7 Reasons to Avoid a GPS Tracker for Vehicles Today

navigation map on a smartphone screen

7 Reasons to Avoid a GPS Tracker for Vehicles Today

Key Points

  • GPS trackers are vulnerable to tampering and exploitation, making them a security risk.
  • GPS trackers can be easily jammed, rendering them useless for tracking vehicles.
  • Some employees may find GPS tracking intrusive and it can strain relationships with employers.
  • GPS trackers are susceptible to cybersecurity attacks, putting tracking data and vehicles at risk.
  • GPS tracking is expensive, with costs for hardware, installation, subscriptions, and maintenance.
  • Privacy concerns arise from the collection and use of location data through GPS tracking.
  • GPS systems can be distracting and contribute to accidents on the road.

One of the biggest technological leaps is the everyday use of a GPS tracker for streamlined navigation no matter where you are or going. GPS, short for Global Positioning System, involves a network of satellites orbiting and sending signals to the Earth. These signals are received and your location is estimated using a GPS tracker.

While GPS can be helpful, it might not be the best way to keep track of your vehicle. There are real risks associated with using a GPS tracker, ranging from privacy concerns to legal compliance challenges to the gadget’s hefty expense. 

Let’s talk about the top 7 reasons why a GPS is maybe not the best idea.

GPS Trackers are Easy to Tamper with

Most GPS trackers are based on simple electronics that are easy to compromise. Because of this, GPS trackers are now open to manipulation and exploitation because they are frequently used. Hackers can access GPS trackers in vehicles, view their location, and even erase or modify the data they hold. 

This may compromise their security and potentially harm people and businesses. It is crucial to be aware of the potential weaknesses that tracking devices could introduce and to take precautions against them, such as employing encrypted connections and routine data upgrades. 

Vulnerable to Jamming

The GPS tracker in your vehicle receives a signal from a satellite far away with lower signal strength than a household TV. As a result, this signal is easier to interfere with than other networks like your cellphone reception. GPS trackers are often used to ensure the safety and security of important shipments or personnel, but their reliance on satellite signals makes them vulnerable to jamming.  

Car thieves have started using jammers to stop GPS trackers from transmitting your vehicle’s live location. So, even if you’ve installed multiple trackers, they would all be jammed and virtually useless.

The intent of the disruptor could vary; it may be to mask their own location, prevent someone from being tracked, or prevent nearby devices from providing any location-based services. Even worse, this interference can persist over a wide area, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the jam.

Some Employees Don’t Like Them

If you’re managing a fleet of vehicles, keeping track of their real-time location is essential. This ensures that your drivers remain on course, the vehicles arrive on time, and you can attend to unforeseen events, like a breakdown, promptly.

However, not all employees see it that way. Some drivers find it intrusive that you always know exactly where they are. This has created tension in companies like Amazon, which need to ensure all their packages are en route, but don’t want to offend their workers. So, depending on how essential it is to know your vehicle’s position, you might need to compromise your relationship with your employees.

Vulnerable to Cybersecurity Attacks

GPS trackers are vulnerable to numerous cyber threats that can jeopardize the accuracy and security of tracking data. Hackers can easily spoof a tracker to display incorrect data or manipulate the content of the tracking data without the user’s knowledge or permission. A recent BitSight report exposed vulnerabilities in MiCODUS GPS devices in more than 1.5 million vehicles.

Apart from updating the real-time location, most fleet management GPS trackers allow managers to perform special actions remotely, such as disabling alarm systems, issuing fuel cutoff commands, and stopping the vehicle.

Hackers can use this remote access to change the vehicles’ route plans, stall them in a deserted location, and steal your cargo. In emergency scenarios, this can be exceedingly risky and even have fatal repercussions. 

Trackers that link via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi may also be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. This provides malicious parties access to personal information. To safeguard themselves from these online risks, it is imperative that GPS users regularly update their operating systems, create secure passwords for their accounts, and confirm that their trackers are using the latest encryption technologies. 

GPS Tracking is Expensive

GPS technology has been around for a few decades, but it’s still as expensive as when it launched.

You must buy the tracking hardware and pay for installation to install a GPS tracker in your vehicle. This can cost thousands of dollars depending on the type of tracker you’re installing.

Most GPS tracking companies require a subscription fee to access services like databases, tracking platforms, and additional features. GPS trackers also depend on satellite or cellular services to transmit your location data, so you’ll also have to pay for a data plan for these services.

Once your GPS is operational, you must pay for regular maintenance. This includes battery changes, software updates, and general maintenance. While these costs might sound insignificant, they accumulate over time, especially if you have a large fleet.

Privacy Concerns

You may have heard the saying, “Data is the new gold.” In the past few years, we’ve had to give up most of our data and privacy to big tech.

According to a study by Pew Research Center, over 81% of Americans feel concerned over the lack of control over their personal information. As a result, many people are skeptical about having their location data built up in a GPS.

