on and off work locations.
  • Activity monitoring – real-time and historic information for vehicle location, mileage logging, geo-fence zones, all available at the click of a mouse or tap of a phone screen. Very useful for fleet managers to make improvements to their operations.
  • Immobilisation – once a stolen vehicle slows down to a speed where it’s safe to do so, a tracker device can be programmed to stop its engine automatically – or the owner can choose to disable the vehicle remotely.

Trackers’ other uses

Car rental companies have begun to install trackers in order to monitor their rental fleets, while trackers installed in food delivery vans can send an alert should the refrigeration unit malfunction. And over in Singapore, a luxury hotel there has tracking systems in their limousines so the doorman knows exactly when to step outside, open the limo door and welcome its VIP passengers.

Your tracker installed

All in all, then, tracking systems have started to become essential automotive accessories, for all sorts of reasons.

However, not every tracking system is compatible with every vehicle type – but we can help you choose the most appropriate system for your private or commercial vehicle, and install it speedily and economically for you.


Call our friendly and helpful customer service team today on 0203 393 5669 to discuss your tracking system requirements, and book your installation appointment Car Keys Solutions in North or South London, Brentwood and Milton Keynes.