Garmin nuvi 5000 fails to unlock maps


I’ve been working with a Garmin Nuvi 5000 for about 7 - 8 years

In that time I have been able to create routable maps and us them for navigational in rural area of the U.S.

The system has been working fine up to last month. Sometime around the 20th of October, the maps started failing to unlock upon device initialization.

I’ve researched the issue with Garmin, but to be honest I feel their only concern is NOT resolving the issue at hand, but to convince me to purchase new devices.

My question is fairly simple;

Does anyone know of someone else having the same problem?

Thanks in advance.....


Back it up and try a master reset...

To perform a master reset on a nuvi 5000:

1. Connect the device into a power outlet and turn the device OFF
2. The master reset will not work when connected to a computer
3. After about ten seconds, power the device ON
4. As soon as the loading bar appears, immediately touch and hold the bottom right corner of the touchscreen
5. The message, "Do you really want to erase all user data?" will appear after about thirty seconds
6. Remove your finger from the touchscreen when the message appears
7. Touch Yes to confirm
If text language is not in English, this is the button on the right
The device will now be reset. Follow the on-screen prompts then place the device in an area with a clear view of the sky until it acquires satellites.

1Although the master reset will erase all saved favorites, any loaded custom points of interest will remain intact on the device.

John from PA

Maps ?

Are the maps a Garmin product or those from a 3rd party?

I don't have a Nuvi 5000 but I frequently work with Garmin maps on my older devices. I have not noticed this sort of problem recently. Some maps I use require unlock codes which Garmin sometimes provides free for older products. I don't see why a working map would suddenly fail to unlock though. Did you download a new map recently or update your firmware?

Can you open the map using Garmin's Basecamp or Mapsource programs? If so, try reinstalling the map to your unit using either program. You can also try Garmin's Mapinstall program available here:

Lately, I've been getting away from Garmin maps for some of my projects. I now search for suitable products. They have many routable maps available for the US and many foreign countries. Maps are free & legal to download. They work with most Garmin products and Basecamp & Mapsource as well.


Appreciate your suggestion. I'll take a look at the programs you gave and let you know what I found.

The Maps I've been using where created by a 3rd party app.

Up to this point, they've worked great.




Appreciate your suggestion. I'll try that and let you know how it works.



2 GB file size limit.

The nuvi 5000 is one of the Garmin devices that has a 2 GB file size limit. Make sure the map file you are using is less than 2 GB. I wouldn't think this issue would cause the file unlock error, but it might.

Alan - Android Auto, DriveLuxe 51LMT-S, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, Nuvi 3597LMTHD, Oregon 550T, Nuvi 855, Nuvi 755T, Lowrance Endura Sierra, Bosch Nyon

Appreciate the Assistance - Master Reset

The master reset did not resolve the problem.

As I stated initially, for several years I've been using a Nuvi 5000 for navigation using custom rout-able maps. It worked flawlessly...  

(The map is locked to the specific unit, with a specific date of expiration to ensure I get it updated or if, god forbidden, it's stolen).   

Last month, on or about the 20th of November, the maps continually failed to open.  The unit displayed "Can't Unlock Maps" everytime the unit is initialized.

I've tried several "fixes" (firmware, OS, etc...). 

I'm going to try the idea using Garmin's programs to upload the maps and see what, if anything happens.

Your help, was & is greatly appreciated.



The file is moderate to small in size, (about 4-6 MB)

(Plenty of room left on the drive).

To test, I attempted to upload a older file that worked (about 3MB).

It failed to Unlock.

Thanks though....

Appreciate the idea....