Dashcams are convenient on the road, especially in the case of accidents. There are some models that allow coverage of both in and outside the cabin, such as these greatest front and rear dashcams. But did you know that you can leave it to monitor your car and its surroundings even when the vehicle is powered down? Yes, parking mode is possible as long as the equipment has the ability for it (you will have to check the specifics for your device) and can be hardwired. That way, you are still covered in the case of vandals as well as accidental scratches and dents on the car while you are away.
How do you do it? You’re in luck — we will cover that today with this article while also peppering a few more tips here and there. While it is commonly done by dashcam owners, we feel that we owe it to you to preface this guide with a warning: hardwiring a dashcam into the fusebox can do permanent damage to your car. If you are not confident that you can complete the task without any damages, it would be better to seek the help of professionals for a fee. Better safe than sorry, right?
One more thing before we begin…
To hardwire a dashcam into your car, you will need a hardwiring kit. This is what your dashcam needs so that it can connect to the power source, which in this case is the vehicle’s fusebox.
Generally, there are three kinds: basic, programmable and battery. The difference between the three lies in the protection it has against extreme temperatures. Many opt for the programmable kit, which can be set up to cut off power when the programmed time or voltage has been reached. Meanwhile, the battery hardwiring kit uses lithium iron phosphate that will only recharge when the car is running.
With that out of the way, let’s begin.
Steps to hardwire your dashcam
Step 1: Determine how you’ll position the dashcam.
The dashcam best benefits you, the driver, so decide where you will install the dashcam by sitting on the driver’s seat. Align it depending on what seems to allow you to maximize the device.
If you’re unsure what your best option is, here are a few pointers you can follow: it is ideally within reach, it should not be in the way of your line of sight, and it must have a clear view of your path for better recording. It is also a good idea to check with local laws. In some places, there are rules that outline where dashcams and similar equipment should and should not be mounted.
Once this is decided, you should tuck the cables out of sight. This will depend on the model of your car, but often you can do this neatly by placing the wires in between its roof lining and the windscreen.
Step 2: Find the car fusebox.
To hardwire your dashcam, you will need to locate the fusebox. For most vehicles, this is beneath or behind the glove box, just right where the passenger’s foot should be. At times, this is protected by a plastic panel that can be removed. If that is not the case for your specific model, it would be best to consult your owner’s manual.
Step 3: Determine the appropriate fuse slot for hardwiring your dashcam.
Afterward, you will have to determine which of the vehicle fuses begin to heat, or is ignition-switched, when the car powers up, as opposed to the consistently hot slot. The former is what you will need for the dashcam as connecting to the latter will end up draining the vehicle’s power source. You can use a circuit tester to figure which is which.
Step 4: Connect the wires from your hardwire kit to the appropriate fuse.
Do this with the car turned off.
The existing fuse, which is often a cigarette lighter socket fuse, has to be removed, which you can do with pillars. It can be connected back through the plug that is provided with the hardwiring kit. This then should be fitted into the fusebox. Doing so would have the camera and the lighter be powered by one socket.
Step 5: Ground the dashcam.
To ground the dashcam, find the nut and bolt linked to the metal body panel. You will have to disconnect the bolt, connect the ground lug to the nut, and then put the bolt back to where it was previously. Make sure that it is secured tightly because you would not want a loose ground to affect the power of your dashcam when you need it the most.
The ground should also be all metal. Those with paint or made out of plastic can interfere with the power flow from the car to your dashcam.
Step 6: Test the camera.
Power up your car to see if the dashcam works correctly, and then shut it down to see if the device does the same. This is how the dashcam should respond if there are no problems with the installation.
Step 7: Clean up your wires.
We recommend doing this after testing the camera so that you would not have to untie everything in case something else needs to be fixed.
If there are no problems, you can go ahead and tuck your wires. For the excess cables, you can use a tape or a zip tie if preferred. This way, accessing your fusebox would not be made harder by wires obstructing your view. It would also prevent accidentally loosening the wires by kicking or getting tied up in them.
Put back the car panels that you had to remove for the installation.
Should I hardwire my dashcam?
That depends on your preferences. After all, it is just one way of installing a dashcam, although many drivers prefer it.
There are certain advantages to hardwiring your camera. For one, parking mode can be utilized with hardwiring, giving you an added layer of protection besides the top backup cameras enabled with night vision even when you are away from your vehicle. The cigarette lighter socket is also free as the dashcam is connected to the fusebox instead. Compared to other methods, hardwiring is also neater as the cables are concealed. Doing so will only take half an hour of your time.
However, that time allotted is also more than your other options. There is also an added possibility of damaging a car if you are intimidated by the process. A professional can be tapped for help, but this is, of course, an added cost. Thankfully, it is usually not as troublesome given the current competitive price points for dashcams (check out the top-rated dashcams below $100). The dashcam’s memory can also be a concern, but most can effectively manage what it has available.