Even if you have a simple GPS tracker that only transmits your location, it’s enough for criminals to build a detailed profile of your movements. They can then use this information to conduct criminal or nefarious activities like kidnapping, stalking, or murder.

Capacitive touchscreen vs resistive
There are plenty of potential drawbacks of using a GPS tracker, and they’re pretty important to pay attention to.


GPS Systems can be Distracting

In most vehicles, the GPS navigation system is in the middle of the dashboard. While most manufacturers recommend using the voice navigation option, it’s often unintuitive, and drivers end up peeking at the GPS screen.

This can be distracting, especially when driving in a new area. Distracted driving caused countless accidents and claimed 3,522 lives in the U.S. in 2021. Therefore, all possible contributing factors, including GPS navigation, must be eliminated.

 Best Alternatives to GPS Tracking

SIM Tracking

If you’re looking for an affordable, employee-friendly form of fleet management, SIM tracking is the closest you’ll get. SIM tracking requires a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card installed into the device. It has owner and location information that can be used to trace a device.

SIM tracking can monitor a device practically everywhere, regardless of the battery level, and can be more accurate than GPS tracking, which needs electricity. It can also be applied to older phones without GPS tracking features.

Here, you’ll only be required to buy SIM tracking rights through services like VamoSys. Then, your driver can take the SIM card with them on an active phone. You can prompt them to accept your location request whenever you need real-time location data.

This eliminates the discomfort some drivers might have with you having unlimited access to their location. Since the method uses carrier services instead of GPS, it’s generally safer and more accurate in urban areas. It’s also cheap because there are no installation or maintenance fees.


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a short-range vehicle tracking system initially used to allow some vehicles to access high-security areas. 

You only needed to stick an RFID tag on your windscreen, and the remote receiver would identify and track it. With advancements in RFID technology, you can track RFID signals over a longer range and conceal the chip anywhere in the vehicle. 

The chip also transmits direction and speed data. So, if you need a tracker to keep your car safe, this is a great option.


Geofencing is a great GPS alternative using SIM tracking, RFID, or other tracking methods to create a virtual fence around a predetermined area. With the right fleet management software, you can decide what happens when the vehicle crosses the fence.

For instance, you can create a geofence around your driver’s route and enable an alert if they veer off. This eliminates the need to keep checking up on them and gives them the peace of knowing that you’re not actively monitoring their progress.

CANBUS Sensors

When tracking heavy machinery and trucks, CANBUS sensors are a fantastic alternative to GPS trackers. They provide highly accurate real-time data. These sensors are connected directly to the CANBUS system of the car or heavy vehicle. It collects and relays data about engine RPMs, fuel consumption, position, speed, and vibration levels. 

When this information is sent to a control center, operators are provided with a thorough overview of vehicle activity. This enables them to troubleshoot remotely and make operational decisions in real-time. Compared to GPS trackers, CANBUS sensors are more affordable, require less upkeep, and offer a more thorough picture of vehicle movement, excessive speeding, sudden stops, and performance.

The Disadvantages Outweigh the Benefits

While GPS tracking has been around for years, its disadvantages outweigh the benefits. It’s costly to install and maintain, they’re vulnerable to tampering and cybercrime, and many people have very justified privacy concerns.

There are a variety of potential alternatives available today, such as dash cams, CANBUS sensors, and tachographs, that can provide more efficient and secure options to GPS-based tracking systems. Ultimately, businesses and individuals considering vehicle tracking should carefully weigh the pros and cons of their options to decide the best security solution for their needs.

Summary Table

Reasons to Avoid a GPS Tracker for Vehicles
GPS trackers are easy to tamper with.
Vulnerable to jamming
Some employees don’t like them.
Vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks
GPS tracking is expensive
Privacy concerns
GPS systems can be distracting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do GPS trackers drain your battery?

No. Most GPS trackers have internal batteries. Therefore, they don’t use your car battery. Even the few that don’t have batteries are power-saving when your car isn’t running.

Do GPS trackers need SIM cards to work?

While a few GPS trackers don’t need SIM cards (GPS loggers), they’re mostly used for special purposes such as in the military or research. They record GPS data, which you can later feed into a computer. However, most consumer GPS trackers must communicate with other devices in real-time using SIM cards.

How accurate are vehicle GPS trackers?

While GPS trackers are pretty accurate, they might also be inaccurate in areas with poor cellular reception. GPS signals are also affected negatively by bad weather and satellite positioning.

How can you improve your GPS location accuracy?

Since concealed GPS trackers are not easily accessible, there’s little you can do to improve their signals when you’re on the road. 

It’s important to have a professional install the GPS tracker to ensure it’s installed correctly. Regular maintenance will also prevent problems like battery failure.

Do GPS trackers require a monthly subscription fee?

Yes. Most GPS trackers require monthly subscription fees to work properly. These fees give you access to the service provider’s tracking platform and other additional features.


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