Have you ever walked out to the parking lot to where you think you parked your car, and it isn’t there?
“Ha!” you say to yourself. “It was the next row over!”
And, nine times out of 10, it probably is.
But what if it isn’t there? It isn’t anywhere in the lot.
It’s gone, and a car thief is behind the wheel.
Luckily, it’s 2019. If you have a newer car, chances are you’ll be able to track the vehicle through technology that’s already installed, and all you need to do is call the police and open up a phone app.
We contacted all the major automakers and compiled a roundup of which cars currently have tracking technology and any subscription fees that might be associated with it.
Acura: AcuraLink connects your car to your phone and offers different features depending on package levels. The Connect Package adds stolen vehicle recovery, which allows AcuraLink agents to use your vehicle’s location technology to direct the police to your vehicle. This connectivity is available on 2014-2019 RLX and MDX, 2015-2017 TLX, 2018-2019 TL and 2016-2019 ILX. This is a subscription-based feature, and after a 90-day trial, it will cost $159 for one year, $259 for two years and $359 for three years. After that it will cost $208 per year.
Audi: Audi connect CARE is a suite of assistance and security services that offers services such as SOS call, online roadside assistance and (you guessed it) a stolen vehicle locator. Audi says this feature is available without a subscription “while technology is available.” You can find connect CARE in the 2019 A6, A7, A8 and Q8; the 2018 A5 and Q5; and the 2017 Q7, A4 and Allroad.
BMW: The BMW Connected Drive system has some pretty cool features – like the ability to get a 3D view of the imagery surrounding your vehicle – but one of the mainstays is Stolen Vehicle Recovery. After filing a police report call the BMW Response Center at 888-333-6118, and they’ll help the police locate your vehicle. This is a subscription-based service and costs $50 per year after the initial 4-year trial. It’s available on vehicles dating back to the 2004 model year. Specifically, it’s available on the 2004 – present 3 Series, 5 Series 6 Series, X3 and X5; 2005 – present 7 Series; 2008 – present 1-series and X6; 2009 – present Z4; 2013 – present X1; 2014 – present i3, i8, 2 Series and 4 Series; and 2015 – present X4.
Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet GMC: All General Motors vehicles come with a standard OnStar connection and offer a free trial of connected services such as vehicle diagnostics, maintenance notifications and Marketplace. However, the security features that can be enabled if your car is stolen are a part of the Safety & Security Package, which has a $24.99 monthly fee. In addition to a stolen vehicle locator, this package allows OnStar – when working with Police – to safely slow down the vehicle as well as prevent the vehicle from being restarted if it’s turned off.
Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram: New models with the Uconnect 4C and 8.4 systems have the ability to be enrolled in SiriusXM Guardian, which offers a number of safety, security and convenience features – including Stolen Vehicle Assistance. After filing a police report, SiriusXM Guardian enrollees will need to call 844-796-4827 to report the vehicle stolen. You will need the phone number of the police department, reporting officer and the stolen vehicle case number. SiriusXM Guardian will work directly with the police to track the vehicle. This is available as a 1-year free trial, but will cost $24.98 per month afterwards. SiriusXM Guardian is available on the 2017 – 2019 Chrysler 300 and 2019 Pacifica; the 2017 – 2019 Dodge Challenger, Charger and 2018 -2019 Durango; the 2017 – 2019 Jeep Compass and 2018 – 2019 Grand Cherokee, Renegade and Wrangler JL; and the 2018 – 2019 RAM 1500, 2500, 3500 and Chassis Cab.
Ford: If you have a recent model year Ford equipped with Sync Connect and you’ve registered your vehicle on FordPass, then you, the owner, have the ability to track the vehicle yourself via the phone app’s location services. Should your vehicle be stolen, Ford recommends you hand your phone over to the police, and let them do the actual tracking. Vehicles with this capability include the 2017-2019 F-150, 2017-2019 Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, 2017-2019 Escape, 2018-2019 Expedition, Explorer, Mustang and EcoSport.
Honda: HondaLink connects your car to your phone and offers different features depending on different package levels. The Convenience Package adds a Security Alarm Alert as well as Stolen Vehicle Locator, which will assist authorities in finding your vehicle in the event it is stolen. This will cost $110 per year after an initial three-month trial. This is currently available in the 2018 - 2019 Odyssey Touring/Elite, 2018 - 2019 Accord Touring and 2019 Insight Touring.
Hyundai: Stolen vehicle tracking is part of the Hyundai Blue Link system. After filing a police report, Blue Link can help law enforcement slow down, immobilize and locate your vehicle. Simply contact Blue Link via the web or your smartphone app. Blue Link is standard for three years on all 2018 and 2019 Hyundai models, mid-level trims and up. After that it will cost $9.90 per month for the Blue Link Remote Package.
Infiniti: In the event your vehicle is stolen, you can activate the Stolen Vehicle Locator by calling Infiniti InTouch Services at 800-334-7858. Owners must already have received a police report number prior to calling. Infiniti will then work directly with the police to track the vehicle. This feature is available as a part of Premier services. It comes with a 4-year trial, and then it will cost $24.98 per month as a part of the InTouch Services Premier Package. Vehicle availability includes 2019 QX50 and Q70;2018 Q50, Q60, Q70, QX30, QX60 and QX80;2017 Q50, Q60, QX30 and QX60;2016 Q50 and Q50 Hybrid.
