My Garmin GPS Won't Turn On

By Todd Bowerman

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.

Things You'll Need

  • Mini USB cable

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

Step 1

Disconnect your Garmin GPS device from its power source.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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 1

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 2

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

Step 3

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 4

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 5

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

Step 6

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

Step 7

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

Step 8

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