What It Is
Carlock is an electronic device that connects to your cars OBD2 diagnostic port. It monitors your cars speed, location, power levels, and other control positions, which it then sends back to the CarLock Cloud, allowing you to monitor car positon and driving conditions from afar.
It’s a real-time tracking system that monitors your vehicle and alerts you of suspicious activity even if you are half way around the world! This is all managed through an app on your Android or iOS device.
Who It’s For
Carlock is advertised for a wide range of motorists – for people who want to track if the car is stolen, track their kids driving, monitor the engine, and a bunch of others.
I tested carlock over two weeks of driving in a 2006 BMW 325i, with the carlock plugged into the OBD2 port, and running the Carlock app on my Apple iPhone 7, on AT&T. I drove all around down, did a few commutes, one longer car trip, and a bunch of trips up into the mountain. Additionally, I had a friend drive the car while I monitored via the app from afar.
The packaging Carlock comes in is solid – a small cardboard box, with good packing and protection. Getting started with installing carlock is super easy – once I located the OBD2 port on my car, I simply plugged in carlock, and that was it. Conneting carlock to the app was easy as well. Since carlock uses the cellular network to communicate (not a bluetooth or wifi connection), there’s not manual pairing or anything. Simply give the app the code number for the carlock device, and I was up and running. Once installed, the carlock device is forgotten about quickly – it’s out of the way, unobtrusive, and doesn’t really need to be handed or dealt with again – everything else happens on the app.
The app was easy to use and get started with. My only main issue was that there wasn’t as much info about the carlock cellular connection. Additionally, although it’s advertised as monitoring your engine, really the only car info you get is the battery charge level – good to know, but barely all of the information available from OBD2.
- Setting up Carlock is really easy – the OBD2 port on most cars is easy to locate, and all that’s needed is to plug it in.
- The app pairs up easily and is easy to navigate.
- Despite being located down low in my car, the Carlock still was able to acquire satellite tracking reliably – a feat I didn’t think it would be able to accomplish. Additionally, the cellular connection appeared strong. Tracking was lost when I was deep in the mountains, but all of the data synced as soon as my car was back in the city.
- The piece of mind in knowing I’d get an alert if my car was moved was great. I also like being alerted when I’m driving a bit aggressively.
- The Carlock cloud service makes getting up and running really easy. No manual syncing or managing data – just connect the app and everything is up and running.
- Overall, the system works as described.
- Although the carlock can monitor car battery voltage, I think it would be great to monitor all other engine metrics as well – even though using a cellular connection is not “realtime” for speed monitoring, at least let it send engine data back to the app. (in addition to throttle and brake positions it already does)
- Although it makes things easy, the Carlock cloud shouldn’t be the only syncing option. It would be great if Carlock could be programmed to use a custom server, or write its location to a Google Sheets file, or something similar.
- What else can I do with my data? What about allowing me to connect my carlock account to IFTTT to link with other internet services?
- And of course, there’s no local bluetooth or wifi connection. Since carlock takes up the single OBD2 port in my car, if I’m using it, I can’t have another bluetooth OBD2 dongle plugged in for realtime engine monitoring. If carlock used both cellular for theft prevention and remote tracking, and bluetooth for realtime monitoring, that would be the ideal solution.
Should you buy it?
If you have driving teens and want to track their location and driving habits, then yes, I believe carlock is a really great tool. It’s compact, simple, effective, and gives all the features necessary. However, if you’re looking for full engine monitoring, true antitheft, or to add your car to the “internet of things”, then I’d say keep looking – Carlock has nice features, but not the right combination to make it truly brilliant.
Carlock is a solid performer for its core remote location tracking and driving habits features. If its essential feature is the only thing you’re after, get it.