When you start searching for a dash cam, you’ll realize that some models offer an installation method known as hardwiring. This is mainly when you directly connect the dash cam to another part of the vehicle, such as the fuse box or the battery.
With that being said, you should always ask yourself, “Should I hardwire my dash cam?” Plenty of drivers decide not to for various reasons, but hardwiring can allow you to use the best features of your dash cam. Hence, in this guide, we’ll discuss the advantages of hardwiring as well as some tips you’ll need in order to do it properly and safely.
What Does Hardwiring a Dash Cam Mean?
As mentioned, the concept of hardwiring your dash cam is to give you the ability to directly connect the camera to another part of your vehicle that supplies power. Depending on the type of dash cam you’ve purchased, you may want to hardwire the connection as it will give you access to an array of other features, such as a parking monitor feature.
However, it’s essential to note that even though dash cams are designed to be relatively easy to connect to your vehicle, there are a few crucial steps you’ll need to follow in order to ensure you’re doing it correctly and not causing any damage to your vehicle.
Do I Have to Hardwire My Dash Cam?
As another part of wondering and asking, “Should I hardwire my dash cam?”, plenty of drivers wonder whether it’s a necessary step to take or not. Again, this depends entirely on the type of camera you’re looking to buy, as some need to be hardwired and others do not.
In most cases, dash cams that come with an internal battery will not need to be hardwired, as they will work entirely using the battery power. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that you’ll be responsible for making sure the batteries are always fully charged before you start driving your vehicle.
Benefits of Hardwiring a Dash Cam
Aside from being able to use your camera to its fullest potential, there are a couple of other advantages to hardwiring.
1. Using the Parking Monitor
The majority of modern dash cams not only record information while your ignition is turned on but while it is off as well, and this is typically referred to as a parking monitor feature. When your vehicle is turned off, and the camera is connected to a constant source of power, any time there is any activity around your vehicle, the camera will automatically turn on and start recording the movement.
Once the movement stops (typically for 10 or more seconds), the dash cam will turn off. This helps make sure that the device conserves energy so that it’s ready whenever you need it.
2. Having a Fully Charged Dash Cam
As mentioned, you can easily purchase a dash cam that does not require any hardwiring, and it will run using traditional battery power, similar to a digital camera. However, it can be a big hassle to continually recharge your dash cam at the end of every trip, especially if you’re the type of person that is likely to forget.
When you take the time to hardwire the device, you’ll have a constant source of power, which helps make sure that your dash cam never runs out of charge and it will always be ready to record activities, whether your car is on or off.
3. Saves You Money
If you’re not able to find a dash cam that comes with a battery, you’ll be responsible for buying a battery pack on your own, which can be quite expensive on top of the cost of the camera itself. This is one of the main reasons that plenty of people choose hardwiring, especially since most dash cams will come equipped with hardwiring materials right out of the box.
Important Tips for Installing a Dash Cam
There are a few important things to think about before you start the installation process and a couple of tips you’ll need to make sure you do properly the first time around.
1. Hire a Professional
As dash cams have become more popular over the years, you can guarantee that most auto shops and electronics stores will have a team of professionals that will be able to hardwire your dash cam for you for a small fee, especially if you buy the device from them. That helps make sure that all the wires are hidden and that you don’t incur any damage to the interior of your vehicle during the installation process.
Also, the professionals will know where to connect the dash cam for optimal performance without compromising the integrity of your vehicle’s battery, though it will cost more than doing it yourself.
2. Buy the Right Dash Cam with Voltage Cutoff
One of the first things you’re going to need to do is to find a dash cam that comes with a built-in voltage cutoff. This essentially means that the device will automatically turn itself off after a certain amount of time once your ignition is off.
The vast majority of dash cams that come with a parking monitor will offer this feature, but it’s still crucial that you double check. Without an integrated voltage cutoff, your camera will continually drain energy from your battery, which is only going to cause an onslaught of problems.
3. Purchase the Right Tools
You can guarantee that you’re going to need to access the front panel of your vehicle in order to hardwire the camera, which means you’re going to need the right tools to make sure you don’t scuff your car’s interior. Not only is this an additional cost that you’ll have to worry about, but you’re going to need to find the right tools for the job.
Your best bet is to find plastic tools that are designed to open panels easily, even for beginners. For extra help, you might even want to search “hardwiring kit” online to get all the pieces you’ll need for a clean and straightforward installation.
Hardwiring is a Great Option for All Drivers
Dealing with a dash cam that runs using its own battery comes with plenty of hassles, which is why it’s always recommended that you rely on hardwiring because once it’s done, you won’t have any unsightly wires hanging around and your camera will always be ready to use. The next time you ask yourself the question “Should I hardwire my dash cam?”, the answer is certainly a “Yes!”