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Dash Cam Maintenance and Upgrade Tips

Dash Cam Maintenance and Upgrade Tips

So you will be ready for all the spring adventures ahead

Ahhh...Spring! The weather is getting better all around and winter driving may finally be behind us. But just as you may be thinking the roads are finally safe again you may not realize that spring brings a whole new road of hazards that you need to pay attention to, from potholes, rain showers and sun glare to pedestrians, cyclists, and animals.

And just like how you need your dash cam to be reliable during the winter, you need it to be in tip top shape in spring as well. We are often contacted by people wondering why their dash cam is misbehaving. So, to help you get your dash cam ready for all the spring adventures ahead, we’ve put together some top tips for you. Got a motorcycle dash cam? These tips work for you, too!

Lens, Windshield & Wipers

You may have centered your dash cam and made sure it captures the right angles, but if the camera lens or the windshield is dirty, you will be left with nothing but blurry, smudgy footage.

Dash Camera Lens

While it isn’t hazardous, a dirty camera lens certainly makes it challenging to record clear images. Even in perfect daytime conditions, dirt and scratches can cause loss of contrast.

For best video recording results, ie. no “blurry” and “foggy” videos or excessive sun glare, you should clean the camera lens regularly.

  1. If you live in a dusty environment, it’s a good idea to first remove the dust from the lens using a soft brush. Wiping the lens with dust still on it could lead to scratches.
  2. Wipe the lens with a non-scratch lens cloth, optionally dampened with isopropyl alcohol.
  3. Make sure to allow the lens to air dry.

You can also reduce glare on your dash cam by using a CPL filter. Make sure to rotate the filter after installation to get the angle just right.

Clean Your Windshield

Not getting crystal clean video quality? A dirty windshield could be the problem, especially for those who drove on heavily salted roads. Salt stains can quickly collect on car windshields during winter, leaving a white and gray film.

You can use your wipers, but a common problem with many vehicles is that the windshield wipers do not cover the entirety of the windshield, ie. the upper portion. This is especially true for older Honda Civics. While it’s always a good idea to have the camera in an area that the wipers will reach, sometimes it’s easier said than done.

When cleaning your windshield, stick with a non-ammonia based cleaner to avoid leaving an invisible film that can refract light. In other words, avoid cheap Windex, etc. You can try a 50-50 solution of water and white vinegar.

Don’t Forget the Wiper Blades

Blades are easy to overlook - until you need them to see through rain and muddy road spray from other cars. Clean the blades with a paper towel or cloth soaked in windshield washer fluid (or a mild detergent). And don’t forget about the rear windshield wipers, too, if you have them.

MicroSD Cards

One of the main reasons for a dash cam to falter is because the SD card has not been regularly formatted and/or the microSD card has not been changed when it is worn out (ie. unable to store data any longer), which can happen when you drive a lot, or if you have left your vehicle and dash cam in storage during the winter (ahem, bikers, yes, talking about you here).

Make sure you have the right SD card for the job

All dash cams we carry have continuous loop recording, which means when the memory card is full, it will automatically overwrite the oldest video. If you plan on doing a lot of driving, you may want to consider getting a larger capacity SD card. A higher capacity SD card means more data can fit onto the card before it runs out of storage space and needs to start overwriting old data.

All memory cards have a read/write lifespan. For instance, say you have a 32GB microSD card in your Thinkware U1000 2-Channel dash cam, which will hold about an hour and 30 minutes of recording; and say you drive about a combined 90 minutes to and from work each day. That’s one total write a day. If the SD card is good for 500 total writes, you’ll be needing to replace the card in a year - that’s considering you only use your car for work and you don’t have parking monitoring enabled, because if you do, then you will be looking for a replacement much sooner. If you upgrade to an SD card with a larger capacity, you will be able to record more before overwriting kicks in, thus ultimately not requiring to replace the SD card. It is important you use an SD card from a reliable source that can handle the stress of continuously overwriting.

