How to Get a Free Garmin Map Update

By Robert Kingsley

Current maps can keep you from losing your way.
i Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Global positioning system units – such as the Garmin unit you keep in your car – can make driving to unknown locations as simple as cruising your own neighborhood. The unit determines your exact position using GPS satellites and compares your location to its stored maps to determine points of interests around you – whether roads, restaurants or rivers. With accurate maps, the unit will provide concise instructions to reach your destination, but if its maps are out of date, it could send you the wrong way down a one-way street, use inefficient routes or call for a turn where none exists. Garmin gives you the chance to download a free map update with the purchase of a new unit to ensure accurate instructions and proper performance of your new device.

Step 1

Connect your Garmin GPS to your computer using the USB cable provided with the device.

Step 2

Use a Web browser to visit Garmin's Find Map Updates page (see link in Resources).

Step 3

Select "Automotive" and click "Download Map Updater." Save the file to your desktop. If the download button does not appear, your device is not eligible for free updates.

Step 4

Double-click the downloaded file to install the Garmin Map Updater on your computer. You may need to update your Microsoft .NET Framework before you continue. The application provides the necessary information if this is required.

Step 5

Click "Search for device" when the application is installed. When your device is recognized, read the disclaimer and click "Continue."

Step 6

Click "Continue" if the application prompts you with "A free map update is available!," "nüMaps Lifetime update is available!" or "A map update is available!" If you see the prompt "Your maps are up to date," then no update is required. If you see "A map update is available for purchase," then your device is not eligible for a free update.

Step 7

Click "Continue" when prompted with "Ready to update your maps." If your device lacks the storage space required to install the update, you'll be guided through removing pictures and music to make room.

Step 8

Leave the device plugged in while the update downloads and installs. It can take multiple hours to finish.