The OBD-II is perfect for an easy install or swapping between fleet vehicles

GPS tracking is an important tool for effective fleet management. While some GPS solutions require professional installation, others are far more user friendly. Smartrak’s OBD-II is a perfect example of a simple, plug-and-play solution that can easily expand the understanding of how your fleet is performing. But installation is only part of the story. Read on to learn when swapping an OBD-II between vehicles could be advantageous and how easy it is to do.

Expanding your fleet’s tracking footprint (filling in the gaps)

One scenario that could require a Fleet Manager to install or swap an OBD-II is when you’re expanding your fleet’s tracking footprint.

Organisations sometimes stagger the rollout of telematics devices. This might be for budgetary reasons, or because there are scheduling conflicts with certain vehicles. First, they’ll install GPS tracking in the vehicles with the highest priority. Once they have captured preliminary data, they then elect to roll out tracking in order to fill in the gaps.

The OBD-II is a fantastic way to quickly fill in those gaps. Fleet Managers can simply locate the OBD-II port that is found on most modern vehicles and plug the device in. Once installed, they simply need to let us know that the devices have been installed, and register them in Smartrak.


Another scenario where swapping GPS devices is important is when you’re de-fleeting. Many organisations lease their vehicles rather than purchase them outright. As a result, the fleet rotates through new vehicles as each one reaches a particular milage. When that happens, the Fleet Manager would be required to transition the GPS solution over to the new vehicle.

An organisation may also have gone through the process of using OBD-IIs to track vehicle utilisation. If the data demonstrated that the organisation has excess vehicles, they may choose to de-fleet some vehicles. When considering the cost of vehicle acquisition and maintenance, using a device such as an OBD-II to reduce fleet size could be a worthwhile investment. At this point, the OBD-II has served its purpose and can be retired.

In both these scenarios, the OBD-II provides the flexibility to shift tracking between vehicles as needed.

Staggered fleet tracking

The final scenario is where an organisation chooses to undertake a program of staggering the tracking of their fleet. This might occur when an organisation has a large fleet and wants to gain insights around utilisation but doesn’t want to invest in hundreds of telematics devices. So instead, they might choose to install OBD-II devices in a portion of their fleet, then rotate slowly across the entire fleet over a period of months. The plug-and-play nature of the OBD-II makes running staggered fleet tracking a snap.

While this is certainly a valid method, it’s worth pointing out that when undertaking staggered fleet tracking, you’ll never gain the whole picture. Because you’re constantly shifting which vehicles are being tracked, you lose any ability to maintain a baseline in your data. You might capture a trip that is actually an outlier that throws out your data completely. Alternatively, you could miss important trip data because tracking was removed before it occurred. In both cases, your data won’t be a 100% representation of fleet utilisation.


As you can see, there are multiple reasons Fleet Managers might need to install or swap OBD-II devices throughout their fleet. They can expand your current tracking footprint, make de-fleeting simple and pain-free, or provide a way to stagger the tracking of sections of your fleet. Talk to us today about how the OBD-II can help complement your current fleet tracking solution.

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