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Last updated: 30 May 2024

Thatcham S5 Tracker: Everything You Need To Know

  • With a success rate of over 96% in recovering stolen vehicles, S5 trackers significantly enhance vehicle recovery chances. Insurance companies often require these trackers for high-value vehicles, potentially saving premiums.
  • Installing an S5 tracker requires professional expertise due to its complex integration with the vehicle's systems. Accredited installers ensure the device meets Thatcham's stringent security standards, ensuring its effectiveness and reliability.
  • Thatcham-approved trackers meet strict security standards, ensuring reliable tracking and recovery.

S5 trackers are advanced vehicle tracking devices offering top-tier security features such as real-time tracking, geofencing, and remote immobilisation to protect against theft. They provide 24/7 monitoring and Automatic Driver Recognition (ADR), significantly improving theft prevention and recovery chances.

Thatcham Research developed the S5 category with stringent security standards after extensive collaboration with automotive manufacturers, law enforcement, and insurance companies. The S5 Plus model enhances these features with jamming detection and more robust immobilisation.

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S5 trackers: features and scope

S5 trackers are the latest innovation in vehicle tracking technology, offering top-tier security features designed to protect vehicles from theft and unauthorised use. These trackers include:

  • Real-time tracking: Provides live updates on the vehicle's location, enabling immediate action if the vehicle is stolen.
  • Geofencing: Alerts owners if the vehicle leaves a predefined area.
  • Remote immobilisation: Allows the vehicle to be disabled remotely in case of theft.

You should consider an S5 tracker for your vehicle because it provides the most advanced level of security available, significantly boosting the chances of recovering your vehicle if it gets stolen. Here's why:

  • 24/7 monitoring: Offers continuous surveillance of your vehicle's location.
  • Automatic Driver Recognition (ADR): Immediately notifies you if the vehicle is moved without the authorised driver's key fob, effectively preventing keyless car theft and relay attacks.
  • High recovery rates: Data shows that S5 trackers have over a 96% success rate in recovering stolen vehicles.

Thatcham's research programme

After extensive research and development, Thatcham Research, a leading vehicle security and safety organisation, introduced the S5 category. The program aimed to address evolving vehicle theft tactics and improve tracking technology to counter these methods.

Thatcham collaborated with automotive manufacturers, law enforcement, and insurance companies to ensure the trackers met stringent security standards. Thatcham-approved vehicle trackers meet the rigorous standards of Thatcham Research for vehicle security. These standards ensure the vehicle tracker provides reliable and effective tracking and recovery solutions.

S5 Plus category

The S5 Plus category is an enhanced version of the standard S5 tracker. It includes all the features of the S5 but offers additional benefits such as:

  • Jamming detection: Alerts when there is an attempt to block the tracker signal.
  • Enhanced immobilisation: More robust methods to remotely disable the vehicle.

These enhancements make the S5 Plus tracker even more secure and reliable.

S5 tracker installation: how to approach it

Installing an S5 tracker is more complex than installing a standard car tracker due to the advanced security features and requirements. Here are the key differences:

  • Driver identification: S5 trackers require integration with the vehicle's electronic systems to enable driver identification features, which are not typically required for standard trackers.
  • Remote immobilisation: This feature requires a connection to the vehicle's immobiliser system, requiring more intricate wiring and setup than standard trackers.
  • Professional standards: S5 trackers must meet stringent security standards set by Thatcham, ensuring that the installation process adheres to these high requirements for effectiveness and reliability.

Options for installing an S5 tracker

  • Accredited installers: The most reliable option is to use Thatcham-approved installers. These professionals are trained to install S5 trackers according to Thatcham's strict standards, ensuring the device functions correctly and securely. You can find these installers through the tracker manufacturer's website or Thatcham's directory of approved installers.
  • Local mechanics: Some local mechanics may offer installation services for S5 trackers. It is crucial to ensure that the mechanic is experienced with S5 trackers and understands the specific requirements for integrating your vehicle’s systems.
  • DIY installation: While technically possible, DIY installation of an S5 tracker is not recommended due to the complexity and need for precise integration with the vehicle’s electronic and immobiliser systems. Improper installation could result in the tracker not functioning correctly, compromising vehicle security.

