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Handheld GPS Car Mounts - What's best for rental cars?


vivona
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When using my Garmin 60CSx in a rental car, I currently use two suction cups spread apart about 18" on the bottom center of the windshield. Drawstrings run from each suction cup to a central point where they join together. One of the drawstrings continues back down the dash to the area where the center AC vents are. There, that cord connects to the belt clip which is holding my GPS. This setup works okay, but I wonder about the other options for non-permanent mounting in a rental car. I did some looking at sites like MountGuys.com and see some other possibilities.

 

I have seen suction cup mounts for a windshield with a 8" gooseneck or just a cradle mount. If that single suction cup comes loose, the GPS will fall. I also understand that a few states may outlaw suction cups on the windshield, particularly if in the line of sight.

 

I have seen cupholder mounts, but it seems that the placement of some cupholders would put the GPS in an awkward location for driver use.

 

I have seen mounts that go into the AC vent. Those seem promising because most rental cars have center vents that would put the GPS right at the place and level to be easy to use and see. I don't know how adaptable these kinds of mounts are to the many different kinds of vent grilles. Also, if you accidentally hit your GPS, how likely is it that you could break the vent grille?

 

So, there are in my mind some pros and cons to these solutions. What is the actual experience you have had with these kinds of mounts?

 

Let's mount a discussion on mounts. :santa:

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The suction cup does represent the most versatile solution. On the negative side, the suction cup type of holder takes up the most packing space. Seems each solution has its pros and cons.

 

How about the vent-mounted holders? Has anybody seen one that has hooks that go into the vent and a connector to fit the belt clip button on the GPS? That would be a real small device which would take up very little packing space. I would be interested in any comments about vent mounted holders. How good? How adaptable to different grilles? etc.

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The suction cup does represent the most versatile solution. On the negative side, the suction cup type of holder takes up the most packing space. Seems each solution has its pros and cons.

 

How about the vent-mounted holders? Has anybody seen one that has hooks that go into the vent and a connector to fit the belt clip button on the GPS? That would be a real small device which would take up very little packing space. I would be interested in any comments about vent mounted holders. How good? How adaptable to different grilles? etc.

 

I am a frequent business traveller and I take my 60CSx with me always. I carry the Garmin suction cup mount. It is easy to stick on, easy to remember to take with, and is light weight. I "unfold" the mount so it is long but thinner and stick it in the end pocket of my carry on. With the new Garmin design, it has not fallen off yet.

 

RAM mounts are also very popular and have a very loyal customer base. There are recent threads on the forum that outline the specific parts you need to buy. For me, the Garmin was just an easier purchase.

 

Windscreen mounts are illegal in California and Minnesota.

 

I have never tried the vent attachments.

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I use a suction cup mount. I've driven rental cars that have vents that simply do not work with a lot of vent mounts (e.g the snazzy circular vents). Sometimes I need to clean the window a bit to make the cup ..well, suck :(

 

Bean bags do look like the best solution for quick n'easy mounting with no marks, but I do often wonder on how stable they are. People swear by them though.

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Windscreen mounts are illegal in California and Minnesota.

 

I live in Minnesota and choose to ignore this law because it is a stupid one. :( It seems to me that a weighted base would be a much more likely and dangerous projectile in the event of a fender bender. The suction mount does not affect visibility any more than my state park sticker.

 

The GPS increases driving safety by freeing me from having to focus so much on road and POI signs.

 

I'll report on the consequences of getting busted with an illegal safety device if and when that happens. :P

 

addendum:

 

Editing after looking up MN statute regarding windshields

 

----------snip-----------

169.71 WINDSHIELD.

Subdivision 1. Prohibitions generally; exceptions. (a) A person shall not drive or operate

any motor vehicle with:

(1) a windshield cracked or discolored to an extent to limit or obstruct proper vision;

(2) any objects suspended between the driver and the windshield, other than sun visors and

rearview mirrors and electronic toll collection devices; or

(3) any sign, poster, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, sidewings,

or side or rear windows of the vehicle, other than a certificate or other paper required to be so

displayed by law or authorized by the state director of the Division of Emergency Management or

the commissioner of public safety.

