Where Should I Place My GPS Device In My Car For The Best Reception?

Are you tired of your GPS signal dropping out when you need it the most? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we will explore the best location in your car to place your GPS device for optimal reception. Get ready to regain your sense of direction and never miss a turn again!

Factors Affecting GPS Reception

Signal Interference

One of the primary factors that can affect GPS reception is signal interference. GPS signals can be disrupted or weakened by other electronic devices, such as mobile phones, radios, or even power lines. It is important to minimize the presence of these devices in close proximity to your GPS device to ensure a strong and reliable signal.


Obstructions, such as tall buildings, dense foliage, or large structures like bridges, can block or weaken GPS signals. When planning your GPS device placement, it is essential to consider any potential obstructions that could interfere with the reception. The more clear and unobstructed view the device has of the sky, the better the reception will be.

Location of GPS Antenna

The location of the GPS antenna plays a crucial role in determining the reception quality. Typically, GPS devices have their antenna built-in, and it is located inside the device itself. Some devices might have an external antenna option, in which case, placing the antenna in a location with an unobstructed view of the sky can enhance reception.

Position of GPS Receiver

The position of the GPS receiver inside your car can also impact the reception. Placing the receiver in a way that maximizes its exposure to satellite signals is crucial. Certain areas of the car might have better signal reception than others, so it is recommended to experiment with different positions to find the optimal one.

Type of GPS Device

Different types of GPS devices can have varying signal reception capabilities. High-quality, dedicated GPS devices typically offer better reception compared to smartphone GPS applications, as they have specialized hardware and software for GPS navigation. If you require consistently good reception, investing in a dedicated GPS device might be worth considering.

Ideal Locations for GPS Device


The dashboard is a popular location for placing a GPS device due to its easy accessibility and visibility. By mounting the device on the dashboard, you can keep your eyes on the road while still being able to glance at the GPS instructions conveniently. However, depending on the specific car model, the dashboard may sometimes obstruct the GPS signals if it interferes with the line of sight to the satellites.


Mounting the GPS device on the windshield near the driver’s line of sight is another common placement option. Many GPS mounts are designed to attach to the windshield, providing a clear view of the device and the road ahead. It is essential to position the GPS device in a way that does not block the driver’s view or distract them while driving.

Rearview Mirror

Some GPS devices can be mounted on the rearview mirror, providing a compact and discreet placement option. This location allows for easy visibility without obstructing the driver’s view. However, it is crucial to ensure that the GPS device does not block any essential information displayed on the rearview mirror, such as sensor indicators or rear-facing cameras.


Mounting the GPS device on the roof of your car can provide an unobstructed view of the sky, maximizing signal reception. This option is particularly useful for vehicles with large roof spaces, such as vans or SUVs. However, it is important to choose a secure mounting solution that ensures the device remains firmly in place, especially during bumpy rides or strong winds.

Glove Box

If you prefer a more discreet placement for your GPS device, the glove box can be an option to consider. This location keeps the device hidden from view and minimizes distractions. However, it is important to note that the reception may be weaker inside the glove box due to the obstruction of signals by the car’s body, potentially resulting in less accurate navigation.

Placement Tips for Best Reception

Keep GPS Device Away from Metal

As GPS signals are radio waves, they can be affected by metal interference. It is best to keep your GPS device away from metal objects, such as keys, coins, or other electronic devices, to ensure optimal reception. Placing the device on a non-metal surface or using a magnetic mount on a non-metal area can help reduce any potential interference.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Exposure to direct sunlight for prolonged periods can negatively impact the performance of a GPS device. It can cause the device to overheat, leading to poor reception or even potential damage. Whenever possible, park your car in shaded areas or use sunshades to protect the GPS device from direct sunlight.

Remove Obstructions

To optimize reception, ensure that there are no obstructions between the GPS device and the sky. Clear any objects, such as hanging accessories, dashboard mats, or air fresheners, that could obstruct the signals. By keeping the surrounding area of the GPS device clear, you can improve the consistency and accuracy of the navigation.

Avoid Windshield Tinting

Tinted windshields can interfere with GPS signals, reducing their strength or blocking them entirely. If your car has a heavily tinted windshield, it is advisable to avoid mounting the GPS device directly onto it. Instead, consider alternative placement options, such as the dashboard or rearview mirror, where the reception is not compromised by window tinting.

Minimize Cable Length

The length of the cable connecting your GPS device to the power source or the antenna can affect the reception. Longer cables can introduce signal loss, leading to weaker or less accurate navigation. Whenever possible, choose the shortest cable length that allows for optimal device placement without compromising the reception.

Experimenting with Placement

Trial and Error Method

Finding the ideal placement for your GPS device may require some trial and error. Mount the device in different locations within your car and test the reception quality and accuracy during various driving conditions. By experimenting, you can identify the placement that consistently provides the best reception and suits your personal preferences.

Using Signal Strength Indicator

Many GPS devices have a signal strength indicator that can help you determine the quality of the reception. The signal strength indicator usually displays the number of satellites the device is currently connected to, with a higher number indicating better reception. Utilize this feature to assess how different placements affect the signal strength and make adjustments accordingly.

Repositioning the GPS Device

If you encounter poor GPS reception or find that the device obstructs your view while driving, do not hesitate to reposition it. By exploring different locations and angles, you can find a suitable placement that maximizes reception while ensuring your safety on the road. Remember to consider the factors discussed earlier, such as obstructions and metal interference, when repositioning the device.

Key Points to Remember

Signal Quality vs. Signal Strength

While signal strength plays a significant role in GPS reception, signal quality is equally important. Even with a strong signal, certain factors like interference or obstructions can affect the quality of the received signals, leading to less accurate navigation. Therefore, it is essential to consider both signal strength and quality when evaluating the reception of your GPS device.

Personal Preference and Convenience

Apart from reception considerations, personal preferences and convenience should also factor into the placement decision. Choose a location that allows for easy accessibility and visibility without distracting you while driving. Balancing reception quality with personal comfort can help ensure a positive GPS navigation experience.

Legal Considerations

When placing your GPS device, it is crucial to comply with local traffic laws and regulations. Some jurisdictions restrict the placement of devices on windshields or other specific areas that might obstruct the driver’s view. Familiarize yourself with the local laws and adhere to them to ensure a safe and legal usage of your GPS device.

Regular Maintenance

To maintain optimal GPS reception, regularly check and clean the device and its mounting area. Dust, dirt, or other debris can accumulate over time and potentially affect the signal reception. Additionally, ensure that the GPS device is securely mounted to prevent it from falling or shifting during the journey, which could interfere with reception and become a distraction.

In conclusion, placing your GPS device strategically in your car can significantly enhance the reception and accuracy of the navigation. Consider factors such as signal interference, obstructions, the location of the GPS antenna, and the position of the GPS receiver when determining the ideal placement. Experiment with different locations, utilize the signal strength indicator, and reposition the device as needed to find the optimal position. Remember to balance reception quality with personal preferences and legal considerations. By following these tips and maintaining your GPS device regularly, you can ensure a smooth and reliable navigation experience while driving.