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Understanding And Using Garmin Lock, And Other GPS Sat Nav Security Measures

Keep Your GPS (and Personal Data) Safe, Secure and Away From B*#%$rd Thieves!

Garmin Lock"Dastardly Dave here, scourge of multi-story car-parks and motorway service stations. I love stealing GPS Sat Nav's. They're easy to shift down the pub, and people even leave them stuck on the dashboard or hidden in the glove compartment!"

"All I do is look for that tell-tale mark left by the mount on the windscreen, then smash a window or force the door, and I've got a lovely little earner!"

"I shouldn't really be telling you this, but recently me and my mates have got into an even more lucrative line. Most of these new Sat Navs have the punters home address in it - so after we've nicked it, we just see where they live. If the cars in a Railway Station car-park we know they might not be home for quite a while, so we go round and do their house over too! How cool is that! We really like tourists - people on holiday, we know we can get home before they do, - we've got a Sat Nav - so we go and grab all we can before they get back!"

"Some more expensive GPS even have all their phone numbers in - we can phone the house to make sure no -ones gonna be there! So you see GPS Sat Nav's are a real boon to us low life's, it makes it so easy to make A LOT of cash! See ya at the petrol station! (Actually you won't - I'll be hiding round the corner waiting for you to leave your car unlocked while you pay, then I'll have your Sat Nav and probably brief case too!) Cheers!"

We need to secure our GPS Sat Navs, not only because of the expense of replacing them, but there's also damage to your vehicle, and the danger that private data could fall into the wrong hands. Would you leave £200 cash lying on your dashboard or in your glove compartment while you went in to pay for petrol, or just "popped in" to see a friend? Thought not, so lets look at what we can do to keep our GPS Safe.


Garmin Lock

If you've go a Garmin, it will probable have Garmin Lock, a which adds a PIN code to the start-up of your device, every time you switch it on you'll have to enter the code.

Before you activate it though, it's important to understand how it works.

Garmin lock 2

Garmin lock consists of two parts - the PIN number itself, and your Safe or Secure Location.

When you set it up, you have to enter your PIN of choice twice (please don't use your bank card one...) and then you have to take your Garmin outside to set the Security Location.

The Security Location enables you to access the GPS without entering the PIN - in case you forget it.

Choose somewhere with a good view of the sky that you have easy access to. Public spaces are best just in case you move house / build an extension, etc, but make it memorable.

This is really important because if you forget your PIN and Secure Location the only way to change both is by sending it back to Garmin! (They'll want to see proof of purchase - have you still got yours?)

Nuvi setting secure location

This may seem a little draconian, but if everybody used the Garmin Lock thieves would pretty soon realise that nicking a Garmin was a waste of time and move on to other makes and models.

To activate Garmin lock, have your PIN in mind and be at your Secure location. Go to the settings menu, then security, enable Garmin lock, then follow the instructions.

Your Garmin is now secure, well done!

What we now need to talk about is the other, basic actions you can take to make sure your GPS Sat Nav doesn't get nicked.

Always take your device with you when you leave your vehicle, even if only for a few seconds. Thieves are watching and will pounce to make an opportunistic grab. Get a case to protect it for when you do have it in your pocket.

Always remove or hide the Windscreen Mount and charger lead. Stick them in the glove box if you must.

Always wipe away the "Sucker Mark" left by the windscreen mount, it's a dead give-away, you don't want to come back to your car to find a window smashed or door forced open.

Always keep your proof of purchase and record the model / serial numbers of your Sat Nav just in case it does get stolen.

Never enter your full home Postal Address in "Favourites" / "Home Location". Enter just the town - when you get that close (hopefully) you'll know where you are...

Remember how expensive your Sat Nav is.... treat it like a bundle of cash and you'll never get it stolen. (Unless you get mugged, but lets not think about that...)

Comments / Questions:

Purchased my new Garmin 250W here in Ontario.
To se-up for the first time, what do I do to enter my PIN and home location for the first time?
We are moving to Alberta end of this month to a new addresss and we are driving there, using my GPS for the first time. never used one before!

Press the spanner, settings, security, and the button next to "garmin lock". You'll probably have to go outside to set the secure location.


Once you get to your new home, reset the PIN and secure location to your new address.

Have a lovely time in Alberta! (Only been to Hakifax, Nova Scotia myself, a few years ago).

How many attempts do you get at the PIN before it locks you out and you have to return to your secure location?  I would hate to be far from home, mis enter the PIN and be locked out until I returned home? Steven.

I don't think there is a limit.

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