How to Improve Garmin GPS

By Melissa King

Accurate directions depend on a strong GPS signal.
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The Garmin GPS features traffic updates and the ability to look up points of interest, or POIs. Its most important feature, though, is voice-guided navigation to nearly any destination in North America. The Garmin needs a connection to satellites to acquire a signal. When you have a poor signal, GPS navigation will not be accurate. Traffic updates and other location-based services also will not work properly. If your Garmin's signal isn't as strong as you would like, you may be able to improve it.

Step 1

Give your Garmin device at least three to five minutes to find a satellite signal. Your device may take this long to acquire a signal if it's your first time using the device or you just performed an update or a master reset. You might also need to wait longer if you traveled more than 500 miles with the device turned off.

Step 2

Take the Garmin outdoors to acquire a strong signal, because it may be difficult for the device to find a signal indoors.

Step 3

Move the Garmin away from large obstructions, including tall buildings, mountains and large trees. These things can block satellite signals.

Step 4

Test the Garmin device inside and outside of your vehicle. If the device gets a strong signal outside of the vehicle, but receives a weak signal inside, your vehicle may have protective coating on the windows that may be blocking the satellite signals. Attach an external antenna, available from Garmin, to the vehicle roof to improve signal quality.

Step 5

Update your Garmin device if the signal remains poor. Download the WebUpdater application (see Resources) to your computer and connect the device to your computer. Launch WebUpdater and allow it to update the device.