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What is Parking Mode?

Let's start with the basics to get you informed

What is Parking Mode?

Parking mode recording, which may also be referred to as "Sentry Mode," "360-Degree Surveillance," and simply "Surveillance," is a feature of a dash cam that keeps your dash cam recording footage even when the vehicle is off. Typically found only in premium dash cams, parking mode provides around-the-clock protection and surveillance for the vehicle. Remember that an accident can happen at any time, and it’s always worse when the driver is away from the vehicle without any witnesses. The ability to capture footage while parked, to prevent hit-and-runs, door dings and vandalism, can prove to be very useful.

Parking mode recording is made possible either by hardwiring the dash cam to the vehicle’s fusebox or through a battery pack. Power is drawn from one of these sources to the dash cam to enable parking mode. Premium dash cams are smart enough to not record when nothing is happening, and only trigger recording when motion or impact are detected. For example, a dash cam will only start recording when someone walks by or when something hits the vehicle. This is great as power and memory storage are not wasted, and only the crucial files are recorded.

Some dash cam manufacturers include small internal batteries that do not supply enough power for extended parking recording and are generally unsafe to use in hotter climates. The best parking mode dash cams will also feature memory partitioning to protect hit-and-run files. Our favourite parking mode dash cams come from BlackVue and Thinkware.

Note: To attain Parking Mode recording, users will have to either by hardwire the dash cam to the vehicle’s fusebox or through a battery pack.

Types of Parking Mode

1) Parking Mode by Accelerometer

The most basic form of parking mode will only record footage after the accelerometer inside the camera has been triggered. Once the accelerometer, or “G-sensor”, detects that there has been a movement, the dash cam will turn on and start recording.

This would mean that although the dash cam will capture everything that happens after an impact, it won’t be able to capture the events that lead up to the incident.

When a motion or impact file is detected, a dash cam with buffered parking mode will be able to save the previous period of time (5-10 seconds depending on the model) that led up to the recording.

2) Buffered Parking Mode

Another form of parking mode that separates the best from the rest is what’s called buffered parking mode. When a motion or impact file is detected, a dash cam with buffered parking mode will be able to save the previous period of time (5-10 seconds depending on the model) that led up to the recording. For example, the license plate of another vehicle’s hit-and-run may not be captured if only the moment of impact is captured. If someone vandalizes the vehicle, footage of the person walking up to the vehicle will be captured and can show a much clearer description of the person.

Not the Same as Parking Mode By Motion Detection

Contrary to popular belief, while buffered parking mode is quite similar as parking mode by motion detection, they are not the same. Buffered parking mode has the ability to record up to 5-10 seconds leading up to the recording, crucial in giving you much more information.

If you're looking for a great dash cam with buffered parking mode, then try a Thinkware dash cam. They offer the best parking mode features, offering memory partitioning which creates separate video folders for the different types of recording. This then minimizes any overwriting issues, as only the same type of files (recording) can overwrite themselves. For example, if an impact is detected - such as when the vehicle is hit and the built-in dash cam G-sensor is triggered - the video will be marked as an event and only other event files can overwrite this file.

This is highly useful if the vehicle is hit while parked, and the driver does not notice until several days after (perhaps due to a small damage) - the footage will still be able to be retrieved under the impact folder.

Setting Up Parking Mode Capabilities

We recommend using an SD card that is at least 64GB if you are looking to use parking mode. With anything smaller, you run into the risk of having footage overwritten before you’ve had the chance to review it. If you are seeing a lot of false motion triggers, make sure you turn down the motion detection sensitivity in your settings

Hardwiring Method

To access your dash cam’s parking mode capabilities, you must first hardwire your camera to your vehicle. For products without a built-in low-voltage cutoff, such as the BlackVue DR900S-2CH, you will need install a BlackVue Power Magic Pro to prevent your dash cam from draining your vehicle’s battery (also known as battery discharge). For dash cams that do come with a built-in low-voltage cutoff, such as the Thinkware F800 Pro, you will not need to have this.

External Battery Pack Method

For extended parking mode of 25+ hours, we would even recommend pairing your dash cam with a Cellink NEO Battery Pack or a BlackVue B-124 Ultra Battery Pack. Learn more about dash cam battery packs.

In addition to the extended parking mode, this will also prevent your vehicle’s battery from experiencing wear and tear from the constant, slow power drain caused by the dash cam.

