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How to Choose the Perfect Dash Cam for Your Winter Drive

How to Choose the Perfect Dash Cam for Your Winter Drive

It's snowing in Vancouver, BC, and as always, snow brings traffic chaos (Yes, us on the West Coast are spoiled by nice mild winters).

While there are many things you can do to winterize your drive, there isn’t much you can do to ensure total safety on the roads, especially when everyone's skidding and sliding all over the roads. That's when having a dash cam really comes in handy. No, a dash cam will not prevent the bus from sliding down the hill right into your car, but it will give you the video evidence you need to prove that "it wasn't my fault!"

So what should you look for in a dash cam for your winter drive?

1. 4K UHD video footage

You cannot afford to have a sub-par dash cam that captures nothing but an unclear and pointless view of the situation. The industry standard now is 2K QHD or 4K UHD. Got questions about 4K dash cams?

What we recommend: A dash cam that is capable of recording highest possible resolution in the front and rear cameras for a complete front-and-back of car coverage, and we recommend the Thinkware U1000 2-CH 4K UHD dash cam or the BlackVue DR900S 2-CH 4K dash cam. On a budget? There's the VIOFO A129 Pro Duo, too!

2. Night vision and auto-exposure correction

The dash cam's night vision, or its capacity to record high-quality video during night-time or low-light conditions is extremely important as winter brings early darkness every day, making it more difficult to see through the fog and snow - especially in the dark. A dash cam with night vision is the only way to go.

What we recommend: High-quality dash cams equipped with Sony Exmor or Sony STARVIS image sensors as well as image auto-correction technologies like Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). The Thinkware U1000 2-CH 4K UHD dash cam and the BlackVue DR900S 2-CH 4K dash cam are great cameras in this aspect.

3. Built for extreme temperatures

You might have read stories about dash cams failing in cold weather. While the damage caused by a deep winter freeze is not as severe as the scorching summer heat, if a dash cam is outside of its operating temperature range, it will slow down or shut down. Don’t forget, the dash cam is just another piece of recording device, like your mobile phone or DSLR camera, and temperature outside of the dash cam's operating temperature range will affect the image sensors, which will affect the quality of the captured footage.

So what if temperatures fall below the operating temperature range and your dash cam won’t start? No need to panic just yet. Chances are, when temperatures drop to below freezing, the windshield will frost over, which means you will need to defrost the windows before you can drive off anyways. Luckily, the warm air you're blowing on the windshield is sufficient to warm up the dash cam, and when it's time to start driving, the dash cam would be ready to jump into action.

And what if there's snow and ice build-up or condensation on the windshield blocking the camera? Unfortunately, when weather and road conditions gets worse, excess of snow and ice accumulating on the windshield will block the dash cam's view, so would condensation. A proper installation can help lessen the problem. Like all electronics, dash cams tend to heat up when in use so if the dash cam is hugging the windshield, the heat it gives off is often enough to melt the snow and ice enough for you to wipe down.

What we recommend: While the IROAD X9 is an excellent camera for extreme heat conditions, we recommend the Thinkware U1000 2-CH 4K UHD dash cam and the BlackVue DR900S 2-CH 4K dash cam for winter driving.

4. Winter Time Battery Protection

Winter driving typically puts a higher strain on the car battery, especially with higher demands of accessories like headlights and windshield wipers. On a cold day, these extra demands can zap your battery fast and you certainly don't want to add more burden to your car battery - being left stranded on the side of the road with a dead car battery is just as traumatic.

What we recommend: The Thinkware U1000 2-CH 4K UHD dash cam or the Thinkware Q800PRO 2-CH 2K QHD dash cam as they come with built-in voltage meters that can prevent car battery drainage by automatically powering off when the car battery's voltage level is running low. The voltage meter is configurable for wintertime.

5. External Battery Pack for Parking Mode

While many accidents happen on the road, some happens when the car is parked and the driver is away. Ever returned to a car to find the windows smashed, sides scraped, etc.? It can get very traumatic, and even more so it's dark and freezing cold outside. Luckily, most dash cam offer parking mode recording - which means the camera doesn't stop recording just because the car's powered off, and one way of ensuring a steady power supply is to hardwire the dash cam to the car's battery.

