In the time of video surveillance, there’s one area that’s often overlooked, and that’s your car.

A dash cam is the answer to this, giving you a way to record what’s happening around you as you drive, and being an invaluable tool in certain situations.

How do you install a dash cam in your car? Today’s dash cams can be installed with either a wired or wireless model, depending on the features you want.

The camera is fastened to the dashboard of your car using suction and wired to the battery to give it a constant supply of power to enable recording.

A dash cam is a great safety feature to have in your car and it records not just on the road but whatever’s happening inside the car, plus other safety features.

If you want this extra level of protection while you drive, our guide to dash cam installation will steer your right and make the process even easier.

What Is a Dash Cam?

What Is a Dash Cam?

A dash cam is a camera that sits atop the dashboard of a car and records from the vehicle while you’re driving.

These cameras come in all shapes and sizes and with varying features, so they can be as basic as a recording device or as advanced as a GPS that can notify you about upcoming traffic conditions or lane merging.

The purpose of a dash cam is to record what’s happening on the road, so you’re able to capture events that you drive past, or see who was in the wrong in an accident you might have gotten into.

As your focus is fixed on driving when you’re on the road, having this backup can be immensely helpful, along with the other features they offer.

Dash cams are commonly used by people who drive as part of their professions including taxi drivers, bus drivers, police officers, and driving instructors.

However, they’re becoming more common in everyday vehicles as motorists see the benefits of having constant surveillance of the road and inside their cars, and they’re more user-friendly than ever depending on what features you choose.

Dash Cam Features to Look For

Dash Cam Features to Look For

Choosing the right dash cam is the first step in the installation process as it depends on what you’re looking for from the device.

Consider these features when choosing a dash cam so you make sure it suits your needs and is within your scope for installation.

  • Resolution: The resolution of the camera will dictate the quality of the picture, and the higher the better. You might also choose a camera with a wider field of view to capture more of what’s happening in front of your car.
  • Type: Dash cams can either be wired to the car’s somewhere or wireless and running on an internal battery. A wired dash cam can be connected through the cigarette lighter socket, fusebox, or with an OBD cable.
  • Recording: There are lots of options for recording including auto-recording, loop recording, and audio recording. Think about what it is you want to be recorded and how you wish to store it to lead to you the best choice.
  • Extra features: Today’s dash cams come with lots of extra features including GPS, speed logging, impact detection, and dual cameras for the front and back, so you can go as advanced as you’d like.
  • Price: The most basic type of dashcam worth installing will cost around £50 to £100 and for a dual setup with all of the features, you’re looking at another couple hundred at least.

How to Install a Dash Cam

How to Install One

There are a few different methods for installing a dash cam, and it depends on the type of camera you have.

The best thing to do is look at the manual that comes with your camera to get a guided installation, and if it’s too detailed or installation is recommended by a professional only, follow the advice.

  1. Find a position to place the camera by looking at your dash cam and seeing what parts of the road you want to capture. This will also be determined by the field of view your camera has.
  2. Make sure the car is turned off before starting any work. You’ll need to locate the fuse box of the car as this is where the power cable will connect to the dash cam. The fuse box is usually located underneath the steering column and behind a panel. If you can’t find it, refer to your car’s manual to see where it is.
  3. Roll out the power cable of the dash cam so you can see where it will run. The best place is to run it through the rubber trim on the window using the headliner.
  4. Find a fuse that’s a “hot in start” fuse by using a circuit tester. Then, using an add a circuit kit, you’ll pull out the fuse and add a circuit to it for the camera. This ensures that the camera turns on automatically whenever the car does.
  5. Find the ground point near the fuse box and remove by removing the kick panel, and then attach the other end of the installation wiring kit to it. If there’s any excess wire, collect it together with a zip tie.
  6. Put everything back in place and test the camera by turning the car’s ignition on.

Why Every Car Should Have a Dash Cam

Why Every Car Should Have a Dash Cam

If you’re still on the fence about getting a dash cam, you’re likely to be swayed when you see what they’re capable of.