Different Configurations for Parking Mode

Parking mode can be separated into different types, such as motion detection which activates recording when the video sensor detects movement and impact detection which activates recording when the built-in G-sensor detects shock. With the release of the flagship Thinkware F800 Pro, there are now two further types of configurations in parking-mode recording for this device:


Timelapse is ideal for those who will park their car in a busy area and know that motion detection will almost always be triggered. Your memory card will fill up and your footage will be overwritten in a short period of time. To combat this, time-lapse mode takes 2 frames per second, as opposed to 15 frames per second in motion detection mode.

This reduces the amount of footage that needs to be recorded in the same period of time. As an example, 720MB for 1 hour of front/rear video in timelapse mode equates to about ~5GB of storage in regular front/rear motion detection parking mode. Motion and impact detection are not enabled in this mode.

Energy Saving

Instead of being in an always-on passive recording state, this parking mode option reduces power consumption by ⅓, providing 3x longer recording time as opposed to normal parking mode.

The Thinkware F800 Pro remains in a “sleep” state and once the G-sensor detects an impact, the dash cam wakes up to record for the next 20 seconds. Motion detection is not enabled in this mode.

Recommended Dash Cams with Parking Mode

Take a look below, our top selling dash cams with parking mode.

Thinkware F800 Pro

  • Resolution: Front 1080p @ 30FPS, Rear 1080p Full HD @ 30FPS
  • Bitrate: Front 10Mbps, Rear 10Mbps
  • Video sensor: 2.13MP Sony STARVIS CMOS Sensor
  • GPS: Built-in
  • G-sensor: Built-in
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (Android and Apple compatible)
  • Viewing angle: Front 140°, Rear 140° Field of View
  • Maximum MicroSD card capacity: 128GB
  • Microphone: Built-in
  • Speaker: Built-in
  • Rear Camera: Optional
  • Parking Mode: Yes, with buffering and motion & impact detection
  • Lane departure warnings: Built-in
  • Forward collision warning: Built-in
  • Red light camera warning: Built-in
  • Power Cable: Included
  • Voice Control: None

Thinkware Q800PRO

  • Resolution: Front 2K 1440p @ 30FPS, Rear 1080p Full HD @ 30FPS
  • Bitrate: Front 10Mbps, Rear 10Mbps
  • Video sensor: Front - 5.14MP Sony STARVIS | Rear - 2.13MP Sony STARVIS
  • GPS: Built-in
  • G-sensor: Built-in
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (Android and Apple compatible)
  • Viewing angle: Front 140°, Rear 140° Field of View
  • Maximum MicroSD card capacity: 128GB
  • Microphone: Built-in
  • Speaker: Built-in
  • Rear Camera: Optional
  • Parking Mode: Yes, with buffering and motion & impact detection
  • Lane departure warnings: Built-in
  • Forward collision warning: Built-in
  • Red light camera warning: Built-in
  • Power Cable: Included
  • Voice Control: None

BlackVue DR900S-2CH

  • Resolution: Front 4K @ 30FPS, Rear 1080p Full HD @ 30FPS
  • Bitrate: Front 25Mbps, Rear 10Mbps
  • Video sensor: 8MP Sony STARVIS CMOS Sensor
  • GPS: Built-in
  • G-Sensor: Built-in
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (Android and Apple compatible)
  • Viewing angle: Front 162° Wide Angle, Rear 139° Field of View
  • Maximum MicroSD card capacity: 128GB
  • Microphone: Built-in
  • Speaker: Built-in
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Rear Camera: Included
  • Parking Mode: Yes with Buffered Parking Mode & Motion and Impact detection
  • BlackVue Cloud: Available
  • Memory Card: Included
  • Voice Control: None

Parking Mode is Important

Let’s be honest - a lot of times door dings on our new car or even acts of vandalism are the absolute worst to deal with. Without any witnesses, these claims are not only hard to resolve with insurance companies but could cost thousands of dollars in damages.

A dash cam in your vehicle will help you in whatever situation you're in. So what are you waiting for? Explore our collection of dash cams today. If you have any further questions, comments or suggestions, then don't hesitate to reach out to our product experts today!

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What is Parking Mode?

Based on 4388 reviews
Great all around

Was everything I expected and more

Easy to use. Plug and play

It was easy to install and the interface is pretty simple and easy to use. The video quality is fantastic. The only thing I do not like is it writes in an MP4 format which cannot be cast onto my TV.

Great product

Super easy to install and to setup

Perfect install kit

Came by just to grab 2 low profile mini add a fuses and got the kit for a very reasonable price. So nice to have the fuse circuit tester to make the install easier

Great battery pack

Easy to install/hide and is awesome with plug and play with dashcams. Took about 5 minutes to hardwire as it comes with whatever you needed granted that you select those options.

