How To Update The Maps On Your Sat-Nav

Updated October 2020


All new Garmin automotive sat-navs (car, motorcycle, truck and camper van) come with free map updates for the life time of the device (often this can be 5+ years if they are well looked after).

1. I have an older sat-nav, all I want is to update my Ireland & UK maps.

Unfortunately Garmin no longer offer Ireland & UK map updates via either microSD or as a download from their website, therefore your only option is to purchase a new device.  I recommend the Garmin Drive 52 MT-S Ire/UK.  While it is a basic unit, it has free lifetime map updates and also supports Eircodes.  Details of the unit can be found here:

Garmin Drive 52 MT-S Ireland & UK

Garmin Drive 52 MT-S Ireland & UK with Eircodes

Add Garmin Drive 52 MT-S Ireland & UK to cart
This is a straightforward 5" sat nav with lifetime Ireland & UK maps, dual-orientation display, driver alerts, million of points of interest, compatible with BC30 reversing camera.

There is also an equivalent model that comes with full European maps.  Details are here, Garmin Drive 52 MT-S Full Europe.

2. My sat-nav comes with free lifetime map updates

If your sat-nav has a 'LM' designation, for example, the nuvi 2415LM or nuvi 2597LM then your device comes with free lifetime map updates.  For newer devices, purchased since 2019, the 'LM' designation has been dropped altogether as lifetime map updates is now a standard option.

You update the maps on your sat-nav using Garmin Express which you download from Garmin's website and install on your PC or Mac.

Once downloaded and installed, the update process is relatively straightforward. You connect your sat-nav to your PC or Mac using the USB cable that came in the box. If you have lost the Garmin supplied USB cable you can either get a replacement or you can just try a standard USB cable from another device which will normally work.

After the sat-nav is connect up, Garmin Express will automatically detect your sat-nav, so follow the on-screen instructions. Selecting the default options is the safest.

If all goes to plan, not only will the latest maps for your sat-nav be installed but also the latest device software, Bluetooth updates, voice updates and so on. At the end of the process your sat-nav will be right up to date.

There are a few things to keep in mind.

a.  Register your sat-nav by entering your email address when requested to do so.

b.  I recommend that you only use Express if you have a good and reliable broadband connection as some of the maps files are very large and take several hours to download from Garmin.

c.  During the update procedure and depending on your device, you may be asked to disconnent your sat-nav from your PC and reboot it (turning it back on). This step is the installation of the latest software (not the maps) for your device. It is important to let this procedure complete - don't be tempted to switch on/off your device even if it looks like nothing is happening. The software update procedure can take several minutes to complete so be patient.

d.  It is advisable not to update your sat-nav if the battery is flat, make sure it is charged.

e.  Your sat-nav may not have sufficient space for the map update. In this case you can either select a smaller region that will fit on your device or you can insert a micro/SD card into your sat-nav to hold the maps. I recommend a 4 GB Class 4 micro/SD card for this.

f.  Always make sure you have the latest version of Garmin Express installed before updating your sat-nav. You can check this by clicking the 'cog' icon, top right hand side of the Garmin Express window and clicking on the link in the 'About Garmin Express' panel.

g.  Now the bad news. Unfortunately, Garmin Express does not always work. Sometimes it has trouble recognising the devices that are connected to it. In these cases, even though your device comes with lifetime maps, no matter how many times you connect your sat-nav to Garmin Express it informs you that can purchase a map update. If this happens, you will need to contact Garmin through their online support centre, Garmin Support Centre to have the problem resolved.

3. I want to add different maps to my sat-nav

Again, this is done through Garmin Express. The only difference is that you have to purchase the map from Garmin's website first and then use Express to apply the update.

Map purchases like this are only single updates. They do not come with free lifetime map updates.

4. Can I update my nüvi 3xx / nüvi 6xx series?

For very old devices I recommend that you replace the device rather than updating the maps on it.  There has been major improvements in GPS technology and mapping options over the years and there is plenty of choice for every budget to choose from.

The older devices often no longer have the physical capacity to store the latest ever-expanding map data which means replacement in any case.

5. Would mySatNav update my maps for me?

In the past this was a service we did offer.  Nowadays, with Garmin Express, the improved reliability of the devices and increased broadband speeds, map updates is really an easy to use self-service.  If you are stuck, of course, we can help out but you should find that you will not need our assistance.

6. Who should I contact if I have problems using Garmin Express?

Submit an online query to Garmin's Support Centre.  Garmin no longer offer telephone support.