Updating a Garmin GPS?

I have a unit that’s about five years old. The maps in it are quite outdated. What’s the best option for getting them updated? I don’t think I can find the instruction manual or the cables for it anymore.

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10 Responses to Updating a Garmin GPS?

  1. Rick says:

    We bought a used Garmin NUVI for 20.00, then got the lifetime updater software for 100.00. It saved us about $30.00 over a new unit. If you, like us, are counting your dimes and saving your nickels, then it is worth the savings. If you are not going to miss $30.00 go ahead and buy a new unit.

  2. Adam says:

    You just need to connect it to your computer. The unit will point you to the right direction. My Garmin has a pretty standard mini b to type a USB cable available at any big box store.

  3. Tango says:

    What model number do you have? Older Garmins don’t use USB, newer ones do, so this is important. For example, my $100 eTrex Legend connects via COMM port, which I do not use, and is fairly outdated… but for what I use it for it’s fine so I don’t care.

  4. lyford says:

    Garmin’s website should be your first stop for updates. The operating system updates are free, but maps tend to be expensive.

  5. Ike says:

    Set aside some time to get this done, I have two relatively new Garmins and spent most of a day getting them updated. Once set up, it is automatic, be patient. The updates are free with the newer systems, you may have a fee. http://www.garmin.com

  6. Chris says:

    With the cost of updates being ~$75+, it is almost not worth doing and just going to get a new unit. Keep in mind that your 5 year old unit is likely at or near the end of its useful battery life.

  7. Mr Galt says:

    I agree with Chris. You can purchase a new unit WITH lifetime updates at a Costco or similar cheapo establishment for not much more than the update package for the old unit. Plus, rechargeable battery life is not great on these.

  8. BLAMMO says:

    I have a Nuvi 1490 LMT (lifetime updates and traffic reports, which only works when it’s on vehicle power, not on battery). It’s easy to use, has one of the largest screen available and the flexibility to drill down into some of the geek features. I didn’t really consider updates important when I bought because the roads don’t move around very much. But it is easier to find restaurants and such than most web-based smart phone services and it directs you right to your selection.

    Even if you’re not entitled to free map updates, you should be entitled to firmware updates to the device. You may have to register.


    Their updating software is free. They have several programs and it took me a while to figure out Garmin Express is their newest and most comprehensive, so download that. Don’t bother with their “web updater” or browser plug-in (Garmin Communicator). Also try to download Base Camp – it’s for managing and creating routes on you computer, then uploading/downloading to/from the device.

    • BLAMMO says:

      BTW, I assume it takes a standard USB Mini B cable, which you should be able to get almost anywhere.

  9. Tattered Remnant says:

    If your model is current enough for map updates, do not overlook Amazon for competitive pricing. When I did mine, lifetime updates were significantly less than direct from Garmin.

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