Thing connected to car interior

I was in the car of a relative a few nights ago and noticed some lights dangling in the floorboard on the driver’s side. She said that it had been there since the car was recently serviced. It is a black box approximately the size and shape of a cigarette lighter. At one end are a red and a green LED, both of which are on when the car is running. This side has “this side down” on it. The other side has a couple of bar code labels. There are no other features. It is attached to the car dash underside by several wires and there doesn’t seem to be a “quick release” connection for a plug-in diagnostic device. Car is just a few years old, but I don’t know what make/model. WTF is this?

A picture would be helpful.

Something like this? It could be a code scanner, when you brought your car in for service was it for a Check Engine light or some other problem?

I’d bet it’s something like that. Those are really, really easy to leave in a car by accident. So much so that I know some mechanics don’t minded the corded scan tools because they can’t leave it in a customer’s car.
OTOH, the OP mentioned it not having an OBDII connector. Also, the do have power when the car is off (IIRC), so I’d think the lights would still be on.

If the car had any kind of fancy interior footwell lights, something with that could have been knocked loose.

I’m not sure if we could really know for sure unless we see a picture or someone follows the wires to see where they go.

Does the car have any aftermarket parts (alarm? radio? anything at all?)?

Sounds kind of like the Progressive Snapshot, although they do have Progressive molded in. Or a LoJack transmitter.


As I mentioned, it isn’t my car, I just noticed it in some else’s.

I did some googling with the description, and found that is something more creepy–a GPS tracker. Don’t know if she knows that the car has one or not.

Where? I sure don’t see it mentioned. And any car just a few years old does have an OBDII port.

Actually, they don’t.

Hmm. Maybe somebody (spouse?) Is tracking your friend’s car, technician found it, and left it hanging out to be “discovered”. GPS trackers need a wired in power source to last a long time.

I think you and I read this differently…when the OP said “there doesn’t seem to be a “quick release” connection for a plug-in diagnostic device”, I took that to mean the device didn’t have an OBDII connector, not that the car didn’t.

All the cars I regularly play with do (currently a 2000 Chevy van, 98 gm pickup and a 2018 Honda). While there’s not a whole lot you can do with the key not in the ignition, the scanner I just checked does recognize that it’s been plugged in. I’ll have to try my other scanner, that one has a light on the dongle that should light up when it’s communicating (or trying to). But, off the top of my head, I’m fairly sure it goes to sleep after not too long. Trying to find it in the dark is kind of a pain.

And, double checking, Pin 16 to Pin 4 is battery+ to ground. Checking with my multimeter, Pin 16 to ground shows 12v.

Does she own the car or is it a lease?

I think you’re supposed to remove it and put it in the Russian mobster’s car.

My daughter bought a car from a buy here, pay here place. She found something similar to the OP under her dash. It was a locator device put there by the dealer. It has a stern “DO NOT REMOVE” warning sticker attached. I removed it and left it on a bench in my garage. 3 days later a guy was knocking at my door and asked my wife about it. She knew nothing about it and told the guy that. He made some threats such as he has the right to enter my home and look for his property. A threat to call the police got the guy to leave. She called me at work and I told here about it.

A few weeks later the dealer repossessed my daughter’s car because of the missing device. By then the device was on a train heading to Eastern Oregon, that’s where my county sends it’s trash. My daughter got her car back after paying $100 for the missing tracking device.

You’re right. I had my head up…something…when I posted that. :frowning:

No big deal. Everything I know about cars is self taught, so I’m often wrong about things. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but my new scan tool beeps when it’s plugged in and I recalled one of the youtube guys I watch mentioning that one of the pins is B+.