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    How Much Does A Car Tracker Cost

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    Among the more popular car security products that I’ve seen flying off the shelves as of late are car trackers. I can see why, though. If your car is stolen and someone’s driven off with it, a car tracker is an easy and simple little appliance to let you know where they’ve gone. I could also see plenty of other use cases for a car tracker too, like using it to know where you might’ve last parked your car. But, are they really worth it, given the price? How much does a car tracker cost, anyway?

    Well, the final tally with buying a car tracker and having it installed varies depending on how far off the deep end you really want to go. Budget car trackers can easily be had for under £100, including the installation cost. Or, you could drain your bank account and spend way more than £1,200 for a more premium option. That’s not even including other miscellaneous costs that many car owners, unfortunately, tend to forget or sometimes even neglect when taking stock of the total cost.

    Many car trackers have monthly subscriptions to access their services. Plus, some of them have tiered prices to access more premium features and functionality. Additionally, car trackers need some way to connect to your phone or web portal (where you can monitor your car) and send data back. Therefore, you’ll have to take into account the monthly cost of a SIM card and data plan, as well.

    To get a better idea of how much this is all going to cost you, across a broad price range, here’s our detailed, in-depth breakdown (and, we’ll attempt to answer whether or not a car tracker is worth it at the end):

    1. Costs Of Buying An Aftermarket Car Tracker

    First off, let’s look at the cost of buying the actual car tracker itself. You’ll find plenty of aftermarket options on and other marketplaces, some of which could be had for under £15. But, just to keep it simple, we’re going to mention some of the more popular car trackers here in the UK, as an example.

    On the budget end of the price range, there’s the Rewire Security Nano Tracker and the TKSTAR GPS Tracker, for £49.99 and £35.00, respectively. A lot of these cheaper car trackers don’t really offer much beyond just real-time tracking. But hey, that’s what a car tracker is for, right? To track where your car is and where it’s gone. If that’s all you need it for, it’ll do the job just fine.

    Step it up to the mid-range price bracket, and you have the Smartrack Protector Pro or the Trackershop Enforcer 4, among others. These cost around £199.00 to £129.00, respectively. In addition to real-time tracking, as those cheap car trackers offer, you get extra goodies for the money. Mid-range options might offer additional perks like 24/7 customer support, geofencing, extensive mobile app support, or even approval and certificates from security companies. The latter could be something like the ‘Thatcham Approved’ approval process, which may even get you reduced insurance premiums.

    On the other end of the price range, you’ll find higher-end car trackers like the Smartrack S5 or the Tracker Cat 5 Plus. These are, as you can imagine, pretty pricey, costing around £449.00 and £699.00, respectively. You’ll find more of that ‘Thatcham Approved’ certificate here, but often tested and approved more rigorously. Elsewhere, pricier car trackers offer more advanced theft detection, are likely more dependable, and may also feature remote immobilisation systems.

    2. Costs Of Installing And Fitting A Car Tracker

    While the cost of the car tracker itself is the biggest variable in the final tally, the installation cost can be quite impactful, too. Now, some car trackers – often in the cheaper end of the price range – are designed to be easier to install DIY. These DIY-friendly car trackers are usually plug-and-play, and some just require you to stick them into the OBD port. If you can DIY the installation, it’ll cost you precisely £0, just costing you in time, and energy, and you might not even need any tools.

    However, more sophisticated car trackers, particularly those that require hardwiring, are going to be way more complicated to install. These are usually best left to professionals unless you have a good amount of know-how around your car. A professional install will incur labour charges and additional costs:

    • The average hourly rate for most car mechanics in the UK is around £60 to £100 per hour.
    • For most car trackers, the estimated installation time is around 1 to 3 hours. This will depend on the complexity of the car tracker itself.
    • So, the estimated total labour cost will likely be anywhere from £60 to £300. But, your cost may vary.

    3. Some Additional Costs To Consider

    Ah, now we get to the fine print that many car owners and motorists miss when they’re thinking about buying a car tracker and fitting it onto their car. Aside from the cost of buying and installing the car tracker, you need to take stock of these extra costs too, if you’re wondering about how much does a car tracker cost:

    • Subscription Fees – Many car trackers require that you pay a monthly (or yearly) subscription to access real-time tracking services. At best, they might offer basic real-time services for free, but you’ll still need to pay up if you want extra features, like geo-fencing or remote immobilisers. The monthly subscription costs vary from one car tracker to another, but on average, they’re usually in the £5 to £20 range per month. For example, Smartrack charges £12.95 to £19.95 per month, depending on the car tracker you pair it with.
    • SIM Card Costs – To allow the car tracker to connect with your phone (and the car tracker provider’s servers) and keep track of your car’s location, it needs a SIM card. This is because most car trackers rely on GSM networks or something similar. As such, you’ll need a SIM card with a data plan. Depending on the data usage and plan that you’ve paired it with, it might cost you £1 to £5 each month on the SIM card and data plan, alone.