----------snip-----------

 

Apparently my comparison to the (non-transparent) state park sticker is not valid because according section 3 of the statute that too is illegal. :(

Edited by media601
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Night Stalker uses the Bean Bag Mount. He's had a suction cup mount in the past so if he see's this post he could give the pro's and cons.

 

Personally my favorite method when I had the use of a Vista was to just wedge it between the dash and windshield. The rubber ring around it held it in place nicely. This would probably work with at 76 but not the 60's.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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When going geocaching, I use the Garmin beanbag mount together with a GPSMAP 60C. I use it in a probably somewhat unusual mode, with the holding arm pointing almost parallel to the surface of the dashboard and the GPSr hanging in front of and slightly below the base of the mount (that way it does not obscure the view out of the windshield too much).

 

It's quite stable, however in rare occasions it may move. E.g when driving with high speed on gravel roads it may start to wander due to the vibrations or when I hit a pothole at high speed, it may make a jump and fall off the dash. After I added 1kg of extra lead weights to it, it became more stable, though. I think that the beanbag mount will work perfectly well if you drive on good roads and use it in its normal mode (with the GPSr in the center of the base).

 

When I'm not geocaching I use my Nuvi 350 with the stock windshield suction cup mount. Simple to mount/remove, small and very stable. It's simply the best.

 

When using my Garmin 60CSx in a rental car, I currently use two suction cups spread apart about 18" on the bottom center of the windshield. Drawstrings run from each suction cup to a central point where they join together. One of the drawstrings continues back down the dash to the area where the center AC vents are. There, that cord connects to the belt clip which is holding my GPS. This setup works okay, but I wonder about the other options for non-permanent mounting in a rental car. I did some looking at sites like MountGuys.com and see some other possibilities.

 

I have seen suction cup mounts for a windshield with a 8" gooseneck or just a cradle mount. If that single suction cup comes loose, the GPS will fall. I also understand that a few states may outlaw suction cups on the windshield, particularly if in the line of sight.

 

I have seen cupholder mounts, but it seems that the placement of some cupholders would put the GPS in an awkward location for driver use.

 

I have seen mounts that go into the AC vent. Those seem promising because most rental cars have center vents that would put the GPS right at the place and level to be easy to use and see. I don't know how adaptable these kinds of mounts are to the many different kinds of vent grilles. Also, if you accidentally hit your GPS, how likely is it that you could break the vent grille?

 

So, there are in my mind some pros and cons to these solutions. What is the actual experience you have had with these kinds of mounts?

 

Let's mount a discussion on mounts. :(

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Night Stalker uses the Bean Bag Mount. He's had a suction cup mount in the past so if he see's this post he could give the pro's and cons.

 

Personally my favorite method when I had the use of a Vista was to just wedge it between the dash and windshield. The rubber ring around it held it in place nicely. This would probably work with at 76 but not the 60's.

 

I have a Vista cx and looking for a way to mount it in my Corolla. The wedging between dash and windshield was an option for me and I was even going to use velcro in both places but the velcro won't hold. My son showed me how to wedge it horizontally between the visor and top of car. This seems to work great in our Sienna but I would have to look up at too great an angle in the Corolla. So far I just set it on the dash and the rubber molding seems to hold it ok on smooth roads...or it goes in my shirt pocket and I look when the alarms sound. Another thought I had was to use it on a 'sticky' pad cut to shape on the left side of the steering wheel and try to slant it downward. I like to 'jury rig' things but usually end up spending more time and money than if I had done it right the first time.

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Last night I ordered vent mount for my 60csx from Mountguys.com. This morning I received a email indicating the mount has been shipped.

 

Let us know how the vent mount works out.

 

So far, it seems like my original homemade configuration (two suction cups, drawstrings and drawstring adjusters) still offers a lot of positives for me. It is very small for packing and extremely adaptable to any car. Remember, this topic is for a handheld GPS, so the mounts that are needed for a navagation unit, i.e. beanbag or dash mount, are not as necessary for a handheld.

