Congratulations on buying your new dashcam! The selection process must have been arduous, what with the abundance of choices (if you haven’t, read our best dashcams list under $100). But you finally have the device in your hands, ready to go!
Now, you are on to the next step: installing the shiny piece of electronics on your car. The importance of this step cannot be undermined, because the performance of your dashcam partly relies on its successful installation. It being fitted properly matters not only in the clarity and quality of the video it captures but also in abiding by the laws set by your state or country concerning mounted car accessories.
While it is still best to refer to your product manual for the particulars in the installation, different brands usually have similar procedures to set up their device. What’s more, you are not limited to a single method alone. In fact, there are six possible choices, which already includes the last resort — hiring a professional to do the installation for you.
Some are easier than others, but the task is not too daunting that it cannot be done in under an hour. Your choice also depends on your needs and what is convenient for you.
6 Potential Approaches For Dash Cam Installation
So without further ado, here are your six potential approaches to begin recording and storing video footage with your dashcam on your car, briefly explained what they work best for:
Use your dashcam’s internal battery
Of the methods we will be discussing today, the first is the most straightforward. All you have to do is to mount your camera, turn it on, and allow it to record. The drawback here is the battery life: some models suffer from an incredibly short life, so it is not your best option for long journeys. These are rechargeable of course, but the battery may run out before an event worthy of a recording even occurs.
Install with a battery pack
Most experts recommend installing your dashcam with a battery pack, and for a good reason. If you want to go on parking mode (that is, recording while your car is powered down), this is one option to pick. Not only that — your car’s battery is also better protected with one as it minimizes the wear that the dashcam will inflict upon relying on the energy it gives.
Battery packs also allow more functions for your dashcam. With it, your camera can record videos longer. You can also enable Wi-Fi and GPS without draining your dashcam’s power. To install with a battery pack, you can choose either hardwiring or connecting to a cigarette lighter adapter.
Install by USB or through the cigarette lighter socket
Perhaps the most common solution, installing through USB or a cigarette lighter socket is a little more convenient than with an internal battery, but also less complex than hardwiring the dashcam. You do not have to worry about the dashcam running out of its power or damaging your car in the process of hardwiring the device to the fusebox, but there is a tiny nuisance: the camera’s wires will be dangling as it is mounted.
The camera’s wires are usually long so that it can be plugged while still mounted high enough to keep your eyes on the road. Still, there are ways to keep the cables neatly together as possible: you can tuck the wires along the head lining’s edge, on the A-pillar, or by the passenger footwell.
There are also a few more disadvantages. Unlike the previous option, you will be unable to maximize the dashcam through Wi-Fi and GPS, as well as enable parking mode.
How to install a dashcam (through a cigarette lighter socket)
- Find the best position for your mounting your dashcam. Typically, it is attached behind the rearview mirror so that passengers can also see the recording from where they are sitting. Make sure that you comply with local laws regarding mounted accessories.
- Mount the dashcam with either adhesive strips or suction cups. These usually come with your purchase, and most are adequate to hold the dashcam in place. If using adhesive strips, it is important to be precise with the measurements because these are inflexible and pose difficulties in repositioning. Opting for suction cups take away that problem.
- Use tapes or hooks so that the wires will have a cleaner appearance. The latter will allow easier removal of the cables if need be.
- Plug the dashcam into the cigarette lighter socket. The camera will power up when the car is running and will shut down once you switch off the ignition. Some models do this automatically.
Install your dashcam by hardwiring it to your fuse box
This method requires a little more care as doing it recklessly might damage your car, and permanently at that. The installation also takes a little longer than the others, but often no more than an hour if you do it right. You will also need a hardwire kit besides the dashcam itself.
Hardwiring a dashcam to your car means that it will be recharged by the car automatically, which can happen while you are simply en route to work — you won’t even have to think about it. But the advantages do not stop at a dashcam being powered indefinitely. By hardwiring your equipment, you can enable parking mode so that your dashcam can store video footage all day and all night long, and even when the vehicle itself is not powered on. HD recording, GPS and Wi-Fi are almost also a given with hardwiring.
And also, did we mention no wires, at least no distracting ones?
Install with an OBD cable
For those who find themselves torn between the cigarette lighter socket and hardwiring solutions, the OBD cable comes as an alternative. Instead of being plugged into the fusebox which requires installation to be more exacting, plugging through the OBD port is painless by comparison.
The OBD port is located below the steering wheel. Connecting through this gives all the benefits of hardwiring such as parking mode, HD video, Wi-Fi and GPS, while also being easier to access.
Hire a professional
If you don’t have the time or just fear to mess up either your device or your vehicle, you can always seek the help of a professional for a fee. You can contact the nearest garage or other establishments dealing with cars and accessories just in case.
So, there you have it! There is no need to overthink the process, just install your new purchase and enjoy. For most drivers, having it is the right choice anyway. Not only will you have an added layer of security on your car, but it also doesn’t hurt that you can flaunt the cool piece of electronics inside, too!
If you’re using your car for a car-sharing app like uber, you might want to consider these best dashcam options for uber.