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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?

The Laws

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.

Adhesive Disc

Garmin Adhesive DiscThere 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.

Vent Mounts

MountGuys Garmin MountA 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

Garmin Bean Bag MountA 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.

User Feedback

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.

21 Responses

  1. Has anyone found a good way to mount your Nuvi in your vehicle? I’m looking for something more permanent than the suction mount.

    I’ve tried the adapter from ProClip and had nothing but problems with it and the mounts from Ram are so clunky.

    My buddy talked to Pro.Fit International at CES and apparently they have something coming out called the G3. It’s not an adapter, it’s some kind of mount. They told him that it would be really small and would attach with the ball of the Nuvi.

    I called Pro.Fit and it seems as though they are trying to keep things hush hush.

    Does anybody know more about what Pro.Fit has going on? Is there anything else out there that works well with the Nuvi?

    Michael Corwin - January 23rd, 2008
  2. I almost bought a bean-bag mount, but didn’t like how it may look on my dashboard. I ended up getting a “jelly sticky pad” from Handstand for about $7 and it works well (leaves no residue). I don’t know how long the Nuvi will stay fixed on the pad, since I remove it nightly, but it works perfectly throughout the day.

    dsrussell - January 24th, 2008
  3. We got a bean-bag mount for Christmas and I was pretty skeptical at first, but we’ve come to appreciate it. It’s nice because you can just take it off and put it on the floor or in the back when you leave the car. This avoids advertising there’s a GPS in the car by leaving a mount. Plus, it’s just a lot easier to transfer from car to car, when you only have one GPS and two cars like we do. All-in-all, we’re happy with it.

    bb823 - January 24th, 2008
  4. I went back to see if there was anything new on the Pro-fit site. Seems they have a new mount on the site that looks pretty unique. Interesting G3 pics in the photo gallery. I have seen the bean bag – mini toilet seat and can’t stomach the juvenile look. Has anyone seen the G3 or used it yet?

    Michael Corwin - March 6th, 2008
  5. California vehicle code 26708(a)is a pure BS law. Then why don’t legislatures in Kali4nia ban hanging objects on rear view mirror and using cellphone while driving? Stupid people make stupid laws in stupid places.

    Jimmy - April 27th, 2008
    • Jimmy: California DOES ban anything hanging from rear view mirrors, as well as using cell phones for talking OR texting, AS WELL AS anything mounted to the windshield. I work for a local Sheriff’s Department.

      Jim - March 6th, 2009
  6. The simplest way of all to mount your Garmin nuvi on a BMW is to just stick the antenna into the vent itself! Works fine for me for the past year. The Garmin nuvi is light enough that the mount for the antenna can easily handle the cantilever load.

    Try it! Look Ma … no mount needed!

    Sharon - May 24th, 2008
  7. I should point out that a bill was introduced last week in the California Senate specifically to make it legal to mount GPS navigation units on the windshield.

    Of course they tell you exactly where you can mount it (in the passenger-side corner for example), indicating just how idiotic the California government is after all.

    Source: PDF File Senate Bill 1567 (California State Legislature, 5/15/2008)

    Sharon - May 24th, 2008
  8. People have tried ash tray and glove compartment to fit gps. Google about it.

    neo - October 10th, 2008
  9. Please tell me what states are illegal to have a gps device. I meam a list of all the states and an up to date one. Thank you very much for your time .


    Christopher - March 3rd, 2009
  10. California Vehicle Code Section 26708 says essentially, “No person shall drive a motor vehicle with any object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied upon the windshield or side or rear windows.” But then, under (b) it says “This section does not apply to any of the following:” ******* “(12) a portable Global Positioning System (GPS), which may be mounted in a 7-inch square in the lower corner or the windshield farthest removed from the driver, or in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver, if the system is usedonly for door-to-door navigation while the motor vehicle is being operated and outside of an airbag deployment zone.” —- Al (I’m a Civilian Volunteer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept.)

    Alan Price - March 12th, 2009
  11. “…if the system is usedonly for door-to-door navigation while the motor vehicle is being operated….”

    What does this mean?

    Grady - August 27th, 2009
  12. Maryland law states:
    § 22-404. Windshields must be unobstructed and equipped with wipers.

    (a) Signs, posters, etc.- A person may not drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, or other nontransparent material on the front windshield or sidewings of the vehicle other than a certificate or other paper either required to be so displayed by law or authorized by the Administrator.

    BUT – at least 75% of the cars I see have one attached (including mine) so I don’t think enforcement is high.

    Brian - September 7th, 2009
  13. May I have comments on where is best location on a car windshield to position a GPS unit with a suction cup.Thanks

    Canute - November 19th, 2009
  14. Wondering if this information is still valid…
    This article is dated Jan. 23, 2008. The most recent MN drivers manual is dated Aug. 2008. In chapter 2, page 28 it references the laws regarding windshield obstructions. A specific sentence states, “Global positioning and other navigation systems may be mounted or located near the bottommost portion of the windshield.” It sounds like a GPS can now be legally mounted on the windshield in MN. Does anyone know this to be true…I would hate to test the thought and be rewarded with a ticket:)

    Kandi - January 6th, 2010
  15. New Jersey Statute Section 39:3-74 states that “No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, sticker or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield [other than an inspection sticker]…. No person shall drive any vehicle so constructed, equipped or loaded as to unduly interfere with the driver’s vision to the front and to the sides.”

    Jon - April 8th, 2010
    • My son was warned yesterday in New Jersey about having a GPS on his winshield claiming it was obstructing his view. The unit was placed in the lower left window (drivers side), as low as possible where the only thing it was blocking was his view of the inspection sticker. The suction cup was attached just above the inspection sticker so I guess that was the problem. This is the first I ever heard this being an issue in New Jersey but knew about CA and MN (which CA apparently allows it to be placed exactly where he had it. I guess it’s time to find a mounting bracket system.

      Irv - October 5th, 2010
      • Odd — My EZ Pass is attached to my windshield. The toll booths are located on the NJ side of the Hudson River, the Garden State Parkway, etc.

        Lipe Eliezer - November 24th, 2010
  16. Regarding the Kallyfornia law:

    I just read it and Alan on post 10 is correct. It is allowed. However, on a hot day my Nuvi falls down. I just put some early morning spit on it and that did the trick! Gross, just kidding, happy motoring.

    Tim - May 19th, 2010
  17. Is there a list for every state as to where you can LEGALLY place your GPS system. I travel through several states and have been stopped because it was not in the exact proper place. How is a guy suppost to know!!

    Roy - December 3rd, 2010
  18. I may be well out of date but I seem to recall a prohibition on having a tv screen fitted in a motor vehicle in a position that allows it to be seen by the driver. ( U K road traffic law). Is this still in existence and does it apply to GPS screens?

    Jim - December 19th, 2010

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