My Garmin GPS Won't Turn On

Your Garmin GPS device can be a powerful tool when you’re driving through uncharted territory, but the device won’t be much help if you can’t get it to power on. In most cases a hard reset can resolve whatever software problem the device is experiencing, but some Garmin units shipped with a known issue that prevents them from booting after a software update. Clearing out software bugs will allow your device to boot cleanly.

Gps auto navigator device
Clean out software bugs to troubleshoot your GPS.
credit: LuckyBusiness/iStock/Getty Images

Perform a Hard Reset (Nuvi 30, 40, or 50 Series)

Step

Disconnect your Garmin GPS device from its power source.

Step

Press and hold the lower right-hand corner of the touchscreen. Turn on the GPS device while keeping your finger on the display.

Step

Wait for the “Erase all data?” prompt. Select “Yes.”

Step

Follow the onscreen prompts when your device reboots. This should clear any software issues preventing a boot.

Fix the Software (Nuvi 30, 40, or 50 Series)

Step

Download and install Garmin’s USB driver for Windows (link in Resources). There is a known issue with the Nuvi 30, 40, and 50 series that may cause a failure to boot.

Step

Download the Recovery Application and appropriate recovery file for your specific Garmin device (link in Resources). Save these items somewhere convenient.

Step

Drag and drop the RGN file on top of the Updater.exe portion of the Recovery Application. This will launch the Recovery Application with the appropriate repair files.

Step

Touch and hold the upper left-hand corner of the Garmin touchscreen. Connect the Garmin device to your computer with a mini USB cable while still touching the corner of the screen.

Step

Locate your device in the Recovery Application. It should be listed in the “USB Device” drop-down menu.

Step

Click the button next to “USB Device” and then click “OK.” Release your finger from the touchscreen.

Step

Wait while the Nuvi updates its software. Select “No” if prompted to install old software.

Step

Disconnect the Garmin device from your computer. Reconnect it to your vehicle and it should power on correctly.