A car dash camera, or dashcam for short, is a unique camera intended to track when your car is stolen, struck, or detects nearby motion. For insurance purposes, it allows you to reciprocate losses against an at-fault party. It also allows you to track thieves and vandals should your car be parked. To address these many potential issues, we have some Car Dash Cameras FAQs to help you with anything that can happen.
How do you install a dashcam?
Some car dash cameras are easier to install than others. The most challenging dashcam to install is those that you need to hardwire. Thankfully, you can typically do this through the back of your radio, which makes things relatively simple.
You will want to run your wires so that they stay out of sight. So you will need to remove the driver’s side panel that sits between your door and windshield. You will also likely be running this wire through your glovebox, but each model may have different preferences.
Before you start this process, be sure that the dashcam you purchase has enough electric wire to run the length of your car. This statement assumes that you also purchased a rear-facing camera. The video below provides us with a great visual representation of installing your dashcam.
Before you start any of this, be sure that your vehicle is off.
How much does a dashcam cost?
Dash cameras cost a minimum of $50, but you can end up paying $300 on some of the pricier models. These prices do not include the cost of installation, which can add several hundred more dollars. The most you end up paying when hiring a professional installation company is around $600.
This price can change significantly depending on the available features included. For example, a 1080p camera is more likely to cost more than a 720p camera. Buzzwords like “motion sensing” also have a high potential to drive up the price.
Where should a dashcam be placed?
It would be best if you placed your front-facing dash camera in front of your rear-facing windshield mirror. For dash cameras with the best visual range, this ensures it can capture both the vehicle’s left and right. That range and positioning would be incredibly important if someone were to side-swipe the front of your car.
You can place rear-facing cameras about dead center on your vehicle’s rear window. This logic applies regardless of what type of vehicle you choose. Hatchbacks and sedans are more likely to have a rear-facing camera.
Do dash cameras record when the car is off?
Today, many dash cameras continue to record when the car is off; this is parking mode. Parking mode tracks the motion of your vehicle while it is not in motion. If you want a dashcam with this feature, be sure to look at the packaging or features list before purchase.
You may need to activate parking mode on your car dash camera before expecting it to work. Cars without this feature listed will turn off with the car’s engine.
Suppose there is no hardwiring between the car and camera. In that case, vehicle dashcams will not typically record when the vehicle is off.
How long do dash cameras record for?
A dash camera can record based on the amount of room available in your SD card at the time. For example, two GB of video can be around six hours of content for 720p or lower video qualities.
Most dashcams will continue to record over this video once the SD card is full. That means your camera will overwrite your old video in the next six hours. Dash cameras with impact detection, or motion detection, will record with a different purpose in mind.
What is motion detection on a dashcam?
This feature is where the importance of impact sensing motion detection comes to play. When the car jolts, higher-quality dashcams will set that fifteen seconds to one minute of recording as precedence. Because of this, it will not overwrite that section of a video deemed as necessary.
You will still want to remove the video from your dashcam as soon as possible. Eventually, your camera will not recognize that fifteen seconds of video as necessary.
Do dashcams record automatically?
Hardwired dashcams will typically turn on automatically with your car. Much like your radio, they can sense when the alternator is functioning. This situation typically applies when your rear-facing camera is also hardwired.
If your car dash camera is independent of your car’s battery, you will need to turn it on automatically. Unless you happen to have a camera that senses your approach through other means, there is no workaround for this.
If you are new to dashcams, check out the video below:
Do dashcams have microphones?
Yes, many car dash cameras have microphones built-in. Their audio has the potential to add to supporting evidence in the case of an accident.
There are a few dashcams that do not have microphones, but that feature is relatively limited. It would help if you got something that supports evidence of their fault in as much detail as possible, audio included.
Does a dashcam drain the car battery?
Car dash cameras typically turn off with your car’s engine, so they do not naturally drain your car’s battery. Even while running, your alternator will out-power the battery drainage that comes from your dashcam. With older cars, this may not be the case.
Check to see if your dashcam is automatically turning off as you are leaving the car. If not, it will be draining the car’s battery as you leave it. There is a higher likelihood of drainage if you go to your vehicle without the engine running.
Will police use dashcam evidence?
If you can prove that you (or the other party) was driving in the evidence, the police will be able to use it. Otherwise, you cannot expect that any officer will take it as admissible evidence.
Given that dashcams don’t point at your face, this is why it is essential to include audio with your recording.
Can your dashcam evidence be used against you?
Yes, if your dashcam implicates you as the at-fault party, the police can use it against you. Do not try and withhold evidence, as that is the potential of another charge.
Will car dash cameras reduce my insurance?
Given that dash cameras do not reduce the likelihood of a claim, many companies do not offer them on their discount list. However, it does make it easier for them to recuperate damages, so it may prevent your insurance from increasing.
Be sure to provide your insurance provider with the police report and all additional evidence. Given that they may be fighting on your behalf, it is crucial to have them prepared.
Car dash cameras can be incredibly helpful in a legal and useful sense. Whether they act as a deterrent for potential thieves or save you from having to make a huge insurance payout, they are a must-have for any driver these days.
With the above FAQ, you will have a good idea of what to expect from your dashcam. For more details, there is a great deal of information included with the owner’s manual.