GPS Fleet Tracking

How to Track a Fleet Car Without GPS

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GPS is standard in most mobile devices today. Smartphones have them, tablets have them, and even vehicles come equipped with them. But what is a fleet manager to do if their vehicles don’t have GPS? Is there a way to track a fleet car without GPS? How do they track a stolen car without GPS? Is it even possible?

There are several ways to track a vehicle without GPS, though they may lag behind real-time locations and may not be able to provide an exact location, just an approximate location. 

SIM Tracking

As opposed to using a driver’s cell phone or a vehicle’s installed GPS tracking system, it is possible to track a vehicle via SIM tracking. SIM tracking tracks a driver’s location by recording their coordinates via their cellular network. In a large city, SIM tracking can provide a relatively close location for a driver or vehicle. But if they are driving cross country where cell towers may be further apart, it is much harder to pinpoint a location precisely.

The key here is that drivers must give their permission to have their phones tracked. Installation is simple; you only need the driver’s phone number and their consent to track their phone. 

The SIM tracking option is a cost-effective method for how to track a car without GPS as it has a pay-per-use methodology. There is not even a monthly charge. This makes it highly cost-effective.

What’s the Difference Between GPS and SIM Tracking?

Let’s look at the difference between GPS and SIM Tracking for how to track a car.


  • GPS tracking via mobile phone is far less common on older devices and may require the driver to carry a smartphone.
  • As an alternative to a smartphone, a GPS device may be installed in the vehicle.

Connection Requirements

  • GPS software requires regular updates of the software of either the phone, app, or device being used. This can be time-consuming.
  • SIM tracking just requires the phone to be on – it doesn’t even need to be a smartphone. SIM tracking works with any cell phone.


  • GPS tracking requires the device to connect to the satellite network and works best under a clear sky. Overcast weather, obstructions, and other interference can weaken the signal and make it harder to track.
  • SIM tracking pings off of cellular towers, so if you’re in a big city, there’s no issue with knowing where a vehicle is. If the vehicle is traveling cross country, there’s still the possibility of dead zones with no cellular service. In these areas, you will see the vehicle’s last known location, but it can be a while before they reappear, and you can track them again.

Final Thoughts

Both GPS and SIM tracking have their advantages and disadvantages. If the goal is simply tracking the driver’s location, SIM tracking may be the best way to know how to track a car without GPS. However, GPS has much more to offer, including: 

  • A full suite of fleet management tools 
  • Real-time tracking
  • Route optimization features
  • Maintenance tracking and scheduling
  • Details on how much wear and tear is happening to the vehicle

Azuga can help you create a driver rewards program, know when your vehicle is ready for maintenance, improve your carbon footprint, and more. Schedule a demo today to learn more.