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Can A GPS Tracker Be Blocked?

Can A GPS Tracker Be Blocked?

A car is a valuable item. Cars are expensive and we appreciate them for work and play. The trouble is, so do car thieves. The only difference being they don’t pay for them. Following the invention of the modern motor car, it didn’t take long for criminals to recognise the potential for ill-gotten gains as so many motorists have found out to their cost. That’s why it makes sense to fit a GPS car tracker into your vehicle. 

There is no earthly reason why any responsible car owner would want to switch a car tracker off once fitted, even if the vehicle is in a locked garage, but it would suit criminals if the signal could be interrupted, so can a GPS tracker be blocked?

Can A Car Tracker Be Blocked?

Yes, it can. Simply putting a GPS car tracker in a metal box will block the signal, which is why it is always best to have your car tracking device fitted by a professional approved installer who can hide the tracking device somewhere on the vehicle very discreetly. If a thief is unaware of a tracker in the first place, vehicle recovery should be pretty swift.

The issue remains though that these days thieves are well aware of this. Insurance companies often require a tracker to be fitted before quoting a premium. This is especially true of high-end vehicles like Range Rover or Jaguar models. Fortunately, car tracking technology is constantly improved to help prevent blocking and other attempts to disable devices.

What Can Block A Tracking Device?

As anyone who has suddenly lost a mobile phone signal will know, there are some natural hazards that can block a signal if only infrequently and, these days, increasingly rarely. The signal from a GPS tracking device can also be blocked by a jamming device.

GPS Jammers work by producing a white noise radio signal that is transmitted around the same frequency as the GPS satellites. This can block out the signals to GPS tracking devices and navigation systems. These however are illegal and cannot be purchased openly. Being caught with signal jamming equipment comes with severe punishments in the form of 2 years imprisonment so this in itself is a pretty compelling deterrent against using them. Furthermore, they only have short range and many tracking devices, like the brilliant Tracker S5 Plus car tracker, solve the problem by combining a VHF signal as well as GPS (global positioning system) and GSM (global system for mobile communication) technology to make the unit far more resilient to jamming attacks. It is supported by UK Police and, combined with the Tracker Touch app, the VHF signal can still be located even if the stolen vehicle is locked away in a metal sea container that may otherwise block a GPS signal.

Is There Any Reason Why An Owner Would Block A GPS Signal?

Conceivably, yes. It has been known for opportunistic criminals to slip a cheap tracking device, like an AirTag, into a personal vehicle to locate and steal a car at a later time. It is also conceivable that a driver may not want his or her location known.

A commercial driver in a business fleet vehicle, aware of tracking and telematics within that vehicle, may also want to jam the signal temporarily if acting outside their remit. That’s why some tracking devices are designed to thwart signal jamming. It’s worth noting too that jamming GPS signals is illegal in some countries so if there is any reason to do so, then it pays to check first as the police have jamming device detectors as part of the war on car theft in the first place.

Car Park Theft

Cars are not just stolen from private premises. With the right equipment, a nearby criminal can block the signal from the key to the car as the owner walks away. The car remains unlocked and can be freely entered. Thieves might then as one example, disconnect the battery to prevent a GPS tracker from working. Fortunately, units like the Thatcham-approved TrackStar S7 have an integral backup battery and also emit a tamper and motion alert signal to warn the owner.

Is It Possible To Tell If A GPS Signal Is Being Blocked?

Yes, owners can protect against jamming by purchasing a car tracker that offers anti-jamming technology. It may seem paranoid, but if in doubt there’s a simple check that all drivers can do: Check the vehicle’s satellite navigation (or Google Maps on your smartphone). If they register a GPS error then it’s possible a jamming device is being used.

Relay Theft

When stealing a car from right under the owner’s nose, car thieves use a trick called relay theft. The signal from a key or fob can be detected from inside a property using a simple device and this is relayed to another device adjacent to the vehicle and that’s it, the car unlocks and it’s on the way to pastures new. Now, it’s worth remembering that the signal from the key can be blocked by the Faraday cage principle, in this case a metal-lined pouch to block the key signal to the outside world. This essentially is what car criminals do. They block the signal from the GPS unit and the cheaper the unit, the easier it is to achieve and the ever-watchful satellites are subsequently blinded. 

Protect Against Theft With A High Quality Car Tracker

The moral of this story is that when buying a car tracker subscription always purchase the best unit available. Check with a trusted supplier who offers free fitting and protects your Land Rover, Jaguar or prestige sports car with the very latest in vehicle security. Can a car tracker be blocked? You bet it can, so don’t give car thieves the opportunity.

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