In this video I want to cover everything you need to know about dashcams, starting with why you need one, then how to pick the right model, how to install it and a few extra things you should know! Let’s get right into it. Having a dashcam really is a must these days, for a whole load of reasons.
The most obvious of which is, if you get into an accident you have video proof of what happened. Being able to present that as evidence to your insurer if the other party decides to claim it was your fault can save you a whole load of cash. Equally, for any police reports being able to show evidence that you weren’t, say, driving without due care and attention can save you from a conviction too.
When it comes to getting the right one, while you can buy one from someone like Halfords here in the UK and even have them fit it for you, you should know that’s not exactly the best value. The cameras themselves are often more expensive there than buying them on somewhere like Amazon, plus they charge either £50 for a front-view only camera, or £70 for front and rear. You can get perfectly good cameras online – of course I’ll have some global Amazon affiliate links in the description if you want to check them out – for more like £30 to £50, and fitting them yourself really isn’t that bad.
Some things to look out for when picking a dashcam – I mentioned front and rear options, that’s where you have a “main” unit in the front, plus a smaller single-wire camera that you run to the back of your car and point out the rear window. While this is better for security – and people watching – it is more complicated to install so it’s up to you what you are willing to do. You can also get interior facing units, personally I’d hate to have a camera watching me while I drive and that encourages… bad placement… so my preference would be to avoid those.
When it comes to the different resolution and frame rate options, personally I wouldn’t go for anything other than 1080p30 or 1080p60. 720p is just too low of a resolution to be an effective dashcam, although you should know that especially in the non-name-brand options, even though it will list, say, 1080p, the quality might not be all that effective. I also wouldn’t fall for the marketing gimmicks of 1440p or 4K for a dashcam, 1080p should be plenty for most people – only if you want to try and get scenic footage of a trip would I think it makes sense to splash out there.
It’s also worth noting that there are load of extra features you can get, like GPS tracking, wireless footage sharing, and most have batteries built in to detect accidents even when the car is off, although I’d argue most of the “splash the cash” features likely aren’t actually useful or worth your money, but hey it’s your money!
One final note on purchasing, you’ll often need to buy an SD card separately. Most of the cheaper models support up to 32GB of storage space which isn’t all that massive for 1080p60 video, but it is worth picking up one of the extended endurance SD cards like this SanDisk one as it should last a little longer since you will just be writing and overwriting constantly.
As for installation, the single most important part here is where you stick it to your windscreen. Do not, whatever you do, put it in your main field of view while driving. Personally my favourite position is tucked neatly behind the rear view mirror. It’s out the way, nice and high for the best visibility out, and I literally can’t see it while driving.
When it comes to the wiring, you generally have two options: permanent; or temporary. I’ve always gone the temp route, using a USB 12V charger to power the cameras, although if you are feeling adventurous you can hard-wire (with a fuse!) your dashcam. To route the wires, generally you can just push it into the gaps in the plastic panelling. Occasionally, or for a better fit, you might want to use a few trim tools to remove some trim panels to more neatly route it. Alternatively you can use the little sticky clips – it’s not quite as clean and they are a pain to remove, but it saves you any disassembly.
To mount a rear camera you’d again want to either remove some trim panels or feed the wire under the edge of your door sill plastics, then along the rear wheel arch and into the boot, then up your rear C pillar and across the headlining. Again it can be a pain so this will be up to you.
Finally, one thing you should know is that in the event of the police stopping you or otherwise investigating your car, say at the site of an accident, they have the power to seize any footage recorded from your dashcam, so if you were doing something stupid, be warned!