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How to Install a Rear Camera

The roads can be unpredictable, and accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. While drivers usually prioritize recording the view of the road ahead, there's always the possibility of an incident happening right behind you.

That’s why having an eye witness at the back, through a trusted rear dash cam, is a must. In this article, we will discuss the importance of rear dash cameras, and share with you the right ways to install one in your vehicle.

The Importance of Having a Rear Dash Cam

Rear-end collisions and staged accidents are becoming increasingly common, and rear dash cams help to prevent these. If you choose a 2-channel or 3-channel dash cam, you get a better view of what happened during the incidents, saving you time, energy and money in case of disputes and accidents.

Having a rear camera is also ideal for full coverage while parked, recording any impact or motion that happens at the front or rear of your vehicle. Many of our users find with a wide enough angle on both cameras, the vehicle is able to be fully covered, knowing that it only takes a single step by either the front or rear to be captured on video around the vehicle.

While 1080p is the standard for rear cameras, some dash cams like the Thinkware U3000, Thinkware Q1000, and VIOFO A229 are equipped with 2K QHD rear cameras – a better option if you wish to have a clearer view of the traffic behind. This increase in image quality frequently also comes with a boost to night vision, helpful for parking mode situations.

Where should I install the rear camera?

For an optimal view with a Rear Dash Cam, we firmly recommend fixing the camera to the center of your rear windshield on the interior of your vehicle. While this is relatively straightforward for 4-door Sedans, it can be a bit more complicated for SUVs, Hatchback vehicles, or vehicles with removable rear windows. Still, rear camera installation is definitely possible, please check out our dedicated article on the subject, How to Install a Rear Camera on an SUV/Hatchback.

How to Install a Rear Dash Cam

If you purchase a front and rear dash cam, the package typically includes a rear camera cable, which you need to connect to the front camera. This is a requirement regardless of your dash cam installation, whether it’s CLA, hardwiring, or via OBD. The Rear camera does not need its own power source, instead purely wired to the front unit, which supplies it power, and stores recordings.

The first thing to do is to gather all the materials you need. For a rear camera installation, you will be needing the following:

✅ Rear Dash Camera

Microfibre towels

✅ Rear Camera Cables

✅ Trim Tools

Cable Clips/Zip-Ties

✅ Microfibre Cloth and Glass Cleaners

Installing a rear camera is just an extra step after installing the front camera, and much of it involves linking the rear camera to your front unit.

  1. Using the glass cleaner and microfibre cloth, clean the interior and exterior of the rear windshield. A clean windshield promotes a stronger adhesion between the adhesive and the glass, and clearer view.

2. Remove the plastic covering from the rear camera's adhesive pad and the plastic covering off the lens.

3. Securely press the rear camera to the rear windshield to mount. Ensure the lens itself is centered on the windshield, and not the camera's body.  

4. Ensure it's aligned properly and won't obstruct your view. Adjust the camera angle so the vehicle's hood takes up 1/4 - 1/8 of the screen. While rear cameras lack a screen, we recommend using the dash cam's smartphone app for live viewing. If your camera does not have an app, use the physical screen of the front unit for this. Many models also have positioning lines in their live-view to help with optimal positioning.

5. Next, the wires. You should connect the rear camera cable to the front camera through the longer rear cable that comes in the package. Route the rear cable along the headliner, past the car pillars on the passenger side. Just be cautious and patient to avoid damaging anything. After you finish your work, you'll put the headliner back up by reversing the steps you took to remove it. It might sound a bit tricky, but with the right tools and some care, it can be done!

6. Conceal the cable along the car's interior edges to keep it out of sight. Using a Trim Tool or other device to get in there can be helpful. If your dash cam has slim coaxial cables, it will surely be a breeze too. Ensure that there are no kinks, creases, or hard angles in the cable, which could interrupt the connection of the cable. Even if the system works initially, it’s best to avoid these to prevent issues down the line, as your car jostles from place to place along your day-to-day.

7. Lastly, test the rear camera. After connecting the power, turn on the camera and ensure it's recording correctly. Adjust the angle if necessary to ensure optimal coverage.

What are these Pillars?

Pillars are the vertical supports on a car that are lettered from A to D – from front to rear. The frontmost pillar, for example, is the A-pillar, which frequently keeps the windshield in place. The B-pillar is positioned behind the A-pillar and divides the front and back seats. The passenger compartment behind the rear seats is referred to as the C-pillar. Lastly, D-pillars are typical in larger vehicles like trucks and vans.

When routing the wires, you don’t want them just dangling so you tuck them in the pillars using a Trim Tool or a credit card. Continue with a trim tool, pry open the pillar covering from the rear and tuck the cable inside. Next, route the cable down by hiding the cable inside the rubber weather strip. You can also use cable clips or zip ties if they get loose inside.

Curious how we install Dash Cams into specific vehicle models? Check out our Installation Gallery here.

And that’s how you install a rear camera on your dash cam. If you have more questions, feel free to contact our team for expert dash cam opinions. Need more installation guides? Visit our dash cam installation guide here.