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In Car Camera - The Very Useful In Car Video Recorder

Updated on April 19, 2013

In Car Camera devices can record outside traffic conditions and incidents, with some models what can be seen and heard inside the vehicle too. With some more sophisticated models GPS position and even "G Force" changes and speed readings are recorded too.

As you can start to imagine there are numerous reasons to have one of these cameras installed in your vehicle, but probably the primary reason is to help you out when it comes to insurance claims following a collision that was not your fault.

In Car Videos Uploaded To Social Networking Sites

Although in these times of uploading interesting videos to the internet the possibilities are endless, perhaps for your personal websites or even for national or worldwide viewing, as in the case of the Russian meteorite captured falling near Chelyabinsk.

Russian Meteorite Captured By In Car Cameras

Many people were wondering why there were many videos of the Russian meteorite captured falling near Chelyabinsk, these obviously had been taken from moving vehicles of people on their way to work.

This a reflection of the number of accidents occurring on dangerous Russian roads leading to insurance disputes. So many drivers are protecting themselves by installing an in car camera, as having video evidence can be pretty conclusive in many cases.

Camera Footage Can Help Fight Insurance Claims

Not only does this give you some help in the case of a genuine accident, but sadly in some areas there is the possibility of you being caught up in a staged accident involving multiple vehicles, this so that false personal injury claims can be made. Again video evidence can be extremely valuable in helping fight any claim brought against you.

What Features To Look Out For


Price is obviously going to be a factor, prices start from around $25, yes these should perform the basic function of capturing video of what's happening on the highway ahead, but with what detail. Reviews from actual users can help out here, Amazon reviews are a good source of information.

HD High Definition

Ideally you want recordings that are as clear as possible and hopefully good enough to read license plates or road signs. HD (high-definition) should obviously give you the best chance of doing that, but simply having an HD recording capability does not guarantee the image quality, that will also depend on the lens quality, but HD is a starting point.

Below right you can see a sample video taken using a higher priced BackVue in car camera. For comparison I'll include a review clip of and from a budget version installation the SainSpeed F198 further down the page. Don't forget there may be some degradation of image quality when the clips are uploaded to the internet,


Size varies between the makes and models and is something that will have to be considered along with your mounting options for your particular vehicle

Audio Recordings

Many devices will record audio so you can speak the license plate numbers into the device for future reference if required.

Infra-Red (IR) LEDS - Night Vision Lights

Some have a number of infra-red LED lights supposedly to give you night vision, for most circumstances these can be ignored as they will be too low powered to illuminate very much at all.

Speed, GPS Position and G Force Readings

Depending which camera device you buy, additional features will often be available, these may include road speed, Your GPS position and G Force readings to indicate cornering, braking or acceleration forces.

Video Recording Time and Memory

Recordings run continually and are broken down into fixed time periods up until the memory becomes full, when the memory is full the camera records over earlier recordings unless you have marked a recording you want to save. These recordings are made to removable memory devices such as SD or Micro SD cards or similar, these may have to be purchased as extras, but with the ever decreasing cost of memory cards this is not a huge cost.

Time segments may be created to easily scan through video clips, but if there is a short break in recordings it may be wise to set them to maximum duration so that there is less chance of missing anything in the short "down time".

Viewing Options - Screen or Wi-Fi

Some devices have a small flip out screen to help set up camera position or view recordings, others that are more compact do not have a screen built in, but with an "app" you can view what your camera sees by using smart phone, iphone or android device.

Low Cost In Car Camera - SainSpeed F198

Mounting Your In Car Video Camera

There are basically 3 options of where to mount your camera, if possible choose one where it is not very visible from outside the vehicle or where it can be easily concealed.