Want to check out the recording capacities of SD cards on other popular dash cam models, including the BlackVue DR900S-2CH or the VIOFO A129 Pro Duo? We have a SD Card Recording Capability chart for you!

Format Your microSD Card

Because of the way the dash cam writes and overwrites on the SD card (ie. starting and stopping recordings as you turn your car on and off), it is important to format the card in your dash cam periodically. This is because partial files can clog up the card, resulting in performance issues or false memory full errors.

So, with that said, it is recommended that you format the memory car at least once a month. This can be done via the on-screen menu on the dash cam, using the smartphone app, or via a desktop viewer.

Note that when you format an SD card, you will be erasing all existing data and information on the card. So, if there’s any important footage you need to save, you will need to back up the files first. If you have a Cloud-compatible dash cam (like the BlackVue DR900S or the Thinkware U1000) you can back up the files onto the Cloud, first.

Dash Cam Firmware

Does your dash cam have the latest firmware? Don’t remember the last time you updated your dash cam’s firmware?

Update the Dash Cam Firmware

The truth is, not that many people are aware that they can update their dash cam’s firmware. When a manufacturer launches a new dash cam, the camera is assembled with a firmware that was designed at that time. After the dash cam has been released, users may find that there are bugs and problems. The manufacturer investigates these problems and produces fixes for them in the form of firmware updates. Updates generally contain fixes or feature enhancements, but will also include new features. These are all essentially free upgrades to your dash cam.

We recommend checking for updates after you purchase a new dash cam, and then on a semi-regular basis, every few months or so after that. If you’ve never checked your dash cam for a firmware update then now is a good time to do so.

  1. First, check what version of firmware your dash cam is running. This information is found within your dash cam’s menu options.
  2. Next, check the manufacturer’s website for the latest firmware. (Tip: Check in the Support and Download section)
  3. Read the instructions very carefully before updating the firmware - you don’t want to end up having a dead dash cam.

Getting the Latest Firmware

Time to Upgrade Your Dash Cam

Our Big Spring Clearance Sale Happening Now

Save up to $50 OFF many of your favorite Thinkware and BlackVue models - including the Thinkware U1000 and the BlackVue DR750S-2CH IR, perfect for drivers of UberEats, DoorDash and other rideshare/food delivery apps.

Say you’ve cleaned your windshield and the dash cam lens, and you’ve reformatted the SD card and you’ve updated to the latest firmware, but you’re still not completely satisfied with your dash cam’s video quality. Perhaps you are looking for better night vision? Or perhaps you’re ready to ditch your WiFi-only system and jump onto the Cloud so you can get real-time GPS tracking on your vehicle and driver? It’s time to upgrade to a better unit! But…

I don’t want to re-do all the wiring and mounts

Well, if this applies to you, then we recommend staying with the same manufacturer.

For example, say you have the BlackVue DR750S-2CH and you want to upgrade to a 4K UHD dash cam, then we recommend the BlackVue DR900S-2CH. All the cables are interchangeable between the two models, so all you need to do is unplug the DR750S front and rear cameras, remove them from the windshield, and mount the DR900S front and rear cameras on the exact same spots (and of course, connect it with the existing wires and cables).

This is also the same case if you are upgrading from the Thinkware F800 Pro Full HD to the Q800PRO 2K UHD dash cam, or from the VIOFO A129 Duo Full HD to the VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K UHD dash cam.

The new dash cam I want to get doesn’t offer an IR in-cabin camera

Well, if this applies to you, or if you are a new Uber/Lyft driver in need of an IR dash cam system to protect you on and off the road, then we recommend staying with the same dash cam manufacturer.

For instance, If you already have a VIOFO A129 installed in your vehicle and would like to upgrade to a 4K dash cam, you can get the VIOFO A129 Pro 4K 1-Channel model and just connect it to the A129’s IR camera. Rear cameras are the same for these two models, so you can even reuse the writing and mounts.