 

I still would like to hear more about real-world experiences on the vent mounts. When I go Jeeping my homemade mount causes the GPS to jump around too much. A beanbag would end up outside the Jeep. A suction cup mount might work. But the vent mount looks like an possibility. I just don't know how adaptable they are to different vent designs and how likely it would be that you break vent louvers on a rental vehicle.

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Last night I ordered vent mount for my 60csx from Mountguys.com. This morning I received a email indicating the mount has been shipped.

 

Let us know how the vent mount works out.

 

So far, it seems like my original homemade configuration (two suction cups, drawstrings and drawstring adjusters) still offers a lot of positives for me. It is very small for packing and extremely adaptable to any car. Remember, this topic is for a handheld GPS, so the mounts that are needed for a navagation unit, i.e. beanbag or dash mount, are not as necessary for a handheld.

 

I still would like to hear more about real-world experiences on the vent mounts. When I go Jeeping my homemade mount causes the GPS to jump around too much. A beanbag would end up outside the Jeep. A suction cup mount might work. But the vent mount looks like an possibility. I just don't know how adaptable they are to different vent designs and how likely it would be that you break vent louvers on a rental vehicle.

 

I'll write a report on the vent mount when I get it, both in my Merc. Mt'eer and Miata.

 

Nick

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I've been using a vent mount for about two years, including in rental cars. My situation is a bit different, but I'll add some details about my experiences because you might be able to glean something useful and because it seems that vent mounts are the topic you most want to discuss.

 

In my situation, I use the vent mount for my PDA with a bluetooth GPS stored elsewhere in the car, but it wouldn't be much different of a scenario for your GPS. I have an Arkon vent mount with a universal PDA holder (that I've also put my stand-alone GPS into). The vent mount itself has two little hooks to go to the back of the vent louvers and a folding piece at the bottom to rest on the dash immediately below the louvers to hold the mount in place and also hold the vent from being able to go down.

 

I also own a gooseneck suction mount that sits up in the attic now because it fell off the windshield once and I don't trust it, plus it takes up too much packing room. I found that it is reliable if you make sure the windshield is clean and that you have a very good seal, but this is too much fiddling around, I think, especially if you're using it short term like a rental car. Even if I did all that, I don't think I'd trust it while off-roading because the vibration might unlock even a good seal. The gooseneck pushes the weight out quite a ways from the base and puts a good bit of stress on that seal. On the other hand, a stand-alone GPS isn't as heavy as a PDA and I would be far less concerned about my GPS taking a dive to the floor than my PDA.

 

The vent mount fit into my Silverado and Venture like it was made to be put in these vehicles. Perfect fit. It held the PDA pretty steady and didn't give me cause for concern that it would fall off. With regard to off-roading, the part that holds the PDA hooks onto the vent mount by sliding it onto a post. I'd be concerned that it might jump up and off of this post, but I've bumped it around some (you don't even have to leave the roads in Pennsylvania for a jostling experience) and it seemed pretty steady. However, I've never had it very far off road or in very bumpy terrain. Keep in mind that a vent mount has lots of possibility for jumping around too much. The bottom doesn't actually attach to the dash (at least mine doesn't), so it can jump up and down quite a bit because the vent is designed to move up and down and there is nothing holding it from the bottom – just a post that holds the whole thing up.

 

I never had a rental car that the vent mount fit into as well as my personal vehicles. I’ll use a recent experience with an Impala as an example. I could get it to work by hooking onto the back of the louvers like you're supposed to, but I had to turn the lower locking arm all the way down and just rest it against the dash below the vent. Not as steady, but it still sufficed and held it well enough that I could use the touch-screen and all without any worries. I’ve never had a car that I couldn’t make it work, but it hasn’t always been pretty. I’ve also never had a car with those rounded vents mentioned earlier, but I’d guess that you could not make a vent mount work in them.

 

It can be a little tricky removing the vent mounts, but they are designed to be removed and I've never broken any vent louvers. I have been rather impatient at times and demonstrated that the louvers are quite flexible and resistant to breaking. One a few occasions, I had to take the vent mount apart because both posts wouldn't come off at the same time, but that isn't a big deal.

 

I've concluded that none of the mounting solutions are perfect, but the vent mount has worked for me the best.

