How to Apply a Suction Cup Mount to a Car Window

TomTom GPS on a car suction cup mountI know it sounds like an easy topic, but you would be surprised to know that it isn’t always as simple as just pressing the suction cup mount against the glass and walking away.  Suction cup mounts are among the most popular for mounting devices such as a smartphone, GPS, satellite radio or small tablet.  it’s especially handy when using your phone with a GPS application such as Waze.

Surface Preparation is Important

First, let’s talk about surface preparation.  The top reason for adherence issues with these mounts is a dirty windshield.  Over time, you might notice a film developing on your car windshield.  That surface will affect the suction ability of your car suction cup mount.  That film will be especially bad if there is a smoker in the car at any time.  Some suction cup mounts will have a small alcohol wipe packaged with the mount.  Use it prior to attaching the mount.  If you don’t have a wipe, get some good alcohol based glass cleaner and clean your windshield.  Bottom line is that your windshield must be clean of any film.

Next, be aware that a suction cup mount will not work well if your windshield has a tinted film applied.  I’m not talking about factory tinting, I mean the film that can be purchased at auto stores and applied to your windshield.  The suction cup may not stick at all and if it does, you will find that the weight of a device being held by the suction cup mount is likely to pull the tinting film right off the windshield.

Attachment Basics

Now that your car window has been properly prepared, it’s time to attach the suction cup mount to the windshield.  Most good car suction mounts have a vacuum locking mechanism.  This is critical in attaching a mount to any flat surface and in fact, if your car mount does not have a vacuum locking mechanism, I would advise against using it.  Most vacuum locks use a lever that is pressed down after getting the mount in place.  Some use a twist vacuum lock.  The key is to activate that vacuum lock after getting the mount into position.

Get your device into position before driving.  When adjusting the angle of the device, try to support the mount at the base with one hand while adjusting with the other.  Do all of this before driving because doing this while driving isn’t safe.

Removing the Mount

When removing the suction cup mount, simply lift the lever prior to removal.  The majority of suction cup mounts have a small tab attached to the suction cup itself and you will lift starting at that tab.  You will likely see marks on your windshield left from the suction, especially if it hasn’t been removed in a long time.  The marks will come off with some alcohol based cleaner.  Be sure to repeat the process of keeping your windshield clean.  While you certainly do not need to do that every time you re-apply the mount, it should be done every few months.

Further Reading

If ready to purchase a suction cup mount, be sure to check our article on Choosing the Right Phone Car Mount or Choosing the Right GPS Car Mount.  We also have a great article for those having a mount failure called Help with Failing Suction Cup Mounts.