    Are Car Trackers Really Worth It?

    Now that you’re wary of how much does a car tracker cost, is it really worth it to fit one onto your car? If you’ve already made up your mind on one, for your specific use cases, then don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. If you’re on the fence, however, a car tracker, while it can be handy for some scenarios, might not always live up to the hype. There are so many points of failure with complicated security devices like car trackers that I’ve yet to talk about. In short, a car tracker might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

    There are serious limitations that can massively impede their ability to actually track your car:

    • This could be poor signal reception (which will lose track of your car’s location), lower accuracy (hence, it’ll likely get it wrong as to where your car actually is), as well as unreliable performance.
    • Aside from that, car trackers rely on GPS and GSM networks, as well as run on battery power. If any of these are compromised, it’ll render your expensive car tracker pretty much useless in some cases.
    • Car trackers are way more expensive than they lead on, over the long term. The ongoing costs of those SIM card data plans and monthly subscription fees add up hugely over time.
    • The complexity of car trackers makes them prone to faults. You might be dealing with problematic electronics in the car tracker device itself, or there might be software glitches that prevent accurate tracking
    • By far and away the Achilles Heel of car trackers – they’re relatively easy to tamper. If a thief knows what to look for, they can pretty easily locate, tamper with, and disable the car tracker. Those OBD car trackers, for example, often stick out like a sore thumb, so don’t be surprised if a burglar finds it and chucks it out the window in mere seconds.

    A Good Driveway Bollard > A Car Tracker

    As you can see now, car trackers have their use cases and their respective flaws. If you’re looking for a reliable, robust, and easy way to secure your car and prevent a prospective thief from driving off with it, there is a really good alternative for your home, instead… Installing a driveway bollard.

    Rather than focusing too much on adding electronic gadgets like car trackers – which might fail or having you to deal with the chance of it glitching out, among other would-be issues – a good driveway bollard solves this. And, instead of focusing too much on your car’s security, it might be more effective to look at where you’ve parked your car and securing your home’s driveway, as a more solid, proven option.

    A simple driveway bollard is a much more guaranteed option for securing both your car and your driveway at the same time and ensuring that a thief won’t just be able to drive off with your car. There are many other benefits to installing a driveway bollard, instead of investing in a car tracker:

    • A driveway bollard acts as a physical barrier, preventing your car from being driven off under your nose. In some cases, it may deter potential thieves from even attempting to steal your car in the first place, because they know there’s no way they’ll be able to take off with it.
    • The lack of strong reliance on electronics and complicated tech makes driveway bollards a way better option for most motorists and myself, personally. They don’t need a battery, paywalled behind a monthly subscription, or GPS signals to work. A driveway bollard, once installed, works right away, and it’ll work reliably every single time.
    • Over the long run, driveway bollards are cheaper, too. Sure, the upfront costs of buying a few driveway bollards and installing them at your home might be pricier than a car tracker, but it’s a one-time cost. You pay up once, and it requires minimal maintenance afterwards. Unlike car trackers, you don’t have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription, not to mention SIM card data plans.
    • Driveway bollards are for more than just securing your car. Installing a driveway bollard ensures that you can protect your home, as well as your car. I’ve also seen a lot of people install driveway bollards to help prevent unauthorised vehicles from parking or driving up onto their driveways.
    • Best of all, driveway bollards are far more durable than car trackers. They’re meant to be outdoors, so they’ve been built with extensive protection against harsh weather and can withstand weathering for many years, with minimal care needed. Moreover, driveway bollards are way harder to tamper or bypass, unlike car trackers.

    But don’t just take my word for it. If you’re looking for the best protection and security for your car and to deter theft, at Bollard Security, we have over 15 years of experience with installing and maintaining security solutions across the UK. We’ve served clients across residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, particularly with our diverse selection of driveway bollards. We have everything from simpler (but nonetheless effective) telescopic bollards to fancy automated bollards, too. If you’re unsure of where to get started, don’t hesitate to contact us at 01535 920362 for advice and recommendations.