However, if you are looking to upgrade your existing Thinkware FA200 2-CH IRC, do be warned that the FA200 IRC is the only in-cabin IR dash cam from Thinkware. If you want to upgrade to a 4K UHD IR dash cam system, we recommend the BlackVue DR900S-2CH IR system.

I need better parking mode recording for parking extended periods at the airport

If you are looking for best-in-class parking mode features, we strongly recommend the Thinkware U1000 dash cam with the RADAR sensor.

I am starting a summer food truck business with my buddies and we need a system where we can all connect to a central viewer for easier management

What you need is a multi-channel, tamper-proof dashcam system and it needs to be a smart system and is remotely accessible, giving a comprehensive view of the vehicle and the road. Cloud integration offers scope for instant alerts and notifications and thus transforming any vehicle into a “connected vehicle” on and off the road.

Cloud dash cams are much more useful than simply downloading footage after an incident. Whether your main goal is to protect your drivers and vehicles, eliminate fraud attempts on your business, keep your drivers accountable, or reduce your insurance premiums, equipping your fleet vehicles with cloud-ready dash cams is a worthwhile investment.

Learn more about how Cloud dash cams can help you manage your fleet on our article: Smarter Fleet Management with the Cloud.

Now Your Dash Cam is Ready for Spring

Follow the tips above to get your dash cam ready for Spring and Summer. If you have any questions or if you want to speak to our dash cam experts, you can always find us online via email or Live Chat. You can also give us a call, too!

Our Big Spring Clearance Sale Happening Now

Save up to $50 OFF many of your favorite Thinkware and BlackVue models - including the Thinkware U1000 and the BlackVue DR750S-2CH IR, perfect for drivers of UberEats, DoorDash and other rideshare/food delivery apps.

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Based on 4468 reviews
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I don’t install yet

Less Strain On Car Battery (2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate)

It has been 4 days since the installation of the Cellink NEO Battery, serviced by a fantastic installation team. The NEO gives me an ease of mind knowing that it has added an extra 13-15 hours of running time to my Dual Channel Thinkware U-1000 dash cam system whilst my vehicle is turned off (parking mode). First off, it has been less stressful for me when starting my car because I don't see the "Battery Discharged" warning anymore, knowing that the NEO has put less strain on my car battery. Additionally, with a 40 minute drive-to-charge time frame, it isn't bad at all as my commute to and from work equates to approximately 45 minutes. Therefore, I get a full charge on the NEO that gives me 20-22 hours of run-time on my dash cam. One advice I would give to potential dash-cam buyers in making the jump to buy this battery is: if you haven't gotten a dash cam yet and if you are opting for the installation service, purchase your dash cam and the NEO together and pay for just 1 installation. I made the mistake of having to pay for 2 separate installation services because I decided to buy the battery later on and could have saved $200.

Hi Kevin, thanks for leaving a review. Great advice! Hope you're loving your Cellink NEO. Come back anytime if you have any other questions.
Fits 2020 Rav4 XSE hybrid

I installed this on the small space right hand forward of the spare tire. The thickness of the Cell link Neo is just perfect. It it was a little bit thicker the rear cover will not be flush with the floor. Negative connection was done directly to the vehicle 12V accessory battery as it is mounted at the right rear tail. ACC input was connected to the accessory rear 12V outlet. Cell link Neo powers 2 Garmin dash cam minis.

I wish the Cell link Neo have an option to change the name in the app. I have another Neo battery on another vehicle and it is hard to remember the serial numbers. But overall it works great.

Hi there, thanks for leaving a detailed review. Glad to hear that the Cellink NEO is everything you're looking for :) let us know if you have any questions in the future.
Easy installation

Works as described

Hi Vinh, thanks for leaving a review!

Great service

Thanks for leaving a review, William!
Product and shipping

Shipping and blackboxmycar are great.

