Are Dash Cams Worth Buying?

Published on
August 30, 2022

There are so many ways drivers these days become distracted. With smartphones in the car and other distractions, sometimes drivers just don’t keep their eyes on the road. Given their new popularity, you may be wondering are dash cams worth buying.

If you’re looking for ways to drive more safely and protect yourself if you do get in an accident, a dash cam might be a good investment for your car.

What Is a Dash Cam?  

A dash cam is a small digital camera that sits on the dashboard of your vehicle and records anything that happens within its view. The camera itself can be rotated to record video of the interior of your vehicle or out of a side window. There are also camera options available that record from your rearview mirror.

How Does a Dash Cam Work?

A dash cam is typically mounted on the dashboard and powered through the car’s cigarette lighter port. They can also be professionally hardwired into your car’s battery. If the device is newer, you can likely transmit the video data to your smartphone or computer through bluetooth or WiFi. Some older models may use a MicroSD card that you’ll put into a computer to retrieve the data.

Most dash cams have a built-in screen to allow you to navigate through footage or adjust settings without using a phone or laptop. Dash cams can help you in a bunch of situations.

Settle Insurance Claims

Some insurance companies offer discounts for dash cam usage because it can help settle claims. If you are in an accident and have video footage from a dash cam to prove who is at fault, your claim can be processed faster. If you are not at fault, it could prevent your monthly premiums from going up.

Check the Safety of Your Car

If you are parked on a street or in a neighborhood where you don’t normally, you can use your dash cam to check on the safety of your car. Some dash cams can be triggered by motion, so if someone tries to break into your car, the theft will be recorded.

Drive With Extra Caution and Challenge Tickets

Some dash cams act as extra eyes on the road and provide safety alerts when you exceed the speed limit, depart from your lane or are in danger of a collision. And if you are wrongly given a moving violation, dash cam footage can help you get the violation dismissed.

Here’s How to Install a Dash Cam

Generally, you have a few options for installing your dash cam. First, you can simply plug the power cord into the device and into the cigarette lighter port in your car. You can also power the dash cam with OBD cables or with a battery pack, which powers the cam when the car is in park.

The final option is to hardwire the dash cam to your battery with the following steps:

Select the Position

Decide on how you want to position your dash cam on the dashboard. It’s best to have the dash cam arm lengths from the driver's seat. Locate your car's cigarette lighter or auxiliary port. These are usually located under the dash near the center console.

Arrange the Cables

Start by laying out the cable along where it will run behind the interior panels of your car. This will help you know how to route the cable and how much slack you need to reach the auxiliary port. Begin by inserting the power cable. Lightly pull on the rubber trim along the A-pillar to reveal a gap so you know where to run the cable from the headliner down to the auxiliary port. You can also remove the A-pillar, which will give you better access to run the power cable. Note that most A-pillar covers can be removed.  

Fuse Cables

Fuse the cable while the car engine is on. This makes it so that the dash cam automatically turn on while the car engine is on. Don’t forget to check that there are no cables that may interfere with your view of the road.

Buying Advice

Want some help choosing the best dash cam for your car? Here are some of our favorite picks.

Garmin Dash Cam 67w Auto Sync

The best front dash cam for 2022 is the Garmin Dash Cam 67w Auto Sync. This device has great video quality. Viewing angle is 180-degrees, with an integrated GPS. One downside is that you may need two additional cameras for the most video coverage. The battery for this dash cam only lasts 30 minutes, so we recommend permanently hardwiring it to your car.

Thinkware U1000

Another option is the Thinkware U1000. It has a 4k front and 156-degrees viewing in the front and rear of your vehicle. The selling point here is thatthis dash cam has speeding and red light warnings. The speed and red light warnings are beneficial for families with teen drivers.

There is also an optional rear view camera. The rear view camera shoots 2k 140p at 30fps. It also has a 156-degree lens view.

Nexbase 622GW

The Nextbase 622GW is another alternative. It gives you the ability to see both front and rear views and comes with built-in Amazon Alexa technology. The voice-activated feature allows you to adjust your music or ask for directions without having to use your hands, and there is an emergency response feature as well. It has a 4k screen display and a 140-degree lens.  

So, are Dash Cams Worth It?  

If you’re looking for a way to protect yourself in the instance of tickets or accidents, or if you have a new driver in your family, a dash cam might be a good idea for you. Dash cams are small, easy to use, and can provide extremely useful information in certain situations. For a small investment, you can make a big difference in your safety.

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