How to Track a Stolen Car without GPS

What an absolute nightmare, your car has been stolen and you don’t have GPS!

Or maybe you are just here because you are curious as to whether you could track down a stolen car without GPS or if it is really just a lost cause (or should I say lost car…se?).

Well, what I am about to tell you is going to blow your mind. You can definitely still track your stolen car without GPS. After all, GPS hasn’t always been around, especially in the capacity we have it today.

Keep on reading to find out exactly how this would work…



First on our list are the little miracles that we call dashcams. These days, an overwhelming amount of vehicles use a dashcam.

The chances are, if someone has stolen your car then they are highly likely to have driven it even if only a short distance. The good news for you is that given how many vehicles are on the road at any given time, they are highly likely to have driven past other cars. These others cars may have dash cams installed, and so they would have an image of your stolen car passing it.

As well as this, if you personally have a dashcam in the car that has been stolen, this will make it even easier for you and for authorities to track the car. They will be able to use any images of your car at tollbooths and footage from intersection cameras to attempt to track it down.

License Plate and Appearance of the Car

Your license plate could be the absolute key to finding your car again.

With the license plate, the authorities can check any security and surveillance equipment that is in your local area to see if any of them picked up your car’s license plate. Authorities can also use a good description of your car to ask in toll booths, local shops, service stations, and more.

It is the license plate that also allows you to do some good old fashioned detective work when looking for your car. You can ask around the local area to see if anyone has seen that car recently.

Here it would also be relevant to give any distinguishing features of your car such as any trunk or front stickers, any identifiable scrapes and marks, any scratches, and even any decorations you might have that are visible.

Asking Around

Related to the previous point, we should not underestimate the power of asking around.

This is particularly relevant if the car was stolen from a neighborhood or a busy area. Chances are, there is someone who may have seen something suspicious – maybe even numerous people if you are lucky!

If it is safe to do so, you could knock on some properties (houses, apartments, and stores) in the area your car got stolen from. It is very likely that if you contact authorities (which we definitely recommend doing in the case of a stolen car!), then they will conduct some house-to-house interviews if they see fit.

If you insist on going rogue for whatever reason, do take care, especially in an unfamiliar neighborhood, but you may actually find some good samaritans out there who are more than willing to help.

In the same vein as this is the use of social media. Many communities, neighborhoods, and towns have their own Facebook pages and groups set up where people can give information and notices about things like lost pets.

There is no reason why you can’t do the same for your stolen vehicle and enquire about whether people have seen anything suspicious. You may stumble across your stolen car being sold online! This certainly is more common than you’d think.

If you do choose to do anything that involves you talking to other citizens, do take care, and remember to seek advice from authorities first!

Short-wave Radios and Toll Detectors

Both of these devices are non-GPS but are still adequate for tracking. In fact, anything that produces a signal is able to be tracked. If you have a toll detector in your car, this will help authorities track any tolls the vehicle has passed recently.

I know short wave radios are rarely used these days, especially in newer cars. However, if your vehicle does happen to have one then you are in luck! Authorities can also track this.

If you are reading this article just out of curiosity and your vehicle hasn’t actually been stolen, we highly recommend you installing one of these devices in your car to help if that did ever happen to you. Trust us, you will thank us if it actually happened to you!

APIs and Databases

API stands for Application Programme Interface, and it tends to be something that relates to all new smart cars. For example, imagine you buy a new car from Honda.

Honda would have a database of all the cars they have manufactured as well as access to an API. in theory, if you could provide them with information about your car, such as a serial number, they may well be able to enter this on their database to find your car, and then input that into an API. The API could then attempt to track the car in any way possible, through anything the car transmits, and should then be able to see the last known location of the car.

This method is not fool-proof by any means, and may not be suitable for all cars. However, if it is possible it could certainly prove very successful in retrieving your stolen vehicle’s known location.

Databases may help you out if the car that has been stolen from you has been re-sold. Theoretically, there should be a record of all past and new owners of a vehicle. This could, again, be found by going to the manufacturer and using API, or even by looking on the internet.

And there you have it!

There are numerous ways you can track a car without GPS.

We hope this has given you some helpful tips.

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