Installing a reversing camera on your car
Updated 25 Mar 2021
There are plenty of fancy gadgets that can be installed on a car these days.
From dash cams to head-up displays, from tyre pressure monitoring systems to Bluetooth speakerphones, there's all manner of high-tech wizardry available to make the driving experience that little bit easier.
One of these items you may be considering is a reversing camera.
A common standard-fitment component on newer car models, these cameras can also be bought and installed as aftermarket accessories.
If you are elderly or perhaps carrying an injury and craning your neck to look behind you is a bit of a pain, a reversing camera can be a blessing.
What is a reversing camera?
A reversing camera (also called a backup camera or rear-view camera) is a camera installed at the rear of a vehicle to aid in parking and to avoid blind spots when reversing.
Reversing camera displays are typically part of the display unit within the console or dash of a vehicle. Some camera displays are also available as a rear-view mirror, so there is no additional display required in the dash.
Some reverse camera systems will include audible warnings to let you know how close you are to an object or if you are about to hit something.
The camera is positioned in the rear panel of the vehicle. It utilises a fisheye or wide-angle lens to allow a wide view to cover the full width of the car. The camera angle of view is downward to include obstacles on or close to the ground.
The camera and display are wired in to identify when you select reverse on your transmission, this will automatically activate the camera and the camera view will show up on the head-up display, so you can reverse while watching the display in real-time.
Reversing cameras are great accessories for large vehicles like caravans, trucks and commercial vehicles that have no way of seeing behind them when reversing.
Where can I get a reversing camera?
Reversing cameras are available to purchase online or through home entertainment retailers, auto parts and accessories stores, and auto electrical outlets.
What does a reversing camera consist of?
When purchasing a reversing camera, make sure it is a complete unit. It should include a monitor, camera and mounting brackets.
Some cameras are wired in and others are wireless. If the camera needs to be wired in, make sure all connections are included and if it comes with the wiring.
You may need to purchase wire and connections if installing yourself.
How much is a reversing camera?
Reversing cameras can cost from $21 to $600 and sometimes they come as part of a complete display system which can cost up to $800.
Camera and monitor quality is extremely important when you’re relying on a clear view to reverse.
Quality varies and it is recommended to view before you buy.
Also, most reverse cameras have guide marks set in the camera display so you can gauge how far away something is from your car. Some guide marks may be more suited to you than others, so pick what works best for you.
How much to fit a reversing camera?
The price to fit a reversing camera will depend on whether the supplier is doing the fitment or a second party.
Sometimes you can do a deal with the supplier on fitment pricing as part of the sale.
It could cost you anything from around $50 to $200 depending on the positioning of the head-up display and camera.
Who can install a reversing camera?
Some reverse camera suppliers offer installation. Make sure the installer is a qualified auto electrician.
Anytime there is power going to a device on your vehicle it is recommended that a qualified auto electrician carries out the work.
Make sure the system is installed so there is no engine interference with the camera or display.
There is no point installing the reversing camera to only be faced with interference lines across the screen.
If in doubt, you can ask your local auto electrician to fit a reverse camera for you. They may have recommendations on the best camera for you and your car and then be able to supply and fit for you.
Before having a reverse camera fitted, ensure they show you where they plan on installing the camera and display, and find out if any structural modifications will be made to the car.
Things to consider
- Pay the extra for a good quality camera and monitor display
- Have it professionally fitted
- What noises does it make and will it get on your nerves
- Try before you buy. Suppliers should offer a display unit to view
- Where will the camera and display be positioned on the car and will it depreciate the value of the vehicle
You can find an awesome sparky at AutoGuru you can professionally fit your reversing camera for you.
Rachel spent her early adult life around cars, motorsport and hands-on with her own cars. This interest moved into various careers within the Automotive industry. Joined with her passion for writing, Rachel loves putting the two together to share her experience, so we can all become AutoGuru’s.