If a noisy car alarm doesn’t appeal to you as an anti-theft device, the CarLock might be the answer. Similar to the Viper SmartStart GPS system, this GPS tracking car security system alerts you of suspicious activity without waking up your neighbors. If a thief takes off with your car, the GPS tracks it, allowing you to send police after your car with ease. The CarLock also tracks driving habits, allowing you to receive alerts for other drivers, such as your teenage children, and provides feedback on the car’s performance. With a subscription cost below $10 a month, the CarLock is the best car tracking device.
The CarLock consists of two devices – a GPS and cellular-enabled device that plugs into your car’s OBD connector (standard in every car since 1996) and an app on your smartphone. With the app, you can track your car’s performance, customize the alerts you receive and keep track of driving habits. It doesn’t require a complicated installation like car alarms. The only difficulty you’ll have is finding the OBD connector, which is usually hidden in a compartment underneath the steering wheel near the hood release.
For security, the CarLock alerts you when the engine has been started without you. It detects vibrations from things like broken windows or doors being pried open, or any other strange vibrations that are typically associated with someone breaking into your car. You’ll also receive alerts if your car is towed or a thief tries to disconnect it from the OBD connector. It doesn’t have an audible siren like other car alarms, but this is a welcome omission for many people.
The CarLock’s best feature is the GPS. It’s like having an affordable version of a LoJack in your car. If a thief takes off with your vehicle, you can track them and lead law enforcement to their location. You have a much better chance of recovering your vehicle with this. You can also use the GPS to track routes, for yourself and for other drivers. If your teenage driver goes outside of a specific area, you get an alert. This may not make you the most popular parent, but it makes for easy tracking.
Some bonuses to the CarLock that other car trackers lack are the driver-monitoring features. You can set the CarLock to alert you to troubling driving habits, such as unusually fast acceleration, sharp cornering and hard braking. You can also set the speed limit so that you get an alert whenever the car's driver exceeds the speed limit. At the end of the month, the driver receives a score out of 100. This makes the CarLock a great tool for monitoring teenage drivers.
The CarLock is also a virtual mechanic. By plugging into the car’s electrical system, it can alert you to potential electrical issues. While it won’t tell you that your car’s oil is low, it will tell you when the battery is bad.
One downside to the CarLock, in comparison to car alarms like the Viper 5706V, is the monthly subscription. It costs a little less than $10 a month. Most car trackers cost upward of $25 a month. The reason for the subscription is the device must connect to a cellular signal to communicate with your smartphone. However, with everything that it offers, a small monthly subscription fee is a minor inconvenience.