But during cold winter months, we recommend getting an external battery pack to power your dash cam’s parking mode run-time instead. This way, you eliminate any chances of over-exhaustion on the car’s battery. The last thing you want is being stranded in a parking lot with a dead car battery, in the middle of a snow storm.

What we recommend: The Cellink NEO Battery Pack. It is a lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) cell and is built to withstand extreme temperatures. Need to make sure they have enough power for an extending parking mode? You can link up as many extended batteries to the Cellink NEO as you need.

6. Cloud Ready

There is more to a dash cam’s Cloud capabilities than just live streaming your travels.

Here are some of the benefits that a cloud-ready dash cam can bring to your drive during the wintertime:

  • Push Notifications - receive notifications on your phone when an accident occurs, whether the vehicle is in drive or park
  • Remote Live View - remotely monitor your vehicle in real-time from anywhere; comes in handy when the weather is getting worse and you want to see if you should bring out the shovel to dig your car out, or just abandon it altogether
  • Cloud Backup - videos are immediately available via the Internet using the mobile viewer app, and if the dash cam gets stolen or damaged, the videos are safe in your cloud storage account
  • Two-way voice communication - you can communicate with any smartphone connected to your dash cam, comes in handy when you need them to send roadside assistance

What we recommend: The Thinkware U1000 2-CH 4K UHD dash cam or the BlackVue DR900S 2-CH 4K dash cam are both great cloud-ready dash cams.

Expert Tip: Spare SD Card

In general, SD cards are temperature tolerant. For instance, SanDisk rates all of their cards down to -13 °F. Any good-quality SD card will operate in any weather your camera will operate. But, we still recommend having a spare SD card handy, even if it’s a smaller one, for all the “just in case” situations, ie. you want to save that jaw-dropping clip of a family of deer galloping in the snow.

When buying an SD card, do watch out for poor quality or fake SD cards. Unfortunately, there is a large market of fake SD cards and while some of these fake SD cards have no-name brands, most of them look legit. Using a poor quality or incompatible SD card on your dash cam may cause your dash cam to stop recording and even shut down. You can read more about it on our article Best SD Card for 4K Dash Cams.

What we recommend: Our advice is to only buy from trusted resellers. eBay and Amazon are known to have a large problem with sellers distributing fake SD cards. When in doubt, use your common sense. If the price is much lower than the general market price, there is a high chance that the SD card is not genuine. And you can always pick up a spare SD card from our website.

Conclusion

While you can't just stay home and avoid the road the entire winter, you can winterize your drive so that you are better equipped for any situations or incidents. Got questions or want more tips on how to winterize your dash cam system for the winter season? Come talk to us! Until next time, Safe Driving, everyone!

Previous article Thinkware and BlackVue Unveil Most Connected Dash Cams at CES 2020
Next article Let's Make 2020 Your Clearest Year Yet

Based on 4289 reviews
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Why are these not more popular? Easy setup and operation. and will work to protect the system battery nicely.

It's a nice dashcam but I don't like the fact that I couldn't zoom into my videos on the phone app but only on a computer,so I sent it back and get the blackvue dr900s 2channel which is very awesome. But I really like the customer service at blackboxmycar, they are very helpful and answer all your questions.

Good but not perfect. But darn, they just announced an improved model!

Easy installation. I installed this to replace a 360 view dashcam that had terrible image quality. I’m very technically experienced and the app/install was not intuitive, but it all worked. Many of the online reviews that said the app was totally unusable seem a bit harsh. Image isn’t quite as crisp as I had hoped, but reasonably good. Candidly, the biggest disappointment is that the day after installing the camera, I received the announcement from BlackVue that they’ve announced at CES improvements to this camera and an even better 4GLTE camera! I depended on the advice from BlackboxMyCar and would have waiting for the updated models.

A must have for your car

The picture quality is great even in night mode very clear. A good investment for your safety.

Price and Quality sweet spot

My first dashcam, I installed with the additional 3-wire ACC kit in my 2010 Colorado Crew Cab. My only gripe is that I wish the rear camera could also be connected through the GPS module so that I don't have to disconnect the cable when removing the camera from my truck to look at footage. I find it easier to pop off the camera from the GPS mount, then connect with the supplied mini-USB cable to my laptop. Otherwise, the image and audio quality is really great, and it has all the necessary functions.

Really good dashcam, but......