Crazy fast shipping

Ordered the wrong spliced wire kit when I ordered the neo cellink battery and quickly bought this. Thought it was going to come in next week and it showed up the next day in the morning of all times. Had plenty of time to install my dashcam

VIOFO A129 Duo

DIY install was straight forward with parking mode working nicely. Extra mounting adhesive is a plus in the event of windshield replacement. The only negative was my understanding a 32gb microSD came with every dash cam sold. My mistake. The front & rear camera video is quire good and the cost was reasonable for the system. Waiting to see how the Texas summer treats the camera.
Overall a good purchase.

Hi Jeff, thanks for purchasing from BlackboxMyCar. Sorry for the miscommunication - this was a limited time promotion and because of the demand for the cards, we ran out of them and had to put a pause on them. That said, we hope you love your dash cam, and do let us know in the future if you have any questions.
Great customer service!

Joseph gave a great recommendation on which dashcam was the best for my car. Jonathan was knowledgeable, friendly to talk to, and had the dashcam up and running in no time! Definitely recommend BlackboxMyCar for anyone looking for a dashcam.

Thanks Matthew for leaving a review. We will be sure to let Joseph know that he's awesome :) and Jonathan too! Come back anytime.
Awesome 😎

The shipping was fairly Quick. The package was as expected.
I would STRONGLY recommended it to everyone, and especially if you bought a new car or fairly recent. You won’t be disappointed!!

Hi there, thanks for leaving a review. We're glad you enjoyed our rocket-fast 1-3 day shipping so that you could get your package so quickly. Come back anytime!
Dash cam

You guys exchange my viofo129 4k for the thinkware u1000 and am happier the service perfect blackboxmycar to the world just give them a try you won't regret it there right on point a head of the game 💯💯💪💪

Hi Junior, we do everything we can to make our customers happy! Thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar :)
VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4k

VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K cam was easy to install. It provides a clear front and back view.

Hi Ernest, you're awesome - thanks for leaving a review!
So far looks GREAT

Have not connected the rear camera yet but the front camera shoots wonderful, clear video, even in the evening with low light. I like a lot of the features on this unit and for the price seems a great deal. I do wish there was an option to just record with no time limit for road trip videos, but it does it's job VERY well and I'm satisfied. Shipping was FAST and product arrived well packed.

Hi Mark, thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar. Let us know if you need any help connecting the rear camera, but we're glad to hear that you had a great experience with us!
2 Ch THINKWARE Q800 Pro Install

Booked online, seamless process. Install done within promised timeframe. Clean install, courteous and informative staff. Will be bringing in my other car for another camera install.

Hi Dan, thanks for leaving a review. We're here to help - hope to see you back soon with your other car!
Viofo a119 v3

Was debating for a while on a dashcam and settled on a Viofo a119v3. This cam was within my budjet, and after reading reviews I decided on this one.
I also read great reviews about blackboxmy car customer service and purchased from them. The camera itself seems to have great options and video quality is bar none...….only had for a week but very satisfied...Thanks Black box!

Hi Yves, thanks for leaving a review. We're glad to hear that our team was able to help you out, and you had such a great time with our support team :) Hope you continue to love your VIOFO - ask us at anytime if you have any questions.
Great for my needs; minor software friction

First let me say that BlackboxMyCar has been fantastic throughout the process of choosing and installing my dash cams. The people behind that chat bubble know what they’re talking about, something I don’t usually expect from first-tier customer support.

Second: Overall I’m very happy with the VIOFO A129 Pro Duo. Video quality is sharp and clear, and it was easy to set up. The front camera is slightly smaller than I’d pictured it, which is nice. I’ve only had it a few weeks, but so far it’s working perfectly. Reliably fires up and starts recording when I get in the car and goes into parking mode when the car is off.

This is my first-ever dash cam and routing the cable through the headliner, A-pillar, etc., was tedious but not particularly difficult. Wiring the cameras into the car’s fusebox was also relatively straightforward, but get the circuit tester if you don’t already have one. It makes identifying always-on vs. ignition-switched a snap.

My only complaints—and these are minor nits—are mostly software issues.

The hardwire kit cable has a cylindrical ferrite bead near the connector, which makes it impossible (in my case) to hide that part of the cable—the bead won’t fit in the seam where I would otherwise stuff it.

Connecting to the camera from the iOS app requires enabling WiFi on the dash cam each time, and stopping the current recording. I’d love to be able to launch the iOS app and have it connect to the camera without having to jump through these extra hoops.