Product is expensive and 3m tape will not fit properly. For an expensive product from thinkware i would assume products would come with vehicle specific or general items to install properly. Other options than the 3m tape.

Keep in mind to take measurements for placing the main unit. It may not fit or able to be placed under your seat.

I have spent more money on a front stand and bolted the camera. The rear camera ive made brackets and bolted it.

Hi Blkhze, thanks for leaving a review! Sorry to hear that, but glad to see that you found a solution. If you have any future questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us directly.
A pricey dash cam

Very pricey, yet not quite the "jump" in video quality I expected for the huge pricetag.
When the vehicle is not in motion, then video quality is very crisp and clear. However, as soon as your vehicle is in motion (driving...) the video becomes extremely "contrasted" almost like it is over-correcting for image quality, and in-turn making it worse. I had a rexing V1 (1080p) for 3 years, and saved me through 2 hit & runs... simple, good quality, cheap. I expected the jump to 4k to be huge... The video is "brighter" at best, but my Rexing V1 was definitely smoother while driving. Hopefully this is something a firmware update can fix. I have messed with the 2K @ 60fps, but the video quality drops noticeably... to worse than my 1080P Rexing V1. (Doesnt add up)
I have had my eyes on this camera since before it came out, but I am still hoping it can pull through...

Hi Kyle, thank you for leaving a review. We will definitely relay this feedback back to Thinkware. They're constantly working on new firmware for their models, especially the U1000, so we do expect it to get even better over time. That said, have you updated your dash cam to the latest firmware? If you need help, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team. We're here to help!
BlackboxMyCar is Excellent!

Incredibly fast service! Excellent price! Perfectly packaged! Thank you.

Hi Theo, thanks for leaving a review. We try our best! ;)
Excellent item

Bought this filter for my sister and my brother in law they both love it

Hi Michael, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to see that your sister and brother-in-law loves it.
Convenient

I purchased a spare ScanDisk SD card for my BlackVue. Not much to say.. Good quality and value.

Hi DJ, thanks for leaving a review!

[$50 OFF] Thinkware U1000 4K UHD Dual-Channel Cloud Dash Cam

Thanks for leaving the review, Pavlo!
Service

The best in customer service and advice.

Thanks for leaving a review, Alan. We try our best ;)
Awesome Product and Support

BackBoxMyCar helped me make figure out which Dash Cam system was best for my 2015 Lexus RX350. Their live chat team is great to work with and they made figuring out the best dash cam for me very easy. After having it installed I am very impressed with the reliability and capability of this product. Also it was shipped out to me in less then 3 business days, which I found really impressive. Going forward I will continue to purchase from BlackBox due to this wonderful experience.

Hi Ben, thanks for leaving a review! We try our best to help our customers, so we're glad to hear that you had a great time with us! Come back anytime.
Excellent Purchase and Service from BlackBoxMyCar

This radar module was a great addition to my Thinkware U1000 dash cam system. The setup was very straight forward and this accessory is a must for passive parking mode. BlackBoxMyCar helped me with decision to make this smart purchase through the help with one of there representatives on live chat. Their customer support team is world class and very helpful.

Hi Ben, thanks for leaving a review! We try our best to help our customers, so we're glad to hear that you had a great time with us! Come back anytime.
Fast shipping and great communication

I found this website after looking at youtube videos with vortexradar after searching for dash cameras. I have a 4 year old a119 that I have tried for hours and hours over the years to update the firmware on with no luck. It also isnt 4k and it doesn't have wifi. I find it a pain in the butt to take the memory card out and have to use the computer to download files. Now I can do it via wifi with my phone. Wifi is working fine for me with their app. I liked the a119 wedge shape and this is essentially the exact shape. The mounts are not compatible but not a big deal. This a129 pro has a much more substantial feel to it but isn't any bigger than the old model. I kind of wish I had ordered the rear camera bundle at the same time but I can always order the rear camera later. Everybody needs a dash camera to avoid the he said/she said bs that happens when there is an accident.