These are some of the most common reasons why people have dash cams installed in their cars:

  • Evidence of car accidents: Car accidents happen so fast that people often can’t give reliable evidence about them. With one of these in your car, you’re not just capturing evidence of things that happen to you, but anyone else on the road, and it’s an invaluable tool to have.
  • Watching bad drivers: There are plenty of problem drivers on the road and it’s hard to keep an eye on them all the time. While recording, your camera can pick up what others are doing including road rage incidents, drunk driving, or dangerous driving, and use the footage to report it to the authorities.
  • Keeping an eye on drivers in your car: If your teenage children drive your car or you plan on lending your car to friends and family, one of these cameras can give you a full-time view of what’s happening, even if you’re not there. A camera can record back and front, as well as inside of the car, so you get a full view of everything as they’re driving.
  • Insurance fraud prevention: Insurance premiums are no joke and one little incident can increase yours by a lot, even if you weren’t at fault. Having a camera that records everything gives you proof of who was at fault so you can provide this to your provider.
  • Extra features: These cameras aren’t just cameras anymore. A dash cam can act as a GPS, traffic condition updater, and warning device to let you know what’s happening on the road. They do the job of many different technologies from one place and can make for a safer and more efficient driving experience.

Possible Drawbacks of Using a Dashcam

Possible Drawbacks of Using a Dashcam

Having an extra set of eyes on the road and in your car can be a helpful thing but it’s not all positives with this piece of technology.

Before you can decide on a dashcam, you should weigh up the potential downsides of having one fitted in your vehicle to see if it’s the right choice.

  • They’re not conspicuous: Dash cams have yet to come to a point where they’re compact and easily hidden. If you don’t want the distraction of a camera in your line of sight or feel like they take up too much room in the already cramped quarters, you may want to want for smaller models.
  • They can be stolen: Because of their obvious position on a car’s dash, these cameras are likely to be stolen and catch the attention of thieves. If you do decide to keep it hidden, you’ll be spending a lot of time getting it off the dash and into hiding whenever you want to exit the vehicle.
  • The quality is lacking: A dash camera can only do so much, especially when you’re travelling at high speeds. Even the better quality cameras are still not as good as most surveillance cameras and it might not always capture the HD picture you were hoping for.
  • They can be costly: The price for a good dashcam can be high depending on the features you want. You can choose something simpler but the quality will match it, and you may struggle to get a clear view of incidents when they happen. This is one accessory it pays to spend a little extra on, and they may only last a few years.
  • They’re sensitive to temperature: If you live somewhere particularly hot or cold, there’s a chance this extreme weather can negatively affect your dashcam. Leaving the car in a sunny spot or out during a heatwave will probably do it damage and there’ll be no protection from a warranty.
  • Setup is a challenge: If you get a quality camera and need it wired to your car, expect the setup to be more difficult. These cameras must be wired to turn on when your vehicle does and it’s not a job that the everyday person is capable of. Having one professionally installed may cost an extra hundred pounds or so.

A Watchful Eye on the Road

We can’t look everywhere at once when we’re driving but the simple addition of a dash camera to your car can make sure that you do.

With our tip for installing a dash cam, you’ll get a watchful eye on the road and a much safer driving experience, so don’t put it off any longer.

Related Questions

Installing a dash cam in your car will give you peace of mind as you drive and an extra level of protection to keep you safe.

If you’ve been thinking about installing a dash camera but still want to know more, we’ve answered some commonly asked questions about what they do to help you out.

Can You Leave a Dash Cam In Your Car?

Can You Leave a Dash Cam In Your Car?

A dash camera can look obvious sitting on the dash or front window of a car and it may be tempting to a thief, so it’s best to take it down when you’re not in the vehicle.

You might choose to store it somewhere unseen in the car or take it with you, but it’s advisable not to leave it there. The camera won’t be recording while the car is off as they only work while the ignition is on.

Can A Dash Cam Drain A Car’s Battery?

As a device attached to the battery, it is possible for a dash cam to drain it, but not likely.

These cameras are only activated when the car is turned on so there’s no chance they can continue running when the car isn’t, which is the usual cause of a drained battery.

To be certain, you should have a battery or voltage management system in place that’s connected to the camera.

Do I Need a Dual Dash Cam?

A dual dash cam provides a camera at the front and rear of the vehicle and some find that this gives them better coverage.

Drivers with larger cars like SUVs and vans might benefit from this added recording area but the chances of something happening in front of your vehicle are usually more likely than behind it.

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