Help with Failing Suction Cup Mounts

Suction cup mount for a Garmin Nuvi GPSSuction cup mounts aren’t perfect and with time, they can fail.  However, sometimes, you don’t need to buy a new mount.  Following our simple tips might save you a little bit of money.

The Suction Mount Failure Fixit Checklist

  1. The most common problem we find is a dirty windshield.  Over time, a haze or film builds on the interior of the windshield.  Clean your windshield thoroughly with Windex or any good cleaner that contains alcohol (no not beer, that is not a cleaner).  While you’re at it, also clean the bottom of the suction cup.  This is by far, the number one tip for getting your suction cup mount back into working condition.
  2. Apply a little water to the bottom of the suction cup.  We find, on some mounts, that helps the adhesion enormously.
  3. Make sure you are pressing the suction lever in the right direction.  Usually the direction is down, but we see a few deviants that require it to be pushed up.  Most suction mounts have a vacuum base and it is operated with a lever.


It’s worth noting that suction cups aren’t going to work in some cases so look at a different solution if any of these situations apply:

  1. Applying window tinting kits means you cannot use a suction cup.  While suction cups will apply to most factory tinting, they will not apply to the film that can be found in most after market kits.  In addition, the weight of the device you are attaching has a good chance of completely loosening the film from your windshield in the rare event you got the suction cup to work.  Obviously, we don’t recommend using the suction even if you did get it to stick the film.
  2. Textured dashboards.  Suction cups are made to create a vacuum fit.  If your dash is textured, avoid suction cups.  While there are some sticky suction cups made to work on textured dashboards, our experience has been less than perfect.  You can use a dash plate with 3M adhesive pads available for a few dollars then stick your suction to that but be prepared to use Goo-Gone when it’s time to sell the car.  You can also read our detailed article on Removing an Adhesive Car Dash Mount.
  3. High vibration environments like motorcycles and suction cups are bad ideas.  Over the years we were even asked if suction cups can attach to the outside of a car for use with a camera.  We steered them towards keeping the camera inside the vehicle or (in the case of motorcycles) bolted down.
  4. When you need to mount something upside down, suction cups, especially inexpensive ones, are not the right solution.  The weight of your device is likely to pull it down, potentially on your head.

Most suction cup mounts have the suction pad glued or molded onto the mounting stem and cannot be replaced as a component.  Suction cups don’t have an infinite lifespan so if the tips we provided do not help, we recommend purchasing a new mount.  Suction cups used in extreme temperatures don’t last as long.  In extreme temperatures, we suggest removing the suction cup and bringing inside to extend the life of the mount but also avoid having your expensive electronics wind up on the floor of your car.