Garmin Recalls 1.3 Million GPS Devices For Fire Hazard

So you’re driving down the highway, looking for the exit that will lead to the secluded cabin where you and your long-lost twin have arranged to meet for the first time. The turn-by-turn directions intoned by your Garmin Nuvi are a welcome threshold to cling to as anxiety churns through your stomach. Then, there it is, the offramp, its emerald sign throbbing gently as your headlights pass over it. Relief washes through your veins, just as your GPS unit explodes into a ball of flames, instantly turning you and everything inside your car to ash!

Nothing like that has been reported in the 1.2 million Garmin Nuvi devices recalled for battery overheating that increases the risk of fire hazard affecting model numbers 200W, 250W, 260W, 7xx and 7xxt where xx is a two digit number, but man, if it did, what a story that would be.

Garmin Recalls 1.3 Million GPS Units [WSJ]


Edit Your Comment

  1. alana0j says:

    Ahh crap now I need to go check the model number on my Garmin…

    • energynotsaved says:

      Just what I was thinking…. and I have to leave tomorrow, fly to the middle of not here and drive past no where…..

      • pgh9fan1 says:

        I was thinking that too. But, I just replaced my old Garmin Nuvi with a new one because the old one crapped out. I hope the old one is recalled. That’d be sweet!

        • alana0j says:

          I just bought mine a few months back before taking a trip to Dallas, as my Magellan decided to quit working. Mine is the 205W though :)

  2. Beeker26 says:

    Not all units with those model #s are affected. You have to go to and enter your serial number. Thankfully my 200W wasn’t on the list.

  3. NightSteel says:

    I have a 760. Not affected (unfortunately, I would’ve been happy for a reconditioned unit, heh).

  4. Angus99 says:

    Great story! I’m not sure about the highway sign “throbbing gently” in the car lights, though.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Your car burning up is karma telling you to stay far away from your long-lost, evil twin.

      • Angus99 says:

        I don’t know if Ben’s married, but the “throbbing” remark made me think the commenters need to get together and fix him up for a couple of hot blind dates. :)

  5. Working for the man, he pays well. says:

    I really expected a cat in this story…

  6. etz says:

    My Nuvi doesnt hold a charge very well. I hope my serial number is on the list!

    • cheri0627 says:

      I’m in the same boat with it not holding a charge. If it’s not connected, mine lasts maybe 20 minutes.

    • tbax929 says:

      My Street Pilot doesn’t hold a charge, either. Maybe it’s a common problem with Garmins.

    • Razor512 says:

      Internal/ non user replaceable batteries suck. the battery only handles around 400-500 charge cycles at best before failing. during that time the capacity will drop slightly with every charge.

    • Jay911 says:

      I have several nuvis (family and multiple vehicles and all) and it appears none of the ones I’ve checked so far are recalled. My 660 does have a battery problem like you describe, though. The culprit, as far as I’m concerned, is the fact that my car shuts off DC power to the cigarette lighter plug whenever the ignition is turned off. So every time you start the car, the GPS goes through another charging cycle. If you stop 5 times in a trip… 5 times it starts charging again.

      Coupled with the horrendous crashing issues on my 1490T, I would probably look elsewhere if there was a worthwhile option. But even with all their woes, IMO Garmin is still the best consumer grade GPS out there.

  7. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    This is going to get some people fired up…

  8. PBallRaven says:

    They’re gonna have to wait until after my Florida vacation on Labor Day. I’ll take the risk of flaming death. Maybe then I can get a map that shows the road to where my house is, which has been there for over 5 years and is shown on Google maps, but Garmins newest maps still don’t have it….

  9. Murph1908 says:

    Interviewing for a writer’s position at Woot, Ben?

  10. Murph1908 says:

    Dammit. Who set the GPS on Overload. They should be set to stun only unless otherwise ordered by the captain, first officer, security chief, or the ranking officer on the away team.

  11. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    YIPE! Glad I got an offbrand O_o

  12. JonBoy470 says:

    I’ve always wondered why they bother putting Li-ION batteries in GPS’s. They come with a cigarette lighter cord, that is (presumably) always plugged in. When do you run it off the battery? They could just use a AAA battery or a coin cell to keep the clock going when it’s unpowered; the GPS receiver can acquire signal much more quickly if it already knows what time it is.

    Seems like this would lower cost, avoid flaming batteries and have no effect on the average user…

    • tbax929 says:

      My car only has one outlet convenient to the driver’s seat, so when I have to charge my cell phone I leave my Garmin unplugged and run it off of the battery.

      • Shadowfax says:

        It also significantly speeds satellite acquisition as the battery will hold in memory the last-detected positions. Otherwise it has to start from scratch and can take a minute or more to acquire.

    • Rhizobium says:

      I think some people like to use a GPS as a hand-held device (i.e., when walking) on occasion, in addition to regular use when driving.

  13. xspook says:

    Phew…got me a 265WT

  14. InsomniacZombie says:

    Great. Now I have to go use a map when I want to get somewhere? Like, back in the 90s? WTF?

  15. evfaithful says:

    The Garmin Nuvis should also be recalled for giving inaccurate directions! I can’t tell you how many times this GPS told me to basically drive off a cliff when driving down very narrow roads in the Alps. Not cool. The device also lost signal all the time while driving around the German/Swiss border in a beautiful summer day. Was the sky too clear? Were we too high up, you know, too close to the satellites?

  16. Donathius says:

    Yay! Mine is safe…for now…

  17. DeadPlasmaCell says:

    My 770 is on the list. Filled out the RMA form and waiting for the email with the shipping label attached. 10-14 day for the return according to them.

  18. ITDEFX says:

    My gps (760) is not on the recall list, but gets extremely hot while in use.

  19. HogwartsProfessor says:

    My bf has a tom-tom. He’ll hear about this and say “HA!”

    • Posthaus says:

      I thought of the same since both my sister and parents have Nuvi’s, and I bought a Magellan. Har-har.. :P

  20. Razor512 says:

    It is good to have a GPS that can keep you warm in the winter :)

  21. critters says:

    This reads like a Bulwer Lytton submission (a pretty good one). I’d probably make the twins Siamese twins, perhaps throw in a few more throbbings, pulsatings, etc. Of course, it always pays to have the protagonist say, or better yet, think, something pithy/outrageous before exploding into ash.

    Off the top of my head:
    “Oh, well. At least it’s a rental.”
    “Did I leave the iron on?”
    “I just now realized Aunt Delores has some disgusting nose hair going on.”
    “I wonder if my long lost twin enjoys headcheese as much as I do.”

  22. dg says:

    “Unit overheating and about to explode. Recalculating… Turn left at Fire Department. Recalcul…..”