Because I don’t have a teenage daughter or son, plus I’m the only person in my home who can drive a car with a manual transmission, I haven’t much worried about tracking the whereabouts of my vehicle. However, if you’re someone who shares a family car, wants to keep track of where your car is at all times, or maybe you rent out a vehicle through services like Turo, may I introduce you to rDrive.
Powered by LoJack, Pioneer’s rDrive is a small GPS-enabled dongle that plugs directly into your car’s ODB port (On Board Diagnostics). If you have a car made in the last couple of decades, it should have one of these ports, typically located under the dashboard on the driver’s side.
Similar to other fleet and vehicle-managing services, such as Kahu (something a dealership has maybe tried to sell you), rDrive can do all sorts of things from its dedicated app that’s available for both iOS and Android.
With the rDrive app you can track the location of your car, look up trip history, set speed alerts that if crossed a notification is sent to your phone (great for those joyriding teenagers), enable tripwires for when you leave your car somewhere, set geofences for your vehicle, as well as receive instant crash notifications with CrashBoxx should the device detect a collision.
I’ve had rDrive installed in my car for a little under a month now. I had it professionally installed at a Car Toys location here in Portland, though, the installer said a professional install shouldn’t always be necessary. Due to my personal vehicle (2016 Mustang), a special bracket had to be fabricated to ensure the dongle wouldn’t go anywhere. On Pioneer’s website, the company recommends a professional install to ensure everything is installed properly and works well.
I set up a geofence around my neighborhood, just in case, but I think what I appreciate the most is the Car Health feature. Because a lot of cars are more computer than machine these days, having a device connected to the car that is capable of notifying you of issues can save you a headache. Pioneer details that rDrive can detect “hundreds of issues,” but thankfully, I haven’t come across any of them yet.
Ideally, you don’t want to have to need something like rDrive, but I can’t help but think of a friend of mine who has had their Jeep Grand Cherokee stolen twice in the past year. Each time it has happened, they gather a search party to go looking for it. If they had a tracker like this installed on the vehicle, it could potentially spare them the heartache of getting back a car that has been totally massacred on the inside.
Recently when I took a trip and drove to the airport, I set a tripwire on the car. Should the vehicle move from its parking spot, I’d get an alert on my phone and could begin the retrieval process with LoJack and local authorities. Of course, when I got back to my car, I forgot to disable the tripwire and can confirm that you do indeed get a notification should your car get moved. Again, your car being stolen is not a notification you ever want to get, but should it happen, you’ll at least have a better chance of recovering your vehicle in the event of a theft.
After the first year of usage, rDrive does have an additional cost attached to it after the sticker price. The initial cost is $299, then the user will need to renew the contract for any of the following prices.
- To renew for 1 year is $200
- To renew for 2 years is $360
- To renew for 3 years is $480
I previously had Kahu pre-installed on my car from the dealership and I got the first year of usage for free, but then I was notified that I had to renew the subscription. I didn’t need another expense associated with my car, so I declined. However, for someone who needs or wants to keep tabs on their vehicle in a comprehensive way, rDrive could certainly be worth its price.
If you have multiple vehicles, you might be happy to learn that Pioneer is offering a BOGO deal right now until the end of the year. With that deal active, it’s two rDrive devices for $299, which seems like a solid deal.