Buying sat nav maps

Buying sat nav maps

by Jack Turner

Keeping sat nav maps up to date can be the difference between getting to your destination in plenty of time, or forever circling a ring road with no exit in sight. We guide you through updating your existing maps for free or buying new maps.

From top of the line sat navs, to free sat nav apps, check our sat navs reviews to find the right model for you.

Updating your maps for free

Most modern sat navs come with free updates out of the box. Look for wording on the packaging such as Free Lifetime Maps. This means that for the lifetime of the device you will always be able to download the latest version without paying anything extra. If you have a sat nav that is a few years old, you'll find that you will have to pay for these updates - with Best Buy sat navs starting at around £80, it may be worth treating yourself to a new model rather than paying to update the old version.

Updating your sat nav with the latest maps is a straight forward process. It's worth knowing that it can be quite time consuming, so it's not something to do 10 minutes before you go on a long journey. Try and do it the day before you need it.

Visit your sat nav manufacturers website and select the option to update your maps. You'll be prompted to download a small software file. Once it's finished downloading, simply open it and follow the instructions, making sure that your sat nav is attached to your computer or laptop with the USB cable supplied.

There's no way to update your sat nav without a PC or laptop. It's worth remembering to update your sat nav every six to twelve months.

Buying maps for an older sat nav

If you don't have a newer sat nav, you'll have to pay to update it. Visit the manufacturer's website and select the option to update your maps. Depending on the brand of your sat nav, you may be offered the opportunity to purchase a newer version of the map as a 'one-off', or upgrade to lifetime maps.

If your sat nav is quite dated, it may be better value just to buy a new sat nav which comes with free lifetime maps.

Buying maps for different countries

Some sat navs will come with worldwide maps. If yours doesn't, and you're planning on travelling to an area that it doesn't cover,  don't despair. You can visit your manufacturer's website and pay to download maps for other territories.

If you are using an app, you can simply download more maps by purchasing them directly from within the app, or via the Play or iTunes store.