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A Reddit user posted a scary question ot the /r/Autos forum. One night she noticed a glowing blue light in her car’s interior. She found a mysterious device attached to a wire under the dashboard. Commenters suspect it was some form of “LoJack” GPS device installed to track her car’s location. Here’s why that’s not always as scary as it sounds.

Many dealerships offer aftermarket LoJack devices. LoJack is just one brand. Whatever the name, this tracker is a GPS-enabled device you can use in case your car gets stolen. Some are easier to find because they are connected to the vehicle’s power supply. These can be preferable because they can also include a “kill switch” you can operate from your phone. They also can connect to your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics and report how well it is running to your cellphone. If so, they will probably be located under the driver’s side dashboard.

Other trackers are battery operated and hidden under a seat, in the trunk, or even beneath the car. The upside of these is that thieves will have trouble finding them and disabling them. Obviously, devices designed to hide from thieves will not have an obvious glowing light. But some battery operated ones light up when the battery is low.

Product photo of a black car tracker GPS device and cellphone app.
Livewire “Volt” GPS Tracker | Brickhouse

I know, it sounds scary that someone might be tracking your car. But for the most part, these devices are installed and registered and it’s easy to get control of yours. Most dealerships will put a sticker on your car’s registration and by the VIN inside the door with the information you need to take control of the aftermarket LoJack installed in your car. So if you bought a used car, you can link its LoJack to your phone for some added security.

A more common issue is when a dealership installs a LoJack on a new car in the showroom, then demands a surcharge after you decide to buy the car. Just know that if the salesperson says there’s no way to uninstall the device, they’re lying to you.

The Redditor who was surprised their vehicle had a LoJack might have bought the car used and never learned about the device. There’s also a slim chance that the vehicle’s lien holder installed it to locate the car in case she stopped making payments. I can’t find anything about how common this practice actually is. But if it does happen to you, it’s a tough one to fight. That’s because the car you’re still paying off technically doesn’t belong to you. So the financeer (dealership or bank) that owns it can technically install what they want.

Next, find out why you want to avoid buying a car with tape on its dashboard, or see a few ways to locate a GPS tracker on your car in the video below: