When deciding on the best backup camera for your vehicle, you should weigh several factors like added features and your vehicle’s existing hardware. One of the biggest challenges with an aftermarket camera is the installation process. A store such as Best Buy or a mechanic specializing in modifications can install an aftermarket camera for you, but you’ll pay for both parts and installation.
Below are a few things to keep in mind when picking out the best backup camera for you.
The power from your reverse lights typically supports an external backup camera, which means you’ll have to do some electrical work to connect everything. Depending on the installation kit and your car’s trim, finding the correct wires can take anywhere from minutes to hours.
You typically power aftermarket monitors by plugging a cord from the device into your car’s auxiliary power outlet – better known as the cigarette lighter – although a savvy electrician can power the display through another part of the car.
Installation Complexity: Wired Vs. Wireless
Figuring out where the reverse camera goes on your car is a relatively simple DIY project. Most manufacturers have a mounting system that fits on your license plate frame, and some manufacturers have a bracket that works on the back of an RV or trailer. Either way, reverse cameras don’t require professional installation.
Depending on the car and the system you purchase, you might need to thread the power cable through a hole or a lighting fixture. If neither is an option, you’ll have to drill a hole through your car’s frame near the camera mount. Drilling a hole comes with the risk of water seeping into the vehicle, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve sealed it correctly.
If you wish to avoid the hassle of hiding wires under your car or the possibility of needing to drill into your vehicle, choose a wireless system. Although a wireless signal can have occasional lags and lower video quality, it’s much easier to install.
Your Car’s Existing Display
Many newer cars come with interactive display monitors from the automaker. Some double as screens for backup cameras, while others are just interactive entertainment centers for drivers. If your car already has a monitor, you might be able to save money by getting a camera rather than a complete system with a monitor.
If you’re unhappy with your screen, an aftermarket display is one way to upgrade to your specifications.
Importance of High-Tech Features
One significant consideration is the level of functionality you want from your vehicle. Do you need a touchscreen with a dashcam, or will a simple backup camera work? Something else to think about is continuously running video, which can serve as evidence in an accident. Other things to consider are how complex of a monitor you want and whether you wish to connect other video sources, such as a dashcam or side cameras.
You can probably modify your car to match whatever level of video recording you desire, but it depends on what you’re willing to spend. The best backup camera systems offer high-quality features at reasonable costs.
Most backup camera manufacturers allow you to install the wide-angle camera somewhere on the license plate and offer a high-definition screen that attaches to either the dash, windshield, or rearview mirror.
While the most common location, other common locations include the rear roof of the vehicle. During testing, we found the view can sometimes be limited in this mounting location.