While standard car trackers can often be installed with basic tools and limited technical knowledge, S5 tracker installation requires professional expertise to ensure all advanced security features are correctly integrated and operational. The best approach is to use accredited installers for the highest level of security and compliance with Thatcham standards.

S7 Thatcham tracker vs S5

S5 Trackers and S7 Trackers are categories of Thatcham-approved vehicle tracking devices, but they differ significantly in their features and security capabilities.

Driver identification

The S5 tracker includes driver identification technology, which ensures that only authorised individuals can start and operate the vehicle. This feature is critical in preventing theft through key cloning or relay attacks.

Meanwhile, the S7 tracker does not typically include driver identification. This makes it less secure against certain types of theft where the thief can bypass the key fob system.

Remote immobilisation

Regarding remote immobilisation, the S5 tracker allows for the vehicle to be remotely disabled if it is stolen, adding an extra layer of security and control.

On the other hand, the S7 tracker generally does not include remote immobilisation, meaning it cannot prevent a stolen vehicle from being driven away once it has been taken.

Monitoring and alerts

Let’s consider monitoring and alerts, and highlight the differences between the two trackers below. The S5 tracker provides 24/7 monitoring with immediate alerts to any unauthorised movement or tampering. This constant vigilance ensures rapid response to potential theft.

Meanwhile, the S7 tracker offers real-time tracking and motion detection; however, the level of monitoring and responsiveness may not be as comprehensive as that of the S5 tracker. 

Compliance and certification

  • S5 Tracker: Meets higher security standards set by Thatcham and is often required by insurers for high-value vehicles and fleets.
  • S7 Tracker: Meets basic tracking requirements but may not fulfil all the stringent criteria for top-tier insurance policies.

Why is S5 considered the most reliable?

The S5 tracker is considered the most reliable option for several reasons:

  • Comprehensive security: With features like driver identification and remote immobilisation, S5 trackers provide robust protection against various types of vehicle theft.
  • Higher recovery rates: The advanced features and continuous monitoring associated with S5 trackers significantly increase the chances of recovering stolen vehicles quickly.
  • Insurance requirements: Many insurance companies mandate the installation of S5 trackers for high-value vehicles due to their superior security features and proven effectiveness in theft prevention and recovery.
  • Advanced technology: S5 trackers incorporate the latest tracking and security technologies, ensuring they remain effective against vehicle thieves' evolving tactics.

Overall, while both S5 and S7 trackers provide valuable tracking services, the S5 tracker offers higher security and reliability, making it the preferred choice for maximum vehicle protection.

Why a Thatcham-approved tracker?

Thatcham Research was established in 1969 to reduce claims through research into vehicle safety and repair. Over the decades, Thatcham has expanded its focus to include vehicle security, becoming a pivotal force in developing and implementing standards for vehicle tracking and recovery systems.

Milestones in Thatcham's evolution

  1. In the 1970s, Thatcham developed methods to reduce vehicle repair costs and times, encouraging more repair-friendly vehicle designs that indirectly enhanced vehicle security.
  2. In the 1980s, Thatcham started accrediting vehicle security products like alarms and immobilisers and introduced security ratings to inform consumers about their effectiveness.
  3. 1990s: In response to rising vehicle theft, Thatcham implemented rigorous testing and certification for vehicle security products, focusing on electronic security systems and early vehicle trackers.
  4. 2000s: Thatcham established comprehensive standards for GPS-based vehicle tracking systems, introducing the Thatcham Category 5 (Cat 5) standard with features like driver identification and remote immobilisation.
  5. 2010s: Thatcham introduced Category S5 and S7 trackers, reflecting advancements in tracking technology and addressing threats like keyless entry theft. S5 trackers feature automatic driver recognition and remote immobilisation, while S7 trackers provide basic tracking and motion sensing.
  6. 2020s: Thatcham continues to lead vehicle security, updating standards to incorporate technological advancements. The introduction of S5 Plus trackers, featuring jamming detection and advanced driver recognition, underscores their commitment to high-security standards.

Why Thatcham-approved trackers are reputable

A Thatcham-approved tracker is a trusted choice for vehicle security due to Thatcham's long history of setting high standards, rigorous testing processes, and continuous adaptation to new technological advancements and security threats. Let’s examine each of these in more detail below. 

