AndyFracica - 1/15/2004 5:44 AM
According to MB Tele Aid does not require the vehicle to be on in order to track. It can be remotely activated by Tele Aid. Let's say that you don't lock your vehicle, so the system is not active. Let's further say that your vehicle gets stolen in this condition. If you report the vehicle as stolen, Tele Aid can activate the system remotely in stealth mode whether or not the vehicle is on and obtain the GPS location for the vehicle. According to what I read in the owners manual, the Tele Aid system works any where in the country where you have cellular service.
Understanding how TeleAid works was very important to me when I purchased my car because I was concerned about specific types of theft. It's only a few minutes to Mexico from where my car lives and it would be pretty easy to flatbed the car or stick it in a container. I actually think both systems, TeleAid and LoJack, are good. What is important is to have as much correct information as you can to make an informed decision for your situation.
The 2004 SLK brochure was not clear about TeleAid. Now that I have a manual, I remember reading the section you quoted. I started looking into this long before my purchase though. The MBSD dealer verified that the ignition needed to be on for the service to be available. Here is a quote from the terms and conditions for TeleAid (you can find it through the owners section at MBUSA)
2. Service Limitations. The Tele Aid Services are provided by MBUSA, through ATX, using a device and other hardware installed in your vehicle ("Tele Aid Unit") which receives global positioning satellite (GPS) signals and communicates with the response center via wireless and landline communications networks. The availability and use of Tele Aid Services are subject to many limitations, including the following: (a) Services are available only if you have activated your Tele Aid account with ATX; (b) Services are available only if your vehicle ignition is on, and your vehicle battery is charged and connected; (c) Services are available only within the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada, and only if you are within operating range of the designated wireless network; (d) Services may be impaired by land-line and wireless communications problems caused by atmospheric or topographical conditions, busy cells, capacity limitations, equipment problems, equipment maintenance, and other factors and conditions; (e) Services may be affected by inherent limitations of your vehicle's electrical system and architecture, or if any of the components of your vehicle's Tele Aid Unit have been damaged or are defective; (f) Services are not available if the GPS system is not working or the signals are obstructed; (g) A small error built into the GPS system may impair ATX's ability to determine your vehicle's precise location; and (h) Services may be limited to geographic areas where map data and emergency (911) contact information is available in ATX's databases, which may be less than that which is otherwise generally available. Your Tele Aid system uses analog cellular telephone signals. If the wireless carrier terminates or restricts analog service, the Tele Aid Services will not be available.
Based on the terms and conditions and from other threads in this forum, the TeleAid hardware is off when the ignition is off.
The GPS receiver needs information from the GPS satellites to calculate position. This information is only good for about four hours. So if the car is parked longer, it will take several minutes upon start up to be able to calculate position.
GPS performance is degraded by things like urban canyons, being in a narrow valley, trees, etc. It won't work in a container (assuming it is steel all around). Analog cellular is another thing. For us, it is probalby ok, but it is going away. Like with most cellular providers, you probably won't know if you really have service when you roam some place until you are there.
Now, that doesn't mean that TeleAid is not effective or you shouldn't subscribe to it. That is a choice to be made based on your situation. For example, in a car jacking, I would think TeleAid could be more effective than LoJack. Or the car stolen when you run into the house to get something you forgot.
I decided to get the LoJack Early Warning System. If the car is moved without "permission", engine running or not, ignition on or not, I get notified within minutes. If LoJack didn't have that system, then it wouldn't have made sense. If I found out two hours later, it would most likely be too late. The longer the car is gone, the less likely I'd want it found. So once the police activate the LoJack, you do have to hope a police car or helicopter detects your car. If it is in a container, I imagine they'd have to be much closer than normal. Nothing is perfect. Hope I don't have to use it. My insurance company gives a discount for LoJack but not for TeleAid (but they do for On Star).
If you ever do consider LoJack be careful about buying from the dealer. My dealer, who was good about everything else wanted to charge me full retail for the system. They said they would match the price LoJack gave me directly - about $400 less. But I actually had an even better deal. If you can get several people to do the install - don't have to be co-located or anything- you can get a good discount from LoJack directly. In fact, this board could probably do that.
And no, I don't work for LoJack...If you'd like more info on how GPS works, send me e-mail and I can send you some links.