Wheels Near U - Cars For Sale

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Your Postcode: SA44 4XJ(Change)


Once reserved for the more expensive cars and the army, satellite navigation now features in a good proportion of cars. We thought we would give you the lowdown on satnav - how it works, points to note when buying a satnav (GPS unit) and more!

How Satellite Navigation works (briefly) :
  • Basically put by using 2 or more satellite's orbitting the globe that know thier own position relative to your satnav unit, it can triangulate your position (use mathematics to work out where on the face of earth you are.)
  • There is an aerial either built into your dash placed unit or built into the car (on internal GPS systems that come with the car.) This allows the satnav to recieve signals from the satellites. It then uses mathematics to exactly position itself on a virtual map, repeating the process every second or faster to maintain an accurate position on the virtual map on your screen.
  • Once the unit has worked out where you are, and can watch the distance travelled by your vehicle between its updates with the satellites, it can work out your speed (based on how far you went in that second between point a and the current point.)
  • All units use the same basic principles - which also apply to handheld devices used for treking, nautical devices for boats and most of the worlds transport systems.
  • GPS is short for Global Positioning System or Global Positioning Satellite. Satnavs and GPS units are the same thing.
Requirements & Legality:
  • There are no requirements to install a sat nav unit - you could use the same unit in a brand new car, old secondhand motor or theoretically any transport device - although a pushbike might be a bit difficult to secure it too.
  • Usually simply 'Out of the box' they can be charged and then used the same day. Most people should be able to use them without any problems, simply read the manual, charge if required and then fix securely to your dash (usually a cradle for the screen is provided - often with suction cups to attach it too the window or dash.)
  • Operating a GPS unit (satnav) can be complex, with numerous options. But if your not that technology savy then simply stick with the default options, you should be able to enter a house name, street name, town name or postcode simply enough.
  • Once it calculates a good route (a few seconds depending on the journey) it should start giving you directions. Remember though that your still the driver, and should you want to take a detour it should adjust your route accordingly - working out the best variant from your new position.
  • Touch screens allow you to enter your details without the need for any keyboard or addon.
  • They can be hard wired in but it is usually easier to just charge them as you go.


  • As long as it is fixed securely and not in your direct line of view then a sat nav is completly legal in the UK.
  • Beware Thiefs! - always make sure you take your car electronics (where applicable) inside your house when you get home, little units displayed obviously on the dashboard are prime targets for thiefs.
  • Despite the ability of some to play video - we would not advise you watch video or use any similarly distracting features while driving! - however it should be noted that some good satellite navigation units are capable (via bluetooth or cable) to work as a handsfree unit as well - letting you safely recieve and make phonecalls while on the move.
  • Depending on the satellite navigation system you buy it will usually cover either the UK or the whole of europe out of the box. It simply depends on how much memory the unit has and what maps it comes with by default.
  • If your unit does only have the UK, its usually just a case of using the included CD-ROM to add relevant countries to your satnav at a later point.
  • Most satnavs can be updated via software on your computer and the internet - which is good to do every now and again to ensure you have as accurate mapping at your disposal as possible.
Screen Sizes and other Features:
  • Genrally speaking all more modern units have screens, older or in built GPS systems may run on voice alone or have limited directions on your dash.
  • Although bigger screens can be more easy to see, this can work against you and be more distracting - its good to get a unit that is readable but not too huge.
  • Typically the contrast and brightness can be set on the unit to your taste.
  • Other buit in features can include POI (Points of interest) these can be added by you (e.g. that nice restaurant to stop at) or can be included with the unit, for example the positions of fixed position speed cameras, petrol stations or hotels.
  • Often the unit will tell you your exact speed as talked about above.
  • There are a huge range of satellite navigation systems out there, heres a selection we have found that covers the range (please note clicking on an image below will take you away from our site, we cannot be held responsible for the following sites content
Tom Tom Go 720
Navman N40i
Nokia E90
Tom Tom Go 720
Navman n40i
Navman n40i
Sony NV-U92T
Garmin Nuvi 360T
Road Angel Adventurer 7000
Tom Tom Go 720
Tom Tom Go 720
Tom Tom Go 720
    If you can think of any we have missed anything then please contact us and let us know!