It’s amazing to think that, as you’re driving along, your little Sat Nav is beaming down signals from space to work out exactly where you are. A helpful network of Global Positioning Satellites send out signals that let your device work out the best possible route, constantly updating the information based on any turns you take. But your Sat Nav can feel as useful as a rock when it can’t detect and lock on to GPS. Here’s how to get it out of the stone age and back to the space age.

The Knowhow

It will take your Sat Nav longer to detect a signal from the satellites if:

  • It hasn’t been used in a long time
  • You restart it in a different location to where it was last turned off
  • You are inside

You will receive a better signal when in a location not surrounded by tall buildings or trees.

Your Sat Nav will be able to lock onto the signal much faster when your car is parked as it has to perform fewer calculations when stationary.

The device may acquire an initial GPS lock faster outside the car. Once it knows where you are, you can move it into the usual position without it losing signal and start your journey.

If the device doesn’t lock onto a signal within five to ten minutes, restart it and try again.

Speeding up signal location:

Your Sat Nav has a database of where it expects the Global Positioning Satellites to be at certain dates and times.  Over time this can become inaccurate if the database isn’t updated.

Updating the software on your Sat Nav will help it to perform better. For full details consult the user manual.

The first time you use the device after the update it may take longer than usual to detect a signal. This is because your Sat Nav will be rebuilding its updated database of satellites; it will work faster in future.

Additional Aerials:

If your device cannot acquire a signal when mounted on the windscreen, this may be because your car has Heat Reflective Shielding on the glass. This can block GPS signals from reaching your device, so you may need to purchase an additional aerial. The Knowhow team in store will be able to tell you what you need if you take your Sat Nav in.


Updated On:

Nov 21, 2011

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