/ Motoring, Technology

Driven mad by paying for regular sat nav map updates?

Would you rather pay once for a sat nav with lifetime map updates, buy a sat nav and then pay for regular map updates, or buy a new cheap model every couple of years?

Many models in Garmin’s latest sat nav range come with a lifetime of map and traffic updates. This is indicated by the ‘LMT’ at the end of the name, like the Nüvi 2455LMT. Models with ‘LT’ at the end come with a subscription to lifetime traffic updates and not maps, and there are versions without free lifetime updates too.

Garmin is unique in offering lifetime updates. Its nearest rival, TomTom, doesn’t offer them, but it does offer a 90-day ‘latest map guarantee’ so you can download the latest map within three months of purchase.

Still, premium sat navs which include update and service subscriptions don’t come cheap. And though many of us consider our gadgets an investment, many of us replace our sat navs every couple of years and often it’s just because we want the latest maps (and features).

The lifespan of sat navs

My colleague Rob Hull has talked about the expense of updates to sat navs built into cars before, but should standalone sat navs be regarded as a short-term investment only? Should we really accept that they have a limited life span?

I ask because a map update can cost anything from around 25% to a whopping 75% of the price you pay for the sat nav itself.

TomTom’s cheapest new sat nav is around £100 with UK and Ireland mapping, or £120 with European mapping. Its premium model costs around £270, but it comes with TomTom’s Live Services, such as traffic and speed camera warnings.

But once you start adding maps and services you might find your cheaper £100 sat nav is no longer the bargain you thought it was. A yearly subscription to TomTom’s Map Update Service will cost you £74.95. And that’s just the maps – you’ll have to pay £47.50 if you want to add a year’s subscription to its Live Services.

Is it worth paying 75% of the price you paid for a cheap model to update the maps? If you were willing to pay £25 more you could get a new model including the latest maps, features and a new warranty! What’s more, you can sell your previous sat nav to recoup some of the cost.

Do you pay for sat nav updates?

Of course, not everyone updates their maps – indeed, you may find you can get yourself from A to B without a regular update. And while some sat navs include a feature to share and download map corrections, it’s only useful if you know about and use it regularly. Still, out of date sat navs can get you lost. So, if you drive a lot, it’s a good idea to check your route before you go – but should you really have to when you’ve bought into the convenience of a sat nav?

Do you mind having to pay for sat nav map updates? Or should manufacturers stop charging (or at least make them more affordable)?

What do you think about paying for sat nav map updates?

It’s wrong – all sat navs should come with free lifetime map updates (57%, 307 Votes)

I'm not sure - it depends on how expensive the updates are (23%, 121 Votes)

I can get by without sat nav updates anyway (18%, 94 Votes)

It’s fine – I don’t mind paying for map updates (3%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 546

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After looking at the Toyota price for map and speed camera updates around £200 I thing the Garmin and TomTom sat navs with lifetime updates are a bargain. Of course those that don’t include it are an expensive option, but the maps get updates every quarter or so, unlike car OEM units which on my car were yearly and already out of date.