The other oddity that I haven’t really tracked down yet is that recordings using the H.265 codec play fine on my phone, but won’t play correctly when transferred to a computer. On the computer various apps appear to be playing around 1fps (maybe just showing keyframes?). I have yet to find an app that will interpret these files correctly—Final Cut Pro, Premiere, Adobe Media Encoder, QuickTime player—apps that otherwise understand and support H.265. The only way I’ve found to get usable H.265 files from the phone to the computer is to import them into iMovie on the phone and re-export them. (All of this could probably be avoided by setting the camera to use H.264 instead.)

Again, these are minor nits and overall I’m happy with the VIOFO.

Hi Ray, thanks for leaving a review - behind those chat bubbles is a great team who's happy to help :) We're glad you love your VIOFO, and we will pass your feedback over to VIOFO to see what they can do. As for the H.265, unfortunately, that's the downside of the file format. It's great for file sizes, but hard for the computer to encode and play smoothly without some adjustments. That said, we did write a blog recently about it where you can learn more: Let us know if you have any questions!
Satisfied customer

Good dashcam for the price. I am happy with my purchase! Customer support was good. They answered all my stupid questions.

Hi MH, there's no such thing as stupid questions :) Thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar!
Great cam kit, fast delivery

I had a great experience with BlackBoxMyCar and would happily order electronics from them again! I guess I'll briefly document my journey:
1. Trying to decide which cameras to get, I contacted a support person on the chat. He was very courteous and helpful and did not try to up-sell me.
2. Fast delivery, got everything in perfect condition, tested it out using the lighter power cables, yay!
3. [mostly unrelated to the seller] I decided I am not competent enough to do a good install, so I hired a professional. Post-installation everything works great and no wires are exposed. It is a spiffy setup!

Note: I am not using the cloud features at all.

Hi Snowslider, I'm so glad that our team was able to help you out with everything that you needed. Please don't hesitate to reach out at anytime if you have any further questions regarding your dash cam.
Good camera

I wish it had a button to capture incidents and commit them to a file

Hi Niska, thanks for leaving a review. Our support team has reached out to you directly to help you with this. We will also direct your feedback over to BlackVue to see if they have anything to add.
Peace of Mind

I wouldn't recommend spending a thousand bucks on a dual-channel dashcam, but I do recommend spending within your budget on a solid dashcam. That's what I did, with the Thinkware U1000. It is a phenomenal piece of equipment and the customer service I received from Johnathan/Katrina was great. The installation team managed to get the dashcam installed on my Kona in less than 2.5 hours! If you are unsure of what to get and where to get a dashcam, I would 100% recommend going to BlackboxMyCar! :)

Hi Kevin, thank you for shopping at BlackboxMyCar. We're so glad to hear that our team was able to help you out. We hope you love your Thinkware U1000 - don't hesitate to ask us if you need further help in the future :)
Escort Max 360C Radar Detector

Excellent customer service. Ordered and received
with no issues.

Thanks for leaving a review, J. O.!
Done Right!

I booked appointment online. Got a reminder a couple of days ahead of appointment. Quickly processed at appointment check in. Installation was completed in less time than I expected. Installation has a professional look and I would recommend this business due to the service I received.

Hi Doug, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to hear your installation was smooth for you. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Doing the job

The first Dash cam I used had parking mode and although it had a setting to cut off automatically at 11.9 V after a time of about nine months it took it’s toll on my battery. This time around I’ve got a new dash cam also with parking mode but now I have the Cellink Neo battery in between my battery and dash cam and it’s working flawlessly I love the fact that my vehicles battery is not being taxed. Fully charged the Cellink Neo will last for 22 hours and that’s while running a 4K front camera and a 2k rear

Hi Edward, thank you for writing a detailed review for your Cellink NEO battery :) Glad to hear that it's working out well for you!
more then expected

After installation didn’t expect an explanation of the camera function. Made it easy to understand the features.

Hi Robert, glad to hear that the features were easy enough to understand. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.
Works good

Works good

Thanks for leaving a review, Donald!
Great dash cash well worth the investment!

Have you ever been wrongly cited in an auto accident because of the lack of witnesses or the other party says you were at fault? I purchased The VIOFO A129 Pro 4K dash w/ GPS for both of my vehicles. Now when I'm driving, I feel a sense of comfort and security knowing if something happens I have footage. I highly recommend this product. The company is great and there customer service is excellent! Don't wait until it's too late...

HI Brannan, thanks for leaving a review! We're glad to see that you're seeing the value of a dash cam, and we can't wait to see what you capture with it. Feel free to join our Monthly Video Contest if you capture anything awesome! See here to learn more: