Garmin GPS nuMaps Lifetime Subscription

Garmin Nuvi 760 GPS
Garmin Nuvi 760 GPS

I’ve had my Garmin nüvi 760 GPS about a year. I love it. My wife accepts it. My kid borrows it. My brother bought one like it.

Read my Garmin nuvi 760 GPS review for my initial impression of the Garmin GPS that’s designed for use in an automobile.

Even a Garmin Nuvi 760 is only as good as its maps

I bought my Nuvi 760 just as the City Navigator North America mapset had come out, so I qualified for a download of the latest and greatest maps as soon as the unit came out of the box.

New GPS maps come out several times a year

That’s why I was interested when I saw a posting in a GPS forum about a new lifetime subscription program from Garmin.

Garmin Mapsource maps usually cost about $75.

Yearly upgrades for Mapsource maps run about $75. Since I have two GPS units (and the maps can’t be used on more than one GPS), that can get expensive.

The Garmin nuMaps Lifetime subscription costs about $100

Garmin nuMaps Lifetime service just a card?

Garmin nuMaps Lifetime subscription cardWhat comes in the mail for your money? A nifty thing that looks like a credit card with incredibly small type on the back telling you how to use it.

At first, I was confused. What am I supposed to do with this thing, hold it up to my computer monitor?

Down at the bottom of the card, on the back of the card, was a small section that looked like it was covered in hieroglyphics (that or funky algebra equations, they both always made about as much sense to me).

Feeling brave – or foolish – I reached for a sharp object

I started scratching at the symbols like you’d do with a scratch-off lottery card.

Suddenly numbers and letters appeared. Numbers and letters that looked suspiciously like stuff that Miss Wright tried to teach me, mostly unsuccessfully, in high school algebra class.

Bing0! My first winning scratch-off

So, what did I win for my $100 entry?

Actually, I won some frustration. The new program had gotten mixed reviews.

  • Some folks complained about how long it took to download the maps.
  • Some folks complained about how long it took to upload the maps to the GPS.
  • Some folks complained about having problems reaching the download site at Garmin.

I have a fast internet connection and I’ve had enough experience with loading GPS units that items one and two weren’t an issue for me.

Connecting with Garmin WAS a problem

When I tried my download, I got a 404 message “The requested resource (/activatenumaps) is not available.”

After trying several times, I sent a message to tech support.

Garmin tech support replied

Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I checked the link today and it is working, I have seen this error when using AOL internet browser. Make sure you are using Internet Explorer.

It WASN’T the browser

When I tried my download, I wasn’t using AOL’s internet browser (what an insult). I had tried Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome. It wasn’t my browser.

Tech support nailed it when they said, “I checked the link today and it is working.” It WAS working today. It just wasn’t working the day I tried it the first time.

How does Garmin nuMap Lifetime work?

To quote Garmin, “Program entitles you to receive up to four map updates per year during the useful life of one compatible Garmin product or as long as Garmin receives map data from its current third party map supplier, whichever is shorter. Not transferable to another person or Garmin Product.”

Here’s the full description.

nuMap Lifetime is a gamble

When I signed up for the subscription, I was gambling that

  • My Nuvi 760 isn’t going to break, get lost or stolen. The subsciption is tied to a single device.
  • I will do more than two upgrades before the bad stuff listed above happens.
  • I won’t get tempted to run out and buy a newer, spiffier GPS in the next few years.

nuMap Lifetime isn’t THAT big a gamble for me

Garmin stuff is pretty rugged and this unit is used in a car, not clamped to my handlebar like my Garmin GPSMap 60CS, which has been jolted for thousands of miles in heat and pouring rain.

In less than two years I’ll have downloaded enough new maps and points of interest to come out ahead financially.

If  I do find another GPS that I just can’t live without, one of my boys (or Wife Lila) will get this one. There ain’t gonna be much in the will, so they better take what they can get when they can get it.

Where can I buy it?

I’ve had good luck buying GPS units, software and mounts from They’re not always the cheapest (their shipping costs add to the price), but their support is good and they have lots of products.

You can also find it on Amazon, probably a little cheaper.

5 Replies to “Garmin GPS nuMaps Lifetime Subscription”

  1. When I bought my original Series2 TiVo in early 2002, I paid $300 for a lifetime subscription instead of the $12 a month for service. All my TiVo had to do was last more than 25 months and I would have made my money back. The unit is still alive with an upgraded hard drive.

    Here it is 2009 and I’m over $700 ahead thanks to the TiVo lifetime subscription.

    Best of all, while TiVo said the lifetime subscription was tied to the physical unit, they have offered a couple times to let you upgrade your unit and keep the subscription.

    Three years ago, I upgraded to a dual-tuner unit (with a self-installed larger hard drive) and they let me move my lifetime subscription. This year, they offered to let me move my lifetime subscription to an HD TiVo Recorder. I’m not ready to upgrade to HD yet and I’m sure that offer will come around again sometime.

    When it comes to quality electronic products — especially those that just sit next to your television — go ahead and get a lifetime subscription.


  2. I’ve had the Garmin nüvi 760 GPS for about a year, I think. It works as advertised, but to be honest I use the GPS in my iPhone more than I do the Garmin. That being said, it’s good to have a backup plan and where there isn’t an AT&T signal, the satellites are always up there peeking down…

  3. SLM,

    I bet Farmer Matt would snatch it up if you made him an attractive enough offer.

    He could promise to let it keep your old Bianchi company when he’s not using it in his car.

  4. Hi,
    you are a great comedy writer.
    Do you have a girlfriend? Seriously, you sound like so much fun and I’m a nurse, ready to retire.
    Let me know. Thanks for the “algebra” line–I think I took algebra about 3,000 times. Maybe less.
    XOXOXO to you!

  5. Miz Lois, Mam,

    If you’re getting to retire as a nurse, better look elsewhere. I’m getting to that stage where I’m going to NEED a fulltime nurse and you wouldn’t want to get hooked up with that.

    Thanks for the girlfriend offer. I’ll have to run it by my wife first. We’re headed for 40 years together (not counting dating) this month.

    If you’ll take over the cooking and cleaning part, in addition to the nursing part, she might be willing to work something out.

    That XOXOXO thing sent algebra shivers down my spine. Cut that out.

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