13 Important Dash Cam Questions Answered

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New Again Auto Detail is all about helping you keep your car, truck, boat, motorcycle, etc., in the best possible condition. Our professional detailing tips, tricks, and techniques help you in your own garage.

But what about when the unthinkable happens. No, not just an automotive accident, but other events that may cause damage to your car or simply need to be documented. Things like vandalism, trees coming down in a storm, UFOs darting across the sky… or any number of other events.

You may be very good at keeping your vehicle in showroom condition, but bad things can sometimes happen to good people. How do you monitor and/or offer proof when something happens?


With a Dash Cam!

With this Q&A, you’ll learn the answers to 13 important Dash Cam questions. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. What is a Dash Cam?

A Dash Cam “is an onboard camera that continuously records the view through a vehicle’s front windscreen and sometimes rear or other windows.” Learn more from Wikipedia.

With a Dash Cam, you have video proof of whatever crazy stuff happens around you.

2. Why should I get a Dash Cam?
3. Is a Dash Cam Worth It?

People are stupid. Truckers see everything, so it makes sense to share some unfortunate mishaps from truckers’ perspectives.

Some of these drivers probably don’t even know they almost caused collisions. Some actually did. Cars turn on a (relative) dime; trucks don’t. Be careful out there!

If you are a good driver, a Dash Cam can prove it – and end up paying for itself many times over.

4. How Does a Dash Cam Work?

There is a huge variety of features on the many Dash Cams that are on the market. Some transmit video via the cloud to a server. Others have “G-Force” sensors to isolate video footage in the event of an accident so that it doesn’t get written over. Some Dash Cams record sound.

There’s more. Some Dash Cams will record while parked. Some allow you to view Dash Cam footage on your phone. Some record a 360 degree view.

You get the idea. There are many ways a Dash Cam can back you up.

5. How should a Dash Cam be installed?

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The two popular ways to install Dash Cams are either attached directly to your windshield, or those models designed to become a part of your rear view mirror. Either one gives clear front visibility. If the unit records in the rear direction, these locations allow for that as well.

Even though the term is “Dash Cam” our preference is to NOT mount it on the dash. Adhesives on glass can be cleaned much easier than dash material, and the higher mounting positions of glass or mirror provide better video results.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Check the laws in your state about windshield blockage or line-of-sight restrictions for Dash Cams. Anything that impacts the driver’s sight lines could run afoul of those laws. Check first. (More on that below.)

The video below shows an installation of a particular model, and of course you will want to follow the installation instructions of the model you select.

However, it’s beneficial to see the steps for installing a Dash Cam, not to mention the various components involved.

We are showing it here due to the way this person takes a few easy, extra steps to hide wires, makes a permanent connection to his fuse panel, ties up excess wiring, and generally takes the same professional approach to appearance as an Auto Detailer.

6. What can I expect when using a Dash Cam?

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First, you need to install an SD card to record and save the video. Choosing a quality SD card is critical, since you want to rely on being able to retrieve the contents when you need it. It’s best to select Class 10 cards that are high speed and designed for the highest video quality.

Physical size is easy to manage, since most cards (like the one here) have adapters for the various sizes available. There are so many devices using SD cards these days, they are becoming very interchangeable.

So now you have your professional installation completed, and your SD card installed.

What should you expect? The best way to answer that is with a few more questions (and answers.)

7. Can a Dash Cam drain the battery?

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Possibly. Some Dash Cams are designed to be “active” constantly – even when the car is parked and the key removed. For power management, many of these are motion-activated, so they start recording when they sense any movement around the vehicle.

In the video above, you’ll notice the installer wasn’t concerned with the Dash Cam being active when the car was turned off. In fact, he went to special lengths to make sure to use a fused circuit that was NOT powered when the key was removed.

You can use a simple “Add a Circuit” fuse tap adapter like the one shown here. It makes it easy to keep an existing circuit protected, while adding a new one. This is a preferred method since it avoids splicing or cutting wires. These can also be used when adding radios, LED light strips, a GPS, or any other small electronic device.

Depending on your own preferences and specific requirements, choose the approach that’s right for you.

8. Will a Dash Cam lower my insurance?

Not yet. In many parts of the world, especially in the U.K., the use of a Dash Cam can save money on insurance premiums. U.S. insurance companies haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet, but we hope they do soon.

Where a Dash Cam can be valuable is if you do have an accident and there’s issue with fault. Having video evidence provides you the best possible chance to easily prove your innocence.

Speaking of insurance…

9. Do Dash Cams get stolen?

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Unfortunately, anything not tied down is vulnerable. In fact, anything in sight should be hidden or removed. Your best bet is to choose a dash cam that can be easily removed at night. The hidden wire installation we saw above could still serve. All it would take is a quick disconnect of the power cable right at the Dash Cam.

If removing it each time you park doesn’t sound appealing, you have options. One is to choose a model that is inconspicuous behind the mirror, or better yet, a Dash Cam that is designed to become part of the rear view mirror.

10. What are the legalities of using a Dash Cam?
11. Are Dash Cams legal in all 50 states?

None of the 50 states have laws prohibiting the use of Dash Cams. However, it’s a good idea to know what your state requires with respect to mounting and line-of-sight impediments. This seems to be a popular phrase among many states:

“Legal if positioned correctly and not obstructing driver’s view”

You can learn more about individual state legality here.

12. Will police accept or act on Dash Cam footage?
13. Can Dash Cam footage be used in court?

Just as each state has specific guidelines for how Dash Cams are used, local police departments and courts also vary with respect to how the video footage is accepted.

Generally, Dash Cam footage is admissible in court. Mostly, it must be footage taken at locations in the public eye. Audio use might also be allowed if the person was informed (and possibly consented) to being recorded.

With any evidence, police may obtain a warrant or subpoena to get your video. As a safe driver, it would always be a good idea to cooperate. It’s also a good idea to have an attorney. New Again Auto Detail does not provide legal advice – all we’re doing is giving you the basics.

Get professional guidance any time your have a legal issue!

Dash Cam Coverage

Having a Dash Cam is little like insurance coverage. It really only provides a benefit in the event something goes wrong. Although you make a great effort to keep your vehicle in top shape, some things are simply unexpected, and as a result, unavoidable.

Expect the unexpected and consider some special insurance coverage.

Consider a Dash Cam for your car.

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