Car Tracking Installation Options: plug-and-play, hardwired, battery-powered

When choosing the right car tracking solution, you need to consider the installation options. In general, there are three main installation types available: plug-and-play, hardwired, or battery-powered OBD connection. CarLock offers a solution for every type of installation. Let’s find out which option is best for you.

1. Plug-in OBD Connection

Connecting the plug-and-play GPS device like CarLock is the easiest option. All you need to do is to find out the location of the onboard diagnostics (OBD) connector in your car and plug in your device. No tools required.

CarLock device installed

The OBD connector is usually located near the driver’s knees. The location varies from car to car, depending on the manufacturer, so if you are not sure where the OBD connector is located in your vehicle, fill out the “Will It Work With My Car?” form on our homepage.

OBD connector location
Most common location of the OBD connector

This way, your car tracker can be easily installed or removed if you want to use it in multiple vehicles.

There are, however, some drawbacks with the OBD connector. While it is convenient to quickly remove the device and plug it into another vehicle, you may want to hide your car tracker so it cannot be visible or easily removable.

Furthermore, the OBD connector is designed to be used by a repair technician and not to have a car tracking device continuously plugged in. Some cars will have the OBD connector fitted too close to the pedals, which may disturb you while driving.

OBD Extension Cable

The OBD extension cable is a great compromise between the plug-and-play and hardwired options. It offers the same flexibility and ease of use as the first option, as it enables you to place the device in a safe spot, away from the pedals where it is not visible. When buying the OBD car tracking solution, make sure you add the slim extension cable to your purchase.

CarLock OBD extension cable
OBD extension cable

Click here for a more extensive guide about the OBD extension cable.

2. Hardwired Connection

The hardwired installation option is a great solution  to install the car tracker in a hidden place. Plugging the OBD device to the OBD port with or without the extension cable still has a big drawback since the OBD connector is easily reachable and can be plugged out.

By using the CarLock OBD power adapter accessory, a professional auto technician can install the device under the dashboard and connect it to the car’s electrical system with a constant 12V power supply.

CarLock OBD Power Adapter
CarLock OBD power adapter

This way, the car tracking device is well hidden behind the car’s interior and it’s almost impossible for anyone to tamper with it. This is the best option if the car tracker is being used for security reasons.

The OBD power cable also enables you to fit the car tracking device to older vehicles manufactured before 1996 or any motorbike with a 12V battery.

3. Battery-Powered

The battery-powered car tracking solution, such as the CarLock Portable, offers the most flexibility. It is self-powered by a large battery and can be placed almost anywhere. It is especially convenient for a trailer, work machinery, or other highly valuable assets.

CarLock Portable Car Tracker
The CarLock Portable Tracker

With a full charge, battery-powered trackers can last for many days and don’t need any installation or power source. Such a device can easily be hidden where no one can find it. There is also an option to purchase a magnetic case that enables you to attach the portable tracking device to a metal surface with two strong magnets.

Portable battery-powered trackers are the easiest way to monitor  your parked car while travelling or when not in use. While a long-lasting battery is its biggest advantage, it could also be the  main disadvantage. Using the battery-powered tracker to extensively record the driving routes is not optimal as the battery has its limits.

Final Thoughts

If you want to track your car for everyday use, e.g. recording routes or monitor your teenage driver, we definitely recommend you to consider choosing the plug-and-play or even hardwired option.

If you’re considering using a car tracking device to prevent a car theft or for other security reasons, you can benefit from any option described above, but we would recommend you to go for a hardwired option.

In case you need a maximum flexibility to occasionally track  different assets, such as your car, trailer, backpack, or even your kids’ whereabouts, a battery-powered tracker is the smartest choice.

Car Tracker Intallation Comparison
Car Tracker Intallation Comparison

And don’t forget – battery-powered trackers, such as the CarLock Portable, even have the SOS functionality that enables your family or friends to notify you in the event of any problem. Read more about the CarLock Portable tracker here.

If you need assistance in choosing the right car tracker or have any questions regarding this article, we would like to hear from you. Please, contact us at info@carlock.co.

The CarLock Team