How to Install a Car GPS; DIY vs. Professional Navigation System Installation

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Car navigation systems are one of the hottest new things when it comes to mobile electronics, so it's no wonder that you want to add this great technology to your car or truck. But when it comes to installing a car GPS, you may want to forgo DIY installation in favor of the pros. Here's why.

Always getting lost? Frequently need directions for business or family trips? Want to add the convenience of a navigation system to your car or truck? GPS navigation systems are one of the most popular aftermarket upgrades on the market today, and installing one of these systems in your vehicle is a great way to take your driving experience up a notch. However, you may want to consider hiring a professional to install your new nav system, as these installations can be surprisingly complex. Of course, putting a portable car GPS in your vehicle can be as simple as sticking a suction cup to the windshield. But if you're considering installing an integrated, in-dash navigation system, you might want to think twice before you tackle the job yourself.


When it comes to installing a car navigation GPS, you have to consider how it will look, as well as how it will perform. In most cases, putting in a navigation system involves creating an opening in the dash for the screen, and if not done properly, your new navigation equipment will hardly look its best. From crooked screens to jagged edges to scratched, scraped, and damaged dashes, you'd be amazed at the number of things that can go wrong when you try to put in an in-dash navigation screen all on your own. On the other hand, the installers at your area mobile electronics shop have performed hundreds of similar installations in the past. These professionals can expertly cut the hole for the screen, locating it in the optimal position for easy use, and finish the installation in a smooth, seamless way. When installed by experienced pros, aftermarket car navigation systems can look like they've been there since the day the vehicle rolled off the assembly line!


Of course, looks aren't everything. The whole point of installing a car GPS system is for its navigational assistance and convenience, so you'll also want to make certain it is installed properly for optimal performance. Lose wires, damaged equipment, and other common amateur mistakes can mean that the gyro, compass, speed sensor, or other parts of the system don't function correctly, disabling your GPS (sometimes permanently). At your local car electronics shop, their technicians are trained professionals with a full understanding of the best way to hook up your new navigation system. From securely soldered wires to fully functional components, they can ensure you're able to enjoy every single feature of your new car navigation GPS to its fullest.


Putting in your own in-dash navigation system obviously carries a lower price tag than using the professional installers at your local car audio shop. That's because you're paying just for the equipment, not for the installation labor as well. So if low cost is your primary criterion, you may want to look into do-it-yourself installation. For the best results, though, make sure you're being honest about your car electronics installation skills: If you have some technical knowledge, the correct tools, and the ability to closely follow installation diagrams, you should be able to hook up your new GPS car navigation components properly. On the other hand, if you don't have the expertise or tools, the results may not meet your expectations in terms of aesthetics or performance, so do a quick assessment of whether or not you really are equipped to handle your own navigation system installation <em>before</em> you start to avoid disaster down the line.
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