Windshield GPS Installations Illegal in Some States
We get this question frequently, so we will drop a few lines here to refer people back to. Currently, there are two sates that prohibit drivers from putting suction cup mounts on their windshield while operating their vehicle– California and Minnesota. Want to find out exactly what the restriction is and what your alternative mounting options are?
In California, you will want to refer to Vehicle Code Section 26708(a) for all of the details. In Minnesota, you will want to refer to Section 169.71 for the details. These outline what you can and cannot mount on your windshield as well as visibility requirements.
There are several different ways you can meet the requirements and still use your GPS device. The lest expensive way is to use one of the commonly included plastic discs. It is simply a round piece of plastic, smooth on the top, and sticky on the bottom. You affix the disc to your dash, and then flip the suction cup over and mount the suction cup to the disc. This simple solution can work in many cases, there is however one major drawback. Often, the sticky side is so sticky that it becomes very difficult to remove without damaging the dash. It can also be a clue to a thief that there might be a GPS hiding somewhere inside the car. Many GPS devices come with this disc in the package.
A second option is a “vent mount”. We’ve been testing several of these recently and have found them to work fairly well. There is a huge range in prices and if you are used to the GPS higher on the dash, training yourself to look further down can take a little getting used to. However I’ve found that when the GPS is mounted lower in the car it is less susceptible to a bright glare since the sun has fewer angles to reach the screen. Companies such as MountGuys.com and ProClipUSA.com offer a variety of mounts that work in different locations with different cars and GPS devices. They are sometimes more expensive than you might imagine, however they typically work very well. The image to the right is a vent mount from MountGuys.com for the Nuvi.
Bean Bag Mount
A third option is a “bean bag mount”, also known as a “friction mount”. This takes a similar approach to the plastic disc, except instead of affixing it to the dash with adhesive, the bottom has an “anti slip” coating and surrounding the plastic disc is a bean bag which adds weight and prevents the mount from sliding around on your dash. This sounds odd at first and before trying one a couple of years ago I was very skeptical. But they are rock solid and hardly budge. They won’t take 4×4 off road abuse, but they work extremely well for most applications. One word of caution though is for devices that have cords that attach to the bottom of the GPS, without “90°” connectors. Often if the existing mount is short, you might not be able to keep the GPS at an acceptable viewing angle without bumping the cords into the bean bag.
Overall, readers generally have preferred the Bean Bag type mounts for a few reasons. They are often less expensive than the Vent Mount type systems, don’t leave permanent marks on your dash, and are still easy to hide away when you leave your car. However others might prefer the adhesive disc for the simplicity, or the vent mount for a more solid installation with potentially less glare issues.