Car theft is a common crime, and losing your vehicle can emotionally crash you and drain you financially.
Criminals are not as dumb as you might think.
Most of them are even more intelligent than computer literates who design and install the technology.
If someone has stolen your car, the first thing they would do is remove or disable your GPS tracker.
So, how do you track a car without GPS?
Well, all is not lost even when someone steals and disables your car’s GPS.
Fortunately, there are so many alternatives to help you track down your car even without GPS signals.
It is possible to track your vehicle and catch up with the criminals before altering anything on your car.
Here is all the information you need to guide you in tracking your car even without GPS.
How to Track a Car without GPS
Although car theft has been on the decline in the past one decade, research shows 246 car theft cases reported per 100,000 population. (Source)
If someone steals your car and removes or disables the GPS, you can still track it down.
You would be surprised that there are many intelligent alternatives and other not-so-smart moves you can use to track your car without GPS.
The methods of tracking a car range from ancient technology to recent technology. From using radio receivers to smartphones, among others.
So, at any point, if you lose your car and it does not have GPS signals, you have alternatives to track it.
As much as you would love the police to be in the forefront to help you get your stolen car back, they are not the only option. It would be best if you do not put all your hopes into them in this case.
Police have so many other serious crimes to handle.
Not to mean that your stolen car is not a priority, but don’t expect them to go door to door asking for surveillance cameras to retrieve your stolen car. It is not very reliable and rarely happens.
Therefore, if you want to find your stolen vehicle without GPS, you need to put in the work.
Hopefully, your car will never get stolen, but it is essential to have the information. You can help someone at some point. It is better to know than to need the information and not to have it.
Devices Used To Track a Car without Using GPS
Here are the alternatives to recover your car without a GPS.
Probably you didn’t realize that you can use the radio in your car for tracking.
It is a standard method used in the ’50s and ’60s, and some people still use it today.
Vehicle manufacturers install a radio receiver with a transmitter device that creates radio waves to send data with the help of an antenna hence enabling the receiver to pick the data sent.
So, if a thief drives your car away, you can pick up the transmitter’s signal and get the car’s general direction.
The method will only give the general location. So, yeah, that is its most significant drawback.
It will only give you the direction your car is coming from but not a specific area or exact point of the vehicle. It is more of a kin compass than an alternative GPS.
Another challenge with using a radio receiver to track a car without GPS is that the transmitter needs a source of power, either direct wiring to the vehicle or a separate battery.
Therefore, if your car is not on, it cannot transmit radio waves, and you will not get the signals. Not unless your vehicle has another source of power.
Radio Frequency Identification
Radiofrequency identification (RFID) is a more refined type of radio receiver.
It is a wireless object that transmits signals and allows you to pick them up. You can tag tools with an RFID chip to transmit signals.
RFID is essential because you can hide the tags anywhere in the vehicle and identify a car positively even after modification.
Amazingly, they have their power source and help store information about the car.
Another incredible thing about RFID tags is that they are tiny; hence you can hide them even in obscure places.
However, its shortcoming is that the RFID tag has a shorter range than a standard radio transmitter and is only effective on a few blocks when there is a good antenna.
You can track a car without a GPS by using a prepaid cell phone. You only need to silence the phone and hide it in the car.
To track your vehicle, call your cell phone, and it will broadcast your car’s position effectively.
Using widely available commercial software, you triangulate the signal between two cell phone towers and get the car’s location. The police overtime has used the method to track phone calls.
However, there is a need for a power source to connect the phone.
In addition, it can be not easy to give exact information when the car is moving fast, but it will provide the general vicinity and direction.
Install a Non-GPS Device in Your Car
If you do not have GPS in your car, you can install other non-GPS devices like toll-detector in your vehicle.
With a toll detector in your car, it can be captured and brought back to you when a thief drives your vehicle through any toll.
Police can also use this method to track your car down.
You can also use TrackR, commonly advertised as a key finder, but it is a kind of a GPS. It uses a crowd GPS network but has a weak signal.
So, when the TrackR device passes near another TrackR device, they both ping each other. The disadvantage is that there are only a few TrackR devices.
Final Thoughts on How to Track a Car without GPS
Many alternatives can help you track a car without GPS. While some are brilliant moves, others may seem too simple and hilarious at the same time.
The point is, you can track your vehicle without GPS without involving the police, who might be busy handling other security issues.
Now that you have all the information you need, it is best to invest in the method you feel is best for you.
It is not like someone will steal your car, but it is best to equip your vehicle for safety because you never know what tomorrow holds.
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.