6 Common Garmin Reactor 40 Kicker Autopilot Problems

garmin reactor 40 kicker autopilot problems
garmin reactor 40 kicker autopilot problems

The majority of anglers have mixed views when it comes to the performance of Garmin Reactor 40 Kicker autopilot. It is pretty common to see anglers compiling if you browse the community forums for a little while.

However, most of these issues are linked to the compatibility of the unit with the existing outboard. So, if you’re new to these gadgets, try to engage the dealer when you’re unsure about the compatibility of your outboard with this option.

He will guide you accordingly, and you can further ask for the maintenance routine to help keep your unit in perfect condition. If you ignore the maintenance, then you’ll keep running into countless performance errors down the road.

So, be mindful of the maintenance of the Garmin Reactor 40 Kicker.

There are a ton of problems that you will have to deal with while relying on the Garmin Reactor 40 Kicker autopilot. However, you can troubleshoot most of these problems by following some basic troubleshooting guides.

So, let’s go through a few of these Garmin Reactor 40 Kicker problems.

Garmin Reactor 40 Kicker Autopilot Problems

  1. Drifting Off Course

The autopilot is mostly accurate but can run into issues with the unit drifting off course. Luckily this problem is only related to the configurations in the system, and you will need to access dealer mode to fix this issue.

If you’re unsure about how to access dealer mode, then a complete guide is available in the owner’s manual. So, browse through the manual and go through the installation and setup guide one more time.

There could be a wide variety of issues at play, and you should hope that you won’t have to reset.

Once you’ve accessed the dealer mode, just slightly decrease the rudder gain, and it should fix your issue with the unit drifting off course. You will have to experiment a few times to optimize the autopilot settings.

So, if you’ve just installed the unit, be patient.


Another great method of speeding through this issue is to ask an expert. There is no point in wasting hours of your time trying to adjust the rudder yourself.

So, be sure to ask for help, and the dealer will make sure that you won’t have to run into the same issues again.

Moreover, tweaking the configurations is a good move as you try to adjust the performance of the rudder. It all comes down to how you’re planning on maneuvering through the situation.

So, be sure to check the manual or ask any local expert to help with this situation.

  1. Calibration Problems

The leading concern for most anglers can be linked to defective calibrations in the system. Most of the time, your system will be overreacting in either direction, and the boost will make it hard to manage the final smoothness of the ride.

You can easily calibrate this issue with the system by opening up the menu options and reducing the standard RPMs by a little margin.

This should reduce the reactivity of your motor, and it will start working perfectly after a few attempts at the recalibration process.


Just be sure to adjust the calibrations perfectly and go through the routine a few times to eliminate minor errors. It can be a hassle to get through the calibrations again when you’re in the middle of your fishing trip.

So, spare a few more minutes as you try to eliminate errors with the system. Hopefully, you won’t have to wait long as you try to adjust the system, and seeking help from an expert is never a bad idea.

  1. Overshooting Issues

Sometimes the rudder gain will be set too low, and your autopilot will overshoot. Similar to the drifting issue, you can tackle this situation by accessing the dealer configurations from the menu and then increasing the rudder gain.

A small adjustment to the rudder gain should be enough to terminate this issue in your unit. So, make sure not to increase the rudder gain by a huge margin. Otherwise, the issue will persist in your unit.


All you’re trying to do here is make sure that the input is correctly registered to the unit and that there are no problems with the rudder movement.

Most of the time, that will be it, as you’re trying to adjust the system to the local water conditions.

  1. Steering Problems

The steering system friction lock can cause a ton of issues with the system not working properly. This issue is a bit technical in nature, and you might need to fix the actuator linkage to the unit.

Similarly, removing the steering friction lock during normal operations should improve your situation.

However, it will be better to seek help from a professional in this situation. That way, you won’t mess up the wiring between the autopilot and the fishing unit.

There is no point in wasting hours of your time trying to fix the situation when you’re not even aware of the issue.

Spending a few bucks to hire an expert or reach out to a local will be more than enough to help you through these errors. All that you need to do is to inform the experts about the errors along with the configurations that you choose.

From there, they will guide you through the details of the project.

  1. Throttling Problems

If the throttling friction lock is set up too tight during the normal operations of the unit, you will run into performance issues with the autopilot.


Loosening up this throttling friction lock should be enough to fix any throttling problems with the unit.

In case the issue persists, reach out to Garmin support and have them help you through the troubleshooting process.

There is a good chance that you messed up something during the installation, and seeking help from professionals will help you isolate these problems.

  1. Cable Problems

While issues with cable management are that severe, you still need to fix the orientation of the cables to avoid any communication issues between the autopilot and your unit.

In almost all situations, changing the cables is the safer option. However, you can always test your luck by cleaning up the ports and securing the connection points again.

wire problem

All of the issues mentioned here can be fixed pretty easily if there are no hardware issues with the device. Claiming the warranty is always the safer option if you’ve recently bought the unit.

That way, you won’t have to spend any extra money on replacement components. So, engage the experts in case of any issues with the Garmin pilot, and they will help you maneuver through all complications.

Wrapping Up

As long as you’re sure that there are no hardware issues or cable damage to the system, almost all the errors with the autopilot can be fixed by going through the configurations.

It will take a minimal level of effort on your end, and you need to figure out the issues with the system one by one.

All that you’re trying to do here is find out the errors with the machine. It will take a while, but going through the manual once more or seeking help from a professional will help you get through the issue much faster.


So, don’t hesitate to ask local experts or dealers to help you with this unit.

He will spare a bit of time to guide you through the fixes after you list the issues along with the current configurations. From there, it is not impossible to get through the error.

However, if there are hardware errors or you messed up the unit during the installation, be sure to get a replacement.

The warranty status is usually pretty decent, and you should be able to grab a fresh piece after showing valid proof of purchase. So, be sure to reach out to the dealer about a new unit, and he will ask you to verify the purchase.

After the verification, you will have the new unit within the same week.

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