  • Rigorous testing: Thatcham-approved trackers undergo extensive testing to meet stringent security standards. This thorough process guarantees that the devices effectively prevent theft and aid in vehicle recovery.
  • Insurance benefits: Many insurance companies in the UK require Thatcham-approved trackers for high-value vehicles. These trackers can lower insurance premiums and provide peace of mind to vehicle owners.
  • Technological leadership: Thatcham continually updates its standards to incorporate the latest security technologies, ensuring approved trackers remain effective against evolving theft tactics.
  • Consumer trust: Over the decades, Thatcham has built a reputation for reliability and trustworthiness, making Thatcham approval a mark of quality and security for vehicle tracking systems.

Thatcham trackers and insurance premium

Insurance companies often require Thatcham-approved trackers for high-value vehicles, vehicles in high-risk areas, or commercial fleets to mitigate the risk of theft and enhance the likelihood of recovery.

An insurance-approved vehicle tracker meets stringent security standards, giving insurers confidence in their effectiveness. For example, S5 trackers, which include features like driver identification and remote immobilisation, are commonly required for luxury and high-value vehicles due to their superior security features.

Insurance premium differences


  • Without Thatcham tracker: Higher premiums due to increased theft risk.
  • With Thatcham tracker: Potential savings of 5-15%. For instance, luxury cars with S5 trackers are perceived as lower risk, leading to significant premium reductions.


  • Without Thatcham tracker: Moderate to high premiums, especially in urban areas.
  • With Thatcham tracker: Savings of 10-20%. Vans fitted with S5 trackers are considered less risky, resulting in lower premiums.


  • Without Thatcham tracker: The highest premiums are due to high-value cargo and increased theft risk.
  • With Thatcham tracker: Significant savings of 15-25%. Due to advanced security features, trucks with S5 Plus trackers benefit from reduced insurance costs.

Installing a Thatcham-approved tracker can lead to considerable savings on insurance premiums across various commercial vehicles, making it a worthwhile investment for enhanced security and cost efficiency.

What are the cheapest S5 trackers in the UK?

  1.  SmarTrack S5: The SmarTrack S5 is one of the most affordable S5 trackers in the UK. It includes automatic driver recognition (ADR), live tracking, and remote immobilisation. Known for its reliability and ease of use, it is a popular choice among vehicle owners seeking a cost-effective tracking solution.
  2. Tracker S5 Plus: The Tracker S5 Plus offers comprehensive tracking features at a competitive price. It includes advanced driver recognition, jamming detection, and remote immobilisation. Noted for its high recovery rates and robust security features, it contributes to significant insurance savings.
  3. Rewire Security CAT S5: The Rewire Security CAT S5 is another budget-friendly option with real-time tracking, ADR, and remote immobilisation features. It balances affordability with comprehensive security features.

Benefits in terms of insurance costs

Installing any of these S5 trackers can lead to considerable insurance premium reductions, typically ranging from 5% to 25%, depending on the vehicle type and its risk profile. Advanced security features, such as ADR and remote immobilisation, significantly reduce theft risk and lower insurance costs.

Choosing an insurance-approved vehicle tracker without a subscription can save you money in the long run, as it eliminates recurring fees while still meeting insurance requirements.

What are the best S5 trackers in the UK?

  1. Tracker S5 Plus: The Tracker S5 Plus is renowned for its advanced security features, including driver recognition, jamming detection, and remote immobilisation. It has high recovery rates and is highly reliable for personal and commercial vehicles, offering significant insurance benefits due to its robust security features.
  2. SmarTrack S5: The SmarTrack S5 is a cost-effective and reliable S5 tracker. It includes automatic driver recognition (ADR), live tracking, and remote immobilisation. It's praised for its user-friendly interface and effectiveness in preventing vehicle theft, making it a great value option.
  3. Rewire Security CAT S5: The Rewire Security CAT S5 offers real-time tracking, ADR, and remote immobilisation at an affordable price. It's known for balancing affordability with comprehensive security features, making it a popular choice among vehicle owners.

Compare multiple quotes

As a UK business owner, it's essential to compare multiple quotes for trackers. Doing so can save you time and money, ensuring you get the best deal and the most suitable product.

With various options available, comparing quotes helps you find the right balance between cost and features, secure better insurance rates, and enhance your vehicle security without overspending.

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