- Start Here
- #1 What is it?
- #2 Why Dash Cams?
- #3 Parking Mode
- #4 Other Features
- #5 Recommendations
New to Dash Cams?
Not to worry! Through our 5 Minute Guide to Dash Cams, you can become an expert! Our simple, 5 step guide covers everything you can, and should consider when finding the right setup for you! We cover all of the basics, from:
- What Dash Cams are, and how simple they can be!
- Why Dash Cams are not only a good idea, they're a must!
- Why we at BlackboxMyCar value Parking Mode above all else (and why you should too!)
- Unique features that may influence your decision making
- And our top recommendations!
What is a Dash Cam?
Simply put, Dash Cams are specialized cameras placed inside vehicles to monitor and record videos, in the event that you need video evidence. Once installed, they record your commute onto an SD card so that you have a record of any event right at your fingertips.
They come in many shapes and sizes, but ultimately they're there to protect you when you need them most. We break down how Dash Cams help, and the differences between the types of Dash Cams out there in the next two steps, so keep reading to learn more!
Why are Dash Cams a must-have?
Dash cams provide unbiased video evidence
The reason we love Dash Cams so much is that they are perfect records of what happened. We favor the evidence Dash Cams provide compared to eye-witness accounts, because eye-witnesses can provide misremembered and incorrect information.
Say, you get into an accident and the fault is 100% on the other driver. The problem is, the person at fault has turned it around and claims you're at fault instead. With a Dash Cam by your side, you can prove your innocence immediately to the police and insurance companies, saving you time and money.
There are many situations that Dash Cams can help protect you from, including:
- Insurance Scams
- Increased Insurance Premiums
- Hit & Runs
- Road Rage
- Theft, and much more!
These are just a few examples of the many ways that Dash Cams can help. For more examples check out our write up, here!
Potential Fraud - Backed Into
Neighbour Pouring Oil on Car
Costco Hit and (Almost) Run
Vehicle Break-in (DR650/DR3500)
Whats the big deal with Parking Mode?
As we went over in the previous steps, Dash Cams are installed to record irrefutable evidence. This however brings up an important question, "how can I be protected when I'm not driving?" Many people think Dash Cams can only protect you when you're on the road, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
Dash Cams not only protect you while you're on the road, but those equipped with Parking Mode Recording can also protect your vehicle while it's parked!
Not every Dash Cam can offer this protection. Simple Dash Cam systems without parking mode are built to turn on and off with the car. This leaves you vulnerable to theft and vandalism when you're not driving.
Parking Mode equipped Dash Cams solve this by being powered through a Hardwire Kit, which allows the unit to tap into fuses that run while the vehicle is off.
Why not just run a regular Dash Cam overnight?
The issue is that regular Dash Cams will record constantly, filling their SD card and draining the vehicle's battery. A fully integrated Parking Mode system is designed to understand safe voltage levels to make sure your vehicle's battery runs the next day while still providing as much video evidence as possible.
We only consider systems that meet our specific requirements as having True Parking Mode. They need to:
- Record only when an event occurs (through G-Sensor or Motion Detection)
- Record the 5+ seconds before an event to provide context (Pre-buffered)
- (Optional) Categorize and protect important videos (Memory Partitioning)
Dash Cams that meet the requirements are considered by us to be equipped with "Pre-Buffered Parking Mode by Motion Detection", or Parking Mode.
Burglary Caught (F770)
Crash Caught Parking Mode
4th of July Fireworks (F770)
Caught Littering on Dash Cam
Unique features to look out for
With Parking Mode hopefully cleared up, we can move onto our next step. Below are some of the most prominent examples of the many unique features that people would typically look for.
Interface (WiFi, LCD Screens)
There are many ways to interact with your Dash Cam such as a computer program, a built-in screen , or through a Wifi Companion app. Regardless of how its done, these features allow you to watch videos, and adjust settings.
Many high-end Dash Cams have very discrete bodies because they have a WiFi Companion app. This feature is especially handy if you need to share your videos to an insurance company, police officer, or even on social media.
*There is usually confusion on how WiFi Apps work. You can think of it as a direct connection, like Bluetooth. The Dash Cam connects directly to your phone; there is no internet connection!
GPS (Speed/location, Time & ADAS)
Some Dash Cam comes with a GPS module, some don't. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it can help keep costs down and allow the Dash Cam to be smaller. GPS doesn't enable your Dash Cam to give turn by turn navigaiton, instead it will track and record speed and location data. This is a good piece of evidence to have when arguing against false speeding claims.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
Having a GPS module provides another benefit. It allows companies to develop Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to warn the driver of incoming dangers. A specific example of these systems comes from Thinkware. They're currently the only ones to offer a Red Light Camera warning system which warns you of oncoming red light cameras, which can save you from a hefty fine.
Now that you've become a Dash Cam expert, we've provided you with our most recommended units below! If you want to learn more, check out our full write-up and Dash Cam Buyers Guide!
Still have questions? Not to worry, you can reach us through our live chat or our support line!
Our Favourite Dash Cams
Bang For Your Buck
Best Bundle Deals!