How to Make a Car Tracker

by Brenda Barron

Installing an expensive security system on your car might seem like a good idea, but it might not be worth it. After all, you probably cannot count how many times you ignored a car alarm. For an inexpensive alternative to a security system that will help you locate your car if it is stolen, you can install a mobile phone as tracking device.

Find and purchase a GSM mobile phone to use as a car tracker. Make sure the phone has a mute and auto-answer function. Look for one with an external antenna to help with reception.

Open the phone to get access to the battery compartment. Remove the battery from the phone and locate the IMEI number. Write this number down. If you cannot find this number, you can alternatively enter *#06# on the number pad.

Buy a new mobile plan. This can be any plan that offers a reliable connection and wide roaming coverage. You will rarely use this phone, so pick something affordable. Once you are given the new number for this phone, make note of it and keep to yourself. Confirm that the phone is working properly.

Set the options on your car tracker phone. Turn off the ringer and vibration functions. You need the phone totally silent. Turn off the screen and any lights on the phone. If there is no option for this, cover the screen or lights with black electrical tape.

Turn on the auto-answer feature; refer to the manual or seek the vender's help. Activate the key-guard or key-lock function, and wrap the keys in black electrical tape.

Mount the phone in the car somewhere it will not be seen, such as under the driver's seat or behind the dashboard with industrial Velcro. Using the Velcro will keep the phone secure but will allow removal for charging and testing.

Have a friend sit in the car while you call the car-tracking phone from another phone. The auto-answer will pick up and you will hear the person in your car clearly if all is in working order.

If your car is ever stolen, contact the service provider for the phone and police. Give them both the number of the car tracking phone and IMEI number. They can then use this information to track and pinpoint the car by its location to surrounding GSM towers. Be aware to tell the service provider not to block the SIM card. This is something they will do by default when your phone is stolen.

Make a plan to charge and test the car tracker phone to make sure everything is working correctly for when you need it. Refer to the GSM phone's stand-by life in its manual.

Items you will need

About the Author

Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera yellow car, a honda japanese sport car model image by alma_sacra from