Have really no complains withe the cam itself but the rear cam I can't use as the is no place to stick it to as the back of my truck is all fabric. If your gonna buy a dashcam that has front and rear cameras make sure there somewhere to stick it to. It would be nice if there were a small suction mount for rear camera as well. All in all I would recommend buying this dash cam!

love it

had mine installed Monday 1/20/2020 and it is working great

Hi John, thanks for leaving a review!
The best!

So professional and so knowledgeable. There was no question I had that they didn't have an answer for. They helped make my decision easy for what is a relatively expensive purchase.

Hi Kevin, thanks for leaving a review. Glad to hear that our team was able to help you out with all your needs!
BlackVue Power Magic EZ

Excellent products, prices and customer services very helpful.

Hi John, thanks for leaving a review! Let us know if you have any questions in the future.
2nd day of usage records crash

I installed two A119V3s - front and rear on my vehicle. I never got the chance to review any recordings. On the morning of the second day using them, while stopped at a STOP sign, I was rear-ended by a pick-up truck. I was pleasantly surprised to see that both units performed flawlessly.

What are the odds,lol?

During installation, I had a few questions which were quickly answered by the BlackboxMyCar staff. A truly professional business! BTW, video quality was excellent !!!

Hi TV, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to hear that you're loving your VIOFO, but even happier to hear that you're okay. Let's hope you don't get in any more accidents, but do reach out at anytime if you have any other questions.
Great camera setup, with one flaw...

Great camera setup, with one flaw...
I purchased the Viofo A129 Pro Duo with the Cellink Neo battery and HK3 ACC Hardwire kit, including an extra CPL filter for the rear camera. The video quality of the cameras are quite good. I've had four others made by Rexing and the Vantrue X1 and X3. The feel of these cameras are substantial, feels well made compared to others I've had and the mounts really hold. The CPL filters also appear to be made from quality materials and the wiring harnesses are excellent.

One of the features that I really wanted to take advantage of was the Auto Event Detection, while in parking mode. This feature buffers several seconds of video in memory ahead of an event so that when something does happen, it commits what is in memory to the microSD card and you don't lose the initial impact of the event. Otherwise, when nothing is happening, the camera is always watching but it is not writing to the microSD card. A great feature, but it does not work if you use the included GPS mount...what? So you have to decide, do you want GPS data or do you want Auto Event Detection; you can't have both!

I have sent a request to the support team to see if they can submit this as a future feature enhancement through a firmware update. I hope they can make that work, but for now this is why I can't give this a five star review.

Hi MWood, thank you for the feedback. We will keep that in mind and will relay that over to the VIOFO team as well. They do continuously upgrade their dash cam firmware, so we wouldn't be surprised if this gets addressed in the near future. Do let us know if you have any other feedback. Thanks for leaving a review!
Great camera setup, with one flaw...

I purchased the Viofo A129 Pro Duo with the Cellink Neo battery and HK3 ACC Hardwire kit, including an extra CPL filter for the rear camera. The video quality of the cameras are quite good. I've had four others made by Rexing and the Vantrue X1 and X3. The feel of these cameras are substantial, feels well made compared to others I've had and the mounts really hold. The CPL filters also appear to be made from quality materials and the wiring harnesses are excellent.

One of the features that I really wanted to take advantage of was the Auto Event Detection, while in parking mode. This feature buffers several seconds of video in memory ahead of an event so that when something does happen, it commits what is in memory to the microSD card and you don't lose the initial impact of the event. Otherwise, when nothing is happening, the camera is always watching but it is not writing to the microSD card. A great feature, but it does not work if you use the included GPS mount...what? So you have to decide, do you want GPS data or do you want Auto Event Detection; you can't have both!

I have sent a request to the support team to see if they can submit this as a future feature enhancement through a firmware update. I hope they can make that work, but for now this is why I can't give this a five star review.

Hi MWood, thank you for the feedback. We will keep that in mind and will relay that over to the VIOFO team as well. They do continuously upgrade their dash cam firmware, so we wouldn't be surprised if this gets addressed in the near future. Do let us know if you have any other feedback. Thanks for leaving a review!
Very Satisfied

Installation and setup was easy.

Hi David, thanks for leaving a review!
Easiest way

This plug is the easiest way to plug in your dash cam.
Shipped fast and was a good deal.

