Garmin GPS Troubleshooting

By Megan Mattingly-Arthur

Garmin GPS units can help even the most directionally challenged users find their way when traveling. Though Garmin GPS systems are highly rated by users, like most electronic devices they occasionally experience problems. Learn about several common problems reported by Garmin users, along with solutions to help solve them.

Unit Cannot Acquire Satellite Signals

For your Garmin GPS unit to acquire the satellite signals it needs to function properly, the unit must be taken outside, away from mountains, tall buildings and heavy foliage where it can get a clear view of the sky. Keep the unit stationary for several minutes while the GPS unit acquires the necessary satellite signals.

Unit Does Not Charge Properly in Vehicle

Garmin GPS devices can only charge in temperatures between 32 and 113 degrees F. If you attempt to charge your Garmin GPS system in extreme temperatures, it will not hold the charge reliably. If the temperature is not the problem, examine the vehicle power cable for nicks, cuts or other damage.

Unit Does Not Hold a Charge

Leaving your Garmin GPS system on when not in use, as well as having the backlight turned up too high, can cause the battery in the GPS unit to drain prematurely. To avoid problems with your battery, be sure to turn off your Garmin GPS unit when it is not in use. To turn down the backlight on your Garmin GPS, select "Tools" from the unit's main menu, followed by Settings > Display > Brightness. If the problem persists, contact Garmin customer support about its battery replacement program.

Computer Does Not Sense Unit When Connected

Your Garmin GPS unit connects to your computer with the help of a USB cable. On occasion, the Garmin GPS does not register that it has been connected to a computer. To remedy the problem, unplug the USB cable from the computer and turn off the GPS unit. Plug the USB cable into the USB port on your computer, then connect it to your GPS unit. Your Garmin GPS will turn on automatically and go into USB mass storage mode.