These guys ship fast. I am in Washington and ordered on a Monday. Camera arrived 2 days later on Wednesday. I had several texts and emails during that time keeping me updated on the progress of my order. I was so impressed that I am thinking about buying my next radar detector from them, the 360c. I am not sure if I am getting that one but that is the only one they carry.

Hi David, thanks for leaving a review. We hope you're staying safe out in Washington! We're glad to hear that you're loving your VIOFO and it's everything you need. Do reach out anytime if you have any other questions. One more thing, if you're interested in any other models of radar detectors, do reach out and ask. We may be able to source it for you at a great price. Thanks!

[LOW QUANTITY] VIOFO A119 V3 QHD+ Dash Cam

Hi Larry, thanks for leaving a review!

[$50 OFF] Thinkware U1000 4K UHD Dual-Channel Cloud Dash Cam

Hi Gerald, thanks for leaving a review!
The complete package!

I recently purchased a thinkware F800 front and rear camera combo for my M4. After researching, I heard that BMWs are sensitive to voltage drops when the camera is in parking mode.

I purchased the battery and searched youtube for a camera install video. Ironically the video I watched was a video blackbox my car made specifically for the BMW M4! Great products provided and great tutorials that helped me get it installed, thanks again Blackboxmycar!!

Thanks for leaving a review, and an image as well! We're glad to see that you had a great experience with us, Rob. If you have any questions, come back anytime!
A nice dash cam with GPS capabilities

I am very satisfied with the Viofo A119 V3 camera after using it for a week or so. It takes great video and is simple to operate. With the included GPS base I can select the speed and/or location to be recorded on the video. I just installed the optional wiring harness but have not experimented with the parking mode as of yet. Overall I am very satisfied with the build quality. The menu is easy to maneuver through and the buttons on the front are easy to use even when driving. I would definitely purchase this again!

Hi David, thanks for leaving a review! We're glad to hear that you're loving your VIOFO as much as we do.
Excellent cam

Good rear view cam with great picture. Awesome thank you!

Hi Raymond, thanks for leaving a review!
So far so good.

Good tracking notice. I’ve only had it for a short time so I’m still playing with it to get it figured out. Video is very good quality (I’ve only used it in daylight so I can speak for nighttime). Instructions are minimal but I was able to get it figured out since it is pretty simplistic (I had to search the internet to get the time zone properly set). As it stands now I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good and simple dash cam.

Hi Jeff, thank you for purchasing at BlackboxMyCar, and thank you for leaving a review! We're glad to hear that the VIOFO was everything you were looking for. That said, if you have questions in the future, please don't hesitate to reach out to our support team. We are always here to help!
Viofo 3 Hardwire Kit

Installation seamless and easy. Made for cleaner setup. Highly recommended over using the provided cigarette lighter/USB.

Hi Mark, thanks for leaving a review!
Alex

I wrote one over a week ago didn’t you bother to read it?

Let me know if you lost it!

Hi Jim, we definitely read it and responded to it ;) We have let our Marketing team know to adjust the amount of review requests that get sent out. Thank you for leaving another review regardless!
courteous and prompt communication, item shipped promptly

I ordered dash cams and accessories from blackboxmycar and have been very happy with their services. I had to communicate with them several times regarding my order, including talking to them over the phone and emailing them. Every single time I received very courteous response and satisfactory answers. The items were shipped promptly and I had them professionally installed. Overall, I am very satisfied. Thank you.

Hi Chin, thank you for shopping at BlackboxMyCar, and for visiting our office! Glad that our team was able to help you with everything that you needed.
Easy to install, easy to use!

BlackBoxMyCar sent everything I needed to install my Viofo A119 V3. A quick YouTube search gave me the easy steps for burying the wires and finding my fuse box for my F-150. And I was off and running! Thanks a bunch!

Hi Adam, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to hear that it all worked out for you :)