Hi Colin, thank you for leaving a review! Glad to hear that you love your purchase.
First Dash Cam purchase

After searching the internet for dash cam retailers, I settled on BlackBoxMyCar and I am very happy I chose them. I'm very pleased with my Viofo A129 Duo. I was able to have several questions answered on-line and that was a key factor in selecting my dash cam and BlackBoxMyCar. They will be my go to vendor for my next dash cam.

Hi John, thanks for purchasing from BlackboxMyCar. We're glad to have you as a happy customer :) Let us know at any time if you have any questions in the future.

VIOFO A119 V3 QHD+ Dash Cam

Hi Laenard, thanks for leaving a review!
Great item

Getting installed Monday 1/20/2020

Hi John, thanks for leaving a review!
Very Satisfied

I purchased the suction cup mount to allow me to transfer my Viofo A119V3 between vehicles.

The A119 V3 fits very securely onto the suction cup mount. This mount is superior to those I have used with other devices e.g. GPS in that it offers adjustment in both tilting and rotating, both of which can be locked in position, and when coupled with the titling lens it is very easy to get the best position for the Dashcam.

I found it very easy to secure the mount to my windshield.

Recommended if you intend to move the Dashcam between vehicles or to rental cars.

Hi David, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to hear that the suction cup mount was exactly what you were looking for.
Right fit

I ordered a part for my new car , It all worked out thank you.

Hi Spencer, thanks for leaving a review. Glad to hear that it all worked out for you. Let us know if you have any questions!
Awesome Rideshare Setup!

First of all! Very nice and knowledgeable people at blackboxmycar! Second very nice setup with power magic pro wiring kit! Also very discrete design! Love the video quality! Especially at night with the Sony Starvis! Overall good setup! Can barely see the cams. Thanks again Blackboxmycar.com/BlackVue!!! 👍👍👍

Hi Eric, thanks for purchasing from BlackboxMyCar. Glad to hear that your dash cam worked out for you! Thanks for including pictures as well :) Looks great!
Very Good - not yet great. But getting there.

I purchased the BlackVue DR900S 2 channel with interior facing IR after an attempted theft of my 2019 F-150 Lariat. It was already a purchase I had been considering in order to add a layer of security during both active and passive vehicle usage and I didn't hesitate to go with BMC given the number of positive reviews.

After a fast and painless exchange via email, BMC matched a lower price point offer for the kit that I had found on the internet. BMC even included a slightly larger storage card. Shipping and receipt went smoothly.

If I can fault BMC it is in the install and "commissioning" of the dash cam. Though I had done a fair bit of research and certainly am not one to shy away from peeling off some trim or crimping some wires, there was no step-by-step guide to installation that would have given an illustrated and comprehensive explanation of the process; now, this information exists and I was able to access it, but it was still a bit of a patchwork construction and an installation that I thought might take one hour took 2 days.

All said, though, the system is now up and running, so far flawlessly, in my vehicle. There has been a lot of trial and error, but the dash cam community is helpful and all of the information is available. You just need to look for it.

I will post a video review of my installation shortly - including hardwired battery installation.

Hi Alexander, thank you for leaving a review! We're glad to hear that we were able to help you with your order. You brought up some great points, and we will definitely take your feedback to heart for the future. We hope that the dash cam works out for you. Please let us know if you have any questions in the future.

BlackboxMyCar Add-A-Fuse Kit

Hi Brian, thanks for leaving a review!
VIOFO A119 12V Auto Hardwire Kit

Quality hardwire kit with reasonable length to the A119 and to the 12V battery source. Voltage reducer is small enough to fit in small spaces with rounded corners for ease of fishing into place. Fuse holder streamlined but difficult to open at first, 2nd time ok.

Hi Chester, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to hear that you were able to figure it out and install your VIOFO. Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks!
the ONLY place I can find this replacement part online

Blackboxmycar is the only place I could find that sells the cigarette socket power output cable for the Cellink Neo.
Fast shipping. Item as described.

Hi J. Kim, we're glad to hear you were able to find what you were looking for at our store. Thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar!
Great Kit- Everything you need

Our techs were able to install the dash camera and the Power Magic Pro with no problem by using this Essential Kit. We've bought 13 units so far. Very pleased.

Hi Jennifer, thanks for leaving a review. We're glad to hear that you have found everything you need in our Essential Installation Kits. Thanks!