How to make your car’s navigation device fit for the big trip


Before a long car journey, you should make sure that your vehicle’s navigation system has access to the latest map data. Older models still need to be updated manually using an SD memory card or a USB stick, for example. — dpa

STUTTGART: Going on a summer vacation by car? Then you should update the map data on your car’s navigation system before setting off so that you have the latest information about your route.

Of course that’s only necessary if the car’s been on the road for a few years – more modern cars have a cellular data connection that allows map updates to be downloaded automatically.

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If you’re not sure how to update your vehicle’s navigation system you should check the manual or the manufacturer’s website.

SD card, memory stick or DVD

For cars that aren’t brand-new, but also less than 10 years old, it’s common to use an SD memory card or a USB memory stick for updates.

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And doing it yourself will save you the cost of getting a garage to do it.

If your car is more than 10 years old, map updates are often carried out using DVDs, which can be bought from the dealer – provided that updates are still available for that particular navigation system.

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Whether it’s an SD card or a USB stick, you need to find the right slots or ports to connect them to the system.

Usually, they’re located inside the glove compartment or the centre console. If in doubt, check the manual.

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If the system already has an SD card inserted you should remove that to add the updates, but don’t forget to make a backup copy of the old map file beforehand.

Format it first

The card or USB memory stick must be formatted according to the car manufacturer’s specifications, otherwise the navigation system won’t be able to access the new map data.

As a rule, the latest maps can be downloaded from the car manufacturer’s website. The vehicle type and year of manufacture must be specified.

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To do this, you often need to create a user account. Many car manufacturers provide map updates for free, but some charge for them.

Don’t leave it too late

Depending on the load on the download server and the size of the map file, the download can take several hours. For that reason you shouldn’t leave it until the eve of departure.

Generally the download is a zip file that must be unzipped and copied onto the freshly formatted storage medium, which is then slotted or plugged into the system.

Once you open the navigation system program it should recognise and import the new map data. – dpa

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