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Vehicle tracking: stay informed and stay safe

JOHANNESBURG, March 2021 As the national lockdown restrictions ease, and road movement increases, our country’s criminals are returning to action. Incidents of vehicle crime are unfortunately on the rise – Netstar recorded an increase of 13.5% in incidents in February alone – and consumers and businesses with tracking devices should ensure they are getting the best possible protection from the service.

Telematic vehicle-tracking technology has been available in South Africa since 1994 and it is a powerful tool for protecting people, vehicles, and assets. However, there are a few issues for customers to be aware of, so that their devices protect them optimally… 

Test your device

Tracking devices should be checked at regular intervals to ensure they remain in good working order. Most tracking and stolen-vehicle recovery companies offer a device testing service. Visit your supplier’s website for information and call-centre details.

Some tracking companies have tracking unit self-test sites, where you can call a test phone number, quote your PIN, and get an automatic assessment of the health of your device. Service bots are also used, which allow you to select a test certificate from a menu. The same telematics and Internet of Things (IoT) technology that powers vehicle tracking is used to check the effectiveness of installed devices.

Is your device jamming resistant?

Vehicle tracking is often a technology “arms race” to remain one step ahead of the criminals. Recently, car-theft gangs have been using central-locking jamming devices to prevent remotes from locking their owners’ vehicles and arming the car alarm. Other signal jammers sabotage the workings of the vehicle-tracking device itself. Fortunately, some tracking companies have developed measures to combat this.

Some tracking companies use technologies such as radio frequency (RF) methods to continue tracking your vehicle even if jamming devices have been used to interfere with GSM network signals.

It is important that you upgrade your vehicle-tracking device regularly to ensure that it has the latest crime-fighting technology embedded inside it, and keeps you safe from technology-driven crime.

Are your details up to date?

It’s critical that your tracking company is able to contact you, to check if you, your loved ones and your vehicle are safe, or whether you need help. Be sure to update your details with your tracking partner if you change your phone number, your place of residence or any of your other contact details. The same applies to your next of kin and your alternative contacts. The details of the asset in question should also be updated if these change – vehicle colour, registration number, etc.

You can usually contact your tracking company through their call centre, or sometimes even update your details yourself using self-service online platforms.

Can you contact your tracking company?

Are you certain of the name of your tracking company and how to get hold of them? Be sure to save the emergency contact number of your tracking company on your phone so they are reachable at the touch of a button. Visit your tracking company’s website, install their app and/or enable notifications so that you stay up to date with the latest news and updates.

“Protecting vehicles, assets and people is a partnership between tracking companies and their customers,” says Pierre Bruwer, managing director at Netstar, a subsidiary of Altron. “Companies such as ours use the latest technology to protect and connect our customers, but the best results are when users become engaged in the partnership, updating their technology, informing themselves and staying in contact with us.”

Netstar customers can test their tracking devices using the WhatsApp Service Bot on 0860 12 24 36. To have signal-jamming resistance and an early warning theft detection installed, visit For any further Netstar information, visit or click here.

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