A lot of shoppers looking at dash cams ask us whether they should bother putting a camera in their leased car. Some drivers tend to not care as much for the vehicle as they plan on returning it in 3-4 years any way, rather than keeping it long term. The simple answer however is yes as the protection offered by a dash cam is not exclusive to owned vehicles. Your insurance premiums, repair costs, and legal expenses are some factors to consider when buying a dash cam and apply whether you own or lease the car.
We also get a lot of questions about installing a parking mode dash cam in a car that's leased. These are cameras that run even when the car is off which are great for catching hit and runs or vandalism. Without further ado, here are a few things to consider when shopping for your leased vehicle:
Wear and Tear Charges
Upon lease return, your car will be assessed and fees may be charged depending on the condition. For example if your tires are bald, you may be charged to have those tires replaced to tires that do have tread. The same goes for any bodywork needed. A few light dings here and there might be okay, but any cracks and missing paint will most likely need to be fixed.
In the above video, had it been our customer's own car he may have waited till the damage got worse or not have it fixed at all. However, when he brought the car to the dealership, they told him that this damage had to be fixed before the lease return. Different companies may have different policies on lease-end wear and tear but it's definitely something you should keep in mind when picking a dash cam. Thanks to the dash cam footage however, our customer didn't have to worry about getting the scratch fixed. He did not have to pay a deductible for the repair as the license plate was clearly picked up by the Thinkware F770.
Dash Cam Installation on a Leased Vehicle
A lot of customers have concerns about hardwiring a dash cam in their leased car. The nice thing about all the dash cam setups we sell is that they are designed to be completely reversible. This means they can be taken out of a car without any permanent changes to the car. Hardwired dash cams are best installed using an add-a-fuse which simply plugs/unplugs from the car's fuse box. There is no splicing or cutting required to get this set up working in your car.
Alternatively, to avoid touching the fuse box at all, you can also consider a dash cam battery pack. Our favourite battery pack is the Cellink B which can be made to work with just about any dash cam system. This battery can charge through the car's 12V cigarette lighter socket and keep the camera running when the car is off. This means you have full parking mode functionality. In the example above, our customer has the Cellink B plugged into the 12V socket of his Mercedes and placed in the glove box. This isn't the most hidden or discreet way to install the battery pack but it's easy enough for anyone to uninstall and will avoid any hassle from the dealer.
Top 3 Dash Cam Recommendations for Leased Vehicles
- VicoVation OPIA2: This camera comes with both suction cup and adhesive mount options. For those that want something capable of parking mode but can be removed very easily, the OPIA2 would be a great choice. The video quality is amazing and is some of the best on the market. It can be powered via 12V socket, hardwire kit, or Cellink B.
- Thinkware F770: Those looking for 2 channel (front and rear) recording should check out this model, which happens to be the same one as the video link above. It offers an excellent parking mode feature with Full HD on both the front and back. To take advantage of parking mode without hardwiring, be sure to go with the Cellink Battery B option.
- VIOFO A119S: If you're not looking for the parking mode feature, check out the A119S. The video quality rivals devices costing 2-3x as much and the design is very attractive. This is an adhesive mount dash cam but the mount is fairly easy to remove with a bit of heat and a trim tool or supplied string.