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Dash cam installation
What are dash cams?
Dash cams are cameras mounted to the front or rear windscreen of your vehicle. They are either hardwired into your vehicle, powered by a cigarette lighter cable, or battery-powered. They record road activity either onto internal memory, a memory card or to the Cloud, and the footage can be downloaded when required. Some dash cams may even offer motion detection recording when your vehicle is stationary.
Dash cam footage is typically saved into a file approximately every five minutes of driving time. This keeps the file size down and makes it easier to find a particular incident. Once your memory card is full, the dash cam may stop recording unless the unit allows for old files to be overwritten when full. There are some dash cams that upload straight to the cloud or utilise wi-fi for instant access.
Types of dash cams
Dash cams can differ greatly in shape and size, but there are also some other differences between different types that you should consider.
Single-channel: for one-directional recording and typically faces the front of the vehicle
Dual-channel: offers front and rear recording with a dual camera view
In-car: for inside cabin viewing. Used for recording driver and passenger behaviour
Different dash cams can also have different kinds of features. Whilst a basic dash cam will simply record what happens when your car is active, more advanced models will have features such as audio recording, speed sensors, GPS logging and uninterruptible power supplies, meaning they can record even when your car’s engine is off.
Reasons for having a dash cam
Dash cams are not a necessity but they can provide evidence following an accident and may also record vandalism or theft when your car is parked. It is common practice for insurance companies to ask if you have dash cam footage when making a claim. This will not reduce your premiums but may save on not-at-fault excess charges.
Having dash cam footage can come in handy when proving your innocence in the event of an incident where the other party is not accepting blame.
Dash cams with enhanced features such as GPS logging can also be used to locate your vehicle if it has been stolen or if you’ve simply lost it in the car park at the shops!
Where can you buy a dash cam and who can install it?
You can purchase a dash cam at most auto parts suppliers, auto electricians, online retailers, home entertainment retailers, electronic stores and car sound system retailers.
Basic dash cams are pretty easy to install yourself. They generally only require you to mount the camera on your front windscreen, usually with a suction cup, and then connect it your car using the 12V socket. If you are unsure, an auto electrician will be able to help get it up and running for you.
More complex systems may require a professional, especially if it needs to be hardwired into your car. We definitely do not recommend attempting to hardwire something yourself. Playing around with your car's wiring is a recipe for disaster if you’re not qualified to do so.
Things to consider when installing a dash cam
Connectivity: Consider what works with your lifestyle and ease of use
Heat protection: Vehicles get very hot, so make sure the chosen dash cam will cope
Price: Keep within your budget but consider that quality and ease of use may be worth the extra dollars
Video quality: The idea of a dash cam is to have good-quality footage when needed. Most importantly, you will want to be able to read number plates clearly
Lens: Choose one that offers the best range of view and quality that works for you
Size & placement: A dash cam shouldn’t be so big that it impedes your view once installed. Where you install also matters, because a dash cam can not legally be within your field of view when driving
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