Garmin Traffic GPS – Everything You Need to Know

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All Garmin traffic GPS are in a group Garmin calls "FM traffic compatible". This means these GPS can accept FM traffic data from an FM traffic receiver and show it on the GPS display. A subgroup of this larger group is titled "FM traffic included" which means that the GPS is sold with an integrated traffic receiver and subscription to the traffic service included in the purchase price.

Now that we have the definitions out of the way, let's clear up one point that may surprise you. None of these Garmin GPS actually have the FM receiver built inside the GPS. The FM receiver is actually built into the cigarette lighter power plug that powers the GPS. The cord that powers the GPS also carries the data from the FM traffic receiver located in the power plug to the GPS.

On all current Garmin units, you can tell if the GPS has FM traffic included in the purchase price if the model number has the letter "T" in the last character position. Example: Garmin Nuvi 1490T.

If you purchase a GPS that includes traffic, you will have an easy time installing it since the GPS and the FM receiver are matched when they arrive together in the box.

If you purchased an FM Traffic compatible unit without the FM receiver (and associated subscription to the traffic service), you will need to do some research if you want to add the traffic service to your GPS.

The best place to find the information you need for this is on the Garmin website. Go to the Garmin home page. You will see a link on the top left of the page, "On the Road". Move your cursor over this link and a drop down box with appear. Click the link "Automotive" in this box. This will bring up a page that lists all the current Garmin automotive GPS models.

On the top left of this page are several links, one of which will be "Traffic Receivers". Click this link and all of the Garmin traffic receivers will be displayed. Note that there are also some satellite receivers shown, but we will not address those in this article.

The basic differences between these traffic receivers are the traffic service that they provide and the type of plug on the cord that plugs into the GPS. To find the FM traffic receiver for your Garmin Traffic GPS, click on the link to a specific receiver (Example: GTM (TM) 25 with lifetime traffic). When the page loads, you will see some tabs across the page toward the bottom of the screen. When you click on the "Products" tab, a page will display all the Garmin GPS that are compatible with the FM traffic receiver.

Check to see if your GPS is included and verify that the FM traffic service covers your area. The traffic service is provided by either Clear Channel Traffic Message Channel or NAVTEQ Traffic. Other subscriptions may be available under the "Accessories" tab (if displayed).

You should now have the information you need to make an intelligent decision about how to add traffic capability to your Garmin traffic GPS.

Good luck and good driving. Steer clear traffic with your Garmin traffic GPS.

See the information source below for more information about using the Garmin and Amazon websites to find the correct FM receiver for your Garmin traffic GPS.

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Source by John VW Howe