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What's the Difference Between an Immobiliser and a Vehicle Tracker

19th February 2024

In the world of vehicle security, there are two key devices to be aware of: immobilisers and vehicle trackers. Both devices are designed to enhance the security of your vehicle, but they work in very different ways. 

We’ll explain the differences between these two devices and help you find the right solution to protect your vehicle against theft. 

What is an immobiliser?

An immobiliser is a security device designed to prevent unauthorised access and theft of your vehicle. It only allows your engine to start if the right key or code is provided, acting as a barrier between potential thieves and your vehicle’s engine. An immobiliser protects your car by making it completely inoperable without the proper authentication. 

How do immobilisers work?

Immobilisers prevent unauthorised people from driving off with your car by controlling the starter motor fuel system and ignition system. Even if the correct car key is used, the car will not start unless the right code is also provided. 

This means that even if the ignition system is ‘hotwired’ or bypassed, the immobiliser will still prevent the car from starting. 

Benefits of immobilisers:

Immobilisers have various benefits including:

  • Effectively deters vehicle theft.

  • Seamlessly integrates into the vehicle’s existing ignition system. 

  • Relatively low cost compared to other security measures. 

  • Can often lead to lower insurance premiums for vehicle owners. 

At Safe & Sound, we stock a fantastic range of immobilisers, including the Autowatch Ghost Immobiliser 2, Shadow Immobiliser and Meta BLE42 Bluetooth Vehicle Immobiliser. 

What is a vehicle tracker?

A vehicle tracker is used to monitor and track the location and movement of a vehicle in real time. Unlike immobilisers, which primarily focus on preventing theft, vehicle trackers provide ongoing visibility into a vehicle’s whereabouts, so police can attempt to recover the vehicle in the event of theft. 

How do vehicle trackers work?

Vehicle trackers use GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to pinpoint the precise location of a vehicle at any given time. These devices are installed discreetly within the car and can transmit location data to a central monitoring system or mobile application. 

Vehicle owners can access this information remotely, allowing them to track their vehicle’s movements and receive alerts in the event of unauthorised use or theft. This information can then be passed on to the police, who can reunite the vehicle with its proper owner. 

Benefits of vehicle trackers:

The key benefits of vehicle trackers are as follows:

  • Real-time monitoring and tracking of vehicle location.

  • Enhanced security through theft detection and recovery capabilities.

  • Improved fleet management and operational efficiency for businesses.

  • Potential insurance discounts for vehicles equipped with tracking devices.

We have an extensive selection of S5 and S7 Thatcham-approved vehicle trackers available for installation across the UK, including the Safe Track S7, Smartrack S5 and Vodafone Protect & Connect S7. 

Key differences between immobilisers and vehicle trackers

Now that we’ve explained the function of each device and delved into their differing benefits, here are the main differences between immobilisers and vehicle trackers. 


Immobilisers prevent unauthorised access to the vehicle’s engine, while vehicle trackers provide location tracking and monitoring. 


Immobilisers target vehicle theft prevention, while vehicle trackers offer both security and asset management functionalities. 


Immobilisers rely on electronic circuits and transponder keys, while vehicle trackers use GPS technology for location tracking. 


In conclusion, both immobilisers and vehicle trackers play vital roles in enhancing vehicle security and management. Immobilisers serve as a first line of defence against theft by preventing unauthorised use of the engine, and trackers monitor your vehicle’s movements and alert you to potential theft. 

Understanding the differences between these two devices allows vehicle owners to make a more informed decision to protect their assets effectively and ensure peace of mind. 

To find out more about the immobilisers and vehicle trackers on offer from Safe & Sound, visit our website or get in touch with a member of the team. 

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