How To Reset a Garmin PIN

by Fred Decker
    Protect your GPS from theft with a PIN and store it out of sight when you're parked.

    Protect your GPS from theft with a PIN and store it out of sight when you're parked.

    BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

    Handheld GPS devices are widely used personal electronics. Even drivers with an excellent sense of direction can benefit from a GPS' ability to calculate the optimal route from A to B, or its database of millions of businesses and points of interest. Unfortunately, their versatility and portability also make GPS devices a common target for theft. You can protect your Garmin by locking it with a PIN and, like any other password, it should be reset periodically for additional security.

    Setting Your Initial PIN

    The process for setting your PIN is similar in most Garmin devices, though with some slight variance in the menu options. On the nuvi 300 and 600 series and some other models, you'd tap "Settings," then "System" and "Garmin Lock." On most other models, you'd tap "Tools," then "Settings," then either "System" or "Security," then "Garmin Lock." Follow the onscreen prompts to set up a four-digit PIN to secure the device. You'll also be prompted to set a security location. This is a "Plan B" in case you forget your PIN. It's a location, such as your home, that's easy for you to find but difficult for a thief. When you're at your security location the device will start up without locking.

    Resetting Your PIN

    To reset your PIN, turn on your Garmin GPS device. It will start up and take you to a PIN entry keypad screen. Enter your current PIN to unlock the device. If you enter the wrong PIN, unplug the unit from power and turn it off. Restart it and enter the correct PIN from the startup screen. Once it's unlocked, you can return to the Garmin Lock screen by following the same steps you used to set it initially. From this screen you can turn off Garmin Lock or reset your PIN to a new combination of digits.

    Using the Security Location

    If you've forgotten your PIN number, or have written it down and put it in a "safe" place that turned out to be safe even from you, you can still unlock your device. Turn off its power and return to your security location. Once you're there, turn the device back on. It will boot to its normal home screen, rather than the PIN-protected login screen. Follow the same steps to reach the Garmin Lock screen and enter in a new PIN. Memorize your new PIN or keep it in a secure place.

    Garmin Support

    In a worst-case scenario, you might find that you've lost or forgotten your PIN and don't have a security location set up. In that case, you'll need to return the unit to Garmin for unlocking. If you're registered with Garmin as the owner of record for that device, call or email their support team for shipping instructions. If you didn't bother to register the device, you'll need to send a photocopy of the sales receipt to demonstrate that you're the device's legal owner.

    About the Author

    Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer who has written and blogged on food-related topics since 2007. Previously he sold computers, insurance and mutual funds. Decker was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images