How to Format SD Card for Dash Cams: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Format SD Card for Dash Cams
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Even though technology does most of the work for us, it still requires a little bit of maintenance. In the grand scheme of things, SD cards are incredibly useful but quite temperamental, so they require a little bit of TLC.

When you have recently invested in a dash cam, one of the things you need to learn is how to format SD card for dash cams. Doing this will keep your main storage healthy and ensure that you don’t randomly lose data. With this step-by-step guide, you’ll know how to format your SD card and also why it is important to do it.

Why Do You Need to Format an SD Card?

If you’re trying to figure out why SD formatting is so important, you’re not alone. Most people assume that you plug the SD card in and allow the camera to overwrite old files. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best way to maintain your stored files.

The files that are stored in your dash camera are fragmented because the camera constantly starts and stops its recording when the car is turned on and off. When you go through formatting, you’re mostly getting rid of any files that are clogging the card.

You can guarantee that there are likely dozens of unnecessary files taking up space that you’ll never need. It’s always better to have empty SD memory instead of full space that needs to be overwritten.

It’s also important to note that SD cards tend to throw errors. For example, many people complain of “card full” readings, even though their dash cam is supposed to overwrite old files. It’s better to take control and get rid of useless videos and images, so your camera always has a clean and clear memory. It also helps to improve the overall quality of the flash drive.

How to Format the SD Card for Mac?

It’s now time to discuss how to format SD card for dash cams on a device running a Mac OS. This guide should help you to get through the process with ease.

Step One: Purchase an SD Card Adapter

Unless you have an upgraded Mac that comes with a built-in SD card reader, you’ll need to purchase an adapter. This will plug into one of the ports on the side of your computer so that the card can be read. Once you have the right SD card adapter, plug it in and proceed to the next step.

Step Two: Open “Disk Utility”

You’ll now want to access your computer’s Disk Utility. First, you’ll need to use the magnifying glass at the top right-hand corner of your desktop and type in “Disk Utility”.

Step Three: Erase the Data

By selecting the name of your SD card on the left-hand side menu, you’ll then see a popup menu that gives you the option to erase the card. In this menu, you can see the format of the SD card. If the format reads “ExFAT”, you will need to change the format to “MS-DOS (FAT)” before erasing any data.

Once you have selected “MS-DOS (FAT)”, you can then click “Erase”. Once this process is complete, you have formatted your SD card successfully.

How to Format the SD Card on Windows?

Windows users have a slightly different process than Apple users.

Step One: Insert the SD Card

Using either your SD card adapter or the built-in SD card reader, insert it and allow your computer to read the drive.

Step Two: Access the Drive

You’ll now want to get to “My Documents” and take a look at all of the file names listed on the left-hand side. Once you come across the name of your SD card, right click on its name and then select “Format”.

Step Three: Changing the File System

Similar to what you would have to do with a Mac OS, you might need to format the file system on Windows as well. Take a look at the “File System” drop-down menu and make sure “FAT32” is selected.

Step Four: Allow the Card to Be Formatted

At this point, all you have to do is select “Start”, and your computer will begin to format the SD card. Once the process is finished, the card should be ready to reinstall into your dash cam.

How to Format the SD Card in the Camera?

If you’re one of the lucky people who have a high-end dash cam, you might not need a computer at all for formatting. In fact, the majority of expensive dash cameras give you the option to format the SD card in-house. This can be quite advantageous as you can erase unwanted content from your vehicle easily.

Every camera is different, but in most cases, you should be able to follow these steps:

Step One: Access the Menu

First, you’re going to need to access the menu on your camera. Typically this will be listed as either “Menu” or “Settings”.

Step Two: Format the Card

Now, you should be able to see a menu option that says “Format” or “Format Memory Card”. You will want to select this option and then allow the camera to format the card. Once the process is finished, the card will be ready to use once again.

Additional Tips and Tricks

The only other thing to take note of is to make sure that you opt for a more modern SD card for optimal performance. Just like any other type of technology, it’s crucial that you keep your storage devices up to date. If you’re recording data on an old SD card, you might simply want to upgrade instead of going through the formatting process.

Final Thoughts

With the right care, you can easily make your SD card last for years. Formatting is an important process to make sure that your dash cam is always ready.

The last thing you’ll want is to get in an accident and not have evidence because of a full card. It would also be frustrating to learn that your SD card failed because of poor maintenance.

If you’re the type of person who likes to be prepared always, we recommend using this guide. By following the steps, you can easily understand how to format SD card for dash cams.

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