Do Rental Cars Have Trackers in Them?

Do Rental Cars Have Trackers in Them?

Before rental car companies give their cars out for rent, it’s essential to keep track of them even while the vehicles are in your possession. While many people are wary of being monitored, companies must secure their assets.

Many rental cars have trackers in them. Some companies use tracking devices to monitor customers and secure their vehicles. However, this isn’t the same across the board since policies and customer feedback can alter company decisions.

Tracking cars can be a delicate issue since many people are concerned about privacy. However, there are multiple reasons why it’s necessary, and this article will cover them in detail. 

Why Do Rental Cars Have Trackers in Them?

Many rental companies will ensure that their customers are adequately informed about the presence of trackers in their cars before accepting the rental agreement. This makes their customers feel assured that their privacy is not unknowingly infringed on.

Rental cars have trackers in them to locate company cars. While rental services are usually hands-off for most of the time their cars are in your possession, they sometimes install trackers to ensure they can locate the vehicles in case of theft.

In most cases, rental cars have trackers fixed on them by the companies. It’s done to secure their cars and track customers who do not return vehicles on time or at all. Usually, companies use trackers with wireless Global Positioning System (GPS) service.

Another reason for installing trackers is to send alerts in situations like crossing state lines or an international border. Although some companies allow it, most have regulations on taking their vehicle across specific boundaries.

How Do You Know if Your Rental Car Has a Tracker?

Do Rental Cars Have Trackers in Them?

Most companies will tell you if your car has a tracker installed due to privacy laws. However, these laws can vary by state and country, so it’s always best to check in with your rental company or state laws to be entirely sure.

While they may not verbally mention to you that your car comes with a tracker, it may be mentioned in your contract. Always read through the contract carefully before signing anything.

Unfortunately, some companies might not inform you of trackers beforehand to keep you from checking for them. While this is unethical, it’s an unfortunate reality. 

However, if you discover a tracker in your car that the rental company did not inform you about, you might be able to take it up with the company or in court.

Benefits of Rental Car Tracking

While it might not always be to some customer’s liking, companies have valid reasons to track

their cars. Not everyone will stick to the company’s policies, and they must account for this. Although some companies choose to do away with trackers, others get quite a few benefits from them.

Recover Stolen Cars

Trackers make it a lot easier to find stolen cars, reducing theft. Without a tracker to accurately locate the vehicle and at least give you a general idea of where the car might be, it becomes much more difficult to retrieve a car from a determined thief.

Trackers are controversial because they invade your privacy, providing personal information that companies can trade without your knowledge. Unfortunately, it would be significantly harder for some companies to locate stolen cars without them.

It Improves Customer Service and Accountability

Along with location services, some trackers have features that can also benefit rental companies. The first of these is speed tracking.

Tracking the car’s speed in specific locations helps rental and insurance companies in case of an accident. While they might not have a visual of the accident without a dash cam, they can check if you were within safe speed limits during the accident.


Geofencing is a common use of tracking devices. Using the tracker, companies can set up a geographical ‘fence.’ While the fence can’t physically stop you from leaving, it will alert the company once you cross the set boundary.

Why Do Rental Cars Not Have Trackers in Them?

Rental cars may not have trackers in them due to laws, company policy, and cost. The cost of monitoring each car can pile up, especially with the capital and staffing requirements. Policies and privacy laws can also make tracking difficult or impossible.

This decision sometimes depends entirely on the rental car company. It can be pretty expensive for rental car companies with many cars to monitor them all. 

Ironically enough, smaller rental companies are more likely to fit trackers in their vehicles than larger ones. Even though the costs can add up, it’s a lot easier for a smaller company to cover the cost of tracking a few cars than it would be for a significantly larger company.

For some companies, the cost of the car weighed against the resources required to track it, making it easier to forgo tracking. Losing a few cars in a fleet of thousands is a convenient loss; sometimes, law enforcement takes the lead in finding the cars.

For most large rental companies, trackers are an unnecessary cost since it’s much cheaper for them to track you using your personal information. Rather than spend huge sums tracking each car individually, they simply collect information on you in your rental agreement. 

Card details, home addresses, and official identification like a passport or driver’s license can make you much easier to find. With enough customer information, tracking the customer if the car goes missing is possible.

Reasons Why Tracking Devices Are Not Used in Rental Cars

Although keeping track of their cars is essential, not all rental companies take the extra step to install trackers. This happens for a variety of reasons:


Not everyone is comfortable being tracked while renting cars, and this causes a disconnect between customers that do not want their privacy invaded and companies that need to keep tabs on their property. 

In most jurisdictions, tracking a car you own is perfectly legal. However, since many people aren’t comfortable with it, companies sometimes look for alternatives.

Tracking Inaccuracy

Like many forms of technology, trackers are not perfect. The tracker’s signals can be distorted by adverse weather and other signal frequencies.

While you might get the general location of the car, accurately tracking it to a few meters is a lot harder. In countries or cities where the weather is regularly overcast, installing trackers might not be worth it.


Many rental companies equip their cars with trackers to hedge against theft and accidents. While it’s not a frequent occurrence, rental companies run into problems from time to time. A tracker significantly reduces the possibility of this or, at least, makes cars easier to recover.


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