 

Overall, I'd say that (after that incredibly-long diatribe) you're probably best-off with your homemade configuration. Since you don't mind packing it and it is adaptable, it seems the only drawback is off-road. I don’t think your experience with a vent mount is going to be all that much better unless you have a mount that somehow anchors itself better on the bottom than mine does.

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I have a Garmin 76csx and use a beanbag mount. VERY easy to move from vehicle to vehicle and stable on the dash.

 

The beanbag doesn't move around with spirited driving or a sudden stop?

 

I use the friction mount pictured here with my Garmin i2:

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AKX10...4406401-5129764

 

It's the same principal as the bean bag mount. In fact, I wonder why they have both? It has a rubberized bottom that grips the dash and is weighted to hold it in place.

 

I just received my 60csx last week so I don't have a mount for it. I would like to get a second friction/bean bag mount for it.

 

It is a GREAT mounting solution. I have tried everything I can to shake it loose, but it just won't slide. I have taken sharp, fast turns, made sudden stops, etc, but nothing causes it to move.

 

Of course I imagine it might act differently in different vehicles. My Honda Element has the PERFECT dash for this type of mount because there is a wide flat are dead center of the dash. My Mom's Jeep Liberty barely has a dash, so it might not work there as well.

 

I just got my 60csx last week, so I don't have a mount for it yet. I plan to get a second friction/bean bag mount for it.

Edited by markz68
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I have a Garmin 76csx and use a beanbag mount. VERY easy to move from vehicle to vehicle and stable on the dash.

 

The beanbag doesn't move around with spirited driving or a sudden stop?

Hasn't moved for me and I'm not a "gray haired" driver. I did find the dash in my buddy's Toyota Four Runner too shallow for it this weekend :( .

 

Mine doesn't move either, and I definately not a slow driver.

 

I just pull out the asytray and rest it there.

 

If someone is using it on the passenger side make sure they don't place it, or anything else, on the airbag compartment.

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Since the only real problem I have with my homemade mount is sometimes the GPS swings on turns in a car and sometimes it jumps around when offroading in a Jeep, I am going to try adding a vent mount as a stabilizer. I found a website, TheClip.com, that specializes in belt clips that has a nice vent mount, including videos on how to install one. If you scroll down on the linked page, you will see a GPS mounted using this vent mount. This mount is very small and won't add much to packing space. It is cheap enough to give a try.

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I received my vent clip and it works fine. It can be adjusted to work with either horizontal or vertical louvers. It has feet that steadies the clip against the bottom of the vent.

 

Then, I got to thinking... Since the GPS already came with a belt clip, why not just loop a piece of webbing around a vent louver and clip the belt clip to it? I took a 4" long piece of velcro that has the loops on one side and the hooks on the other and pushed it into the vent, then using a bent piece of wire I grabbed the end and pulled it out so the velcro was looped around a louver. I then pressed the velcro loop and hook sides together to secure it and clipped my GPS belt clip onto the end. Instant vent clip!! It works just fine and costs practically nothing. I can even leave it in place when I take the GPS and belt clip away from the car.

 

I will still keep the plastic vent clip for those times when I need the extra support provided by the feet, but I will probably end up using the velcro solution in most cases.

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Last night I ordered vent mount for my 60csx from Mountguys.com. This morning I received a email indicating the mount has been shipped.

 

 

I'll write a report on the vent mount when I get it, both in my Merc. Mt'eer and Miata.

 

Nick

 

I received the vent mount from Mountguys a few days ago.

 

The first thing I noticed was that the mount didn't hold my 60csx very tight. I was thinking at the first bump or hard turn it would fall out of holder. The problem is, the little arms that hold the GPS dosen't close tight againt the GPS because the 60 is thin.

 

I fixed the problem by adding two small strips of rubber foam to the arms that clam and hold the GPS.

 

Now the GPS is tight and snug.

 

When not in uses, the holder can be removed from the two "hooks" that go into the vent.

 

Removing the "hooks" for the vent isn't that easy, but they can be slipped out by bending the vent louvers.

 

So far and after a couple of field tests, I like it.

 

Nick

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