Jaguar Land Rover: Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles with InControl also have access to a stolen vehicle locator. After you have filed a police report for the stolen vehicle, you simply contact the Stolen Vehicle Monitoring center via the InControl Remote app and provide them with the police report number. The center will then work directly with the police to track the vehicle via GPS. InControl is available on all 2019 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, and in the case of Jaguar it is included with Jaguar EliteCare and will be free for the life of the 5-year warranty. Land Rover vehicles will have this service complimentary for 4 years. There will be a fee to continue it after that time, and pricing is available directly through local retailers.
Lexus: Similar to its Toyota brethren, Lexus offers a Safety Connect feature as a part of its Enform system, which allows for GPS vehicle tracking once a police report is filed. Call 800-817-8742, and the response center will work with police using GPS technology to locate the vehicle. The subscription fee is $8 per month or $80 per year after the 1-year trial period. This system is available on every current model and was available on most models dating back to 2010. You can check specific models and years here.
Mercedes-Benz: Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance is available through the Mercedes-Benz mbrace system. Similar to the other systems in this article, once the vehicle is reported stolen, Mercedes will work with authorities to recover the vehicle. Mbrace is available in Mercedes vehicles starting with the 2013 model year. The Safety & Security package, which includes stolen vehicle location, comes with a 6-month trial and costs $199 per year afterward.
Mazda: Mazda Mobile Start, which is part of a phone app, is a $550 accessory that can be added to current generation vehicles in the Mazda lineup. Specifically, it’s available in the 2014-2019 Mazda3, 2014-2019 Mazda6, 2016-2019 MX-5 Miata, 2016-2019 CX-3, 2013-2019 CX-5, 2016-2019 CX-9. The subscription fee is $65 per year.
Mitsubishi: Currently only available in the all-new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, the Mitsubishi CONNECT app-based system offers stolen vehicle assistance, which will help police find your car through the mobile tracker. You first have need to file a police report, and then contact a Mitsubishi CONNECT Customer Care Advisor using the My Mitsubishi Connect app. They’ll work directly with the police to track the vehicle. The first two years for this service are free, and then the subscription fee is $99 per year.
Nissan: Vehicles equipped with NissanConnect Services have the potential to engage the Stolen Vehicle Locator. A police report number is required, but in the event your vehicle is stolen, contact NissanConnect Services and they will work directly with the police to recover the vehicle. To take advantage of the vehicle locator, owners will need to enroll in the NissanConnect Services Premium Package, which is free for 6 months, then will cost $8 per month for the next three years. After three years, it will cost $19.99 per month.
Porsche: As long as your vehicle has Porsche Connect, vehicle tracking is available as a part of the Car Security Package. In the event your vehicle is stolen without you present, Porsche will notify you via phone call and then work with the authorities to recover the vehicle. If you are carjacked, you can contact Porsche directly via the Porsche Connect app, who will then work with the police to recover the vehicle. While Porsche Connect comes with a one-year trial, the Car Security Package will cost $230 per year. This feature is available on all current models minus the Macan.
Toyota: Toyota has a Stolen Vehicle Locator as a part of its Safety Connect services. After the police report is filed, the 24/7 response center can help the police locate the vehicle using GPS technology. A lot of the newer Toyotas include this as feature as a one- or three-year trial, and at the end of the trial it’s an $80 per year subscription fee. Safety Connect is available on the 2017-2019 4Runner, 2017-2019 Avalon, 2017-2019 Highlander, 2017-2019 Land Cruiser, 2017-2019 Prius, 2017-2019 Sienna, 2017-2019 Mirai, 2017-2019 Prius Prime, 2018-2019 Camry, 2019 CH-R and 2019 Corolla Hatchback.
Volkswagen: The Volkswagen Car-Net Security & Service offers features such as boundary alerts, last parked location and stolen vehicle location assistance. The latter is only available in conjunction with law enforcement after a police report has been filed. Car-Net is available on all 2018 and 2019 Volkswagens, but it is trim dependent. After the initial 6-month trial period, the Security & Services will cost $199 per year or $17.99 per month. You can also pre-pay for two years at $378 or three years at $540.
Volvo: Volvo also has a system to find stolen vehicles, and all it requires is a call to Volvo Customer Care (800-550-5658) and a police report number. That will give Volvo the authority to release your vehicle’s location to the police. Best part: It’s free. All current vehicles are equipped with the difficult-to-disable tracking beacon. While this is technically a part of the Volvo OnCall subscription-based service, Volvo Spokesperson Jim Nichols confirmed that they will activate this service for any Volvo customer who calls. OnCall is standard in all vehicles starting with the 2015.5 model year.
The Bottom Line:
Virtually every automaker offers some form of stolen vehicle locator on newer models, and most offer trials of varying length. But they are all different, and you really need to pay attention to the fine print. For example, Honda offers a 3-month trial whereas Hyundai offers a 3-year trial.
Pricing also varies from manufacturer to manufacturer – and in the case of Volvo and Ford, stolen vehicle tracking is free. But for the rest, you’ll pay anywhere from $80 to $230 per year.
If you decide to keep this feature, make sure your subscription stays up to date, and if there is a number to call in the event your vehicle is stolen, make sure it’s pre-programmed into your phone for immediate reporting. For good measure, store the number in the phone of a friend, family member or significant other -- just in case your phone is stolen with the car.
Adding any subscription-based feature is kind of like insuring your iPhone. You hope you’ll never have to cash in on the insurance, but that one time you do makes every penny you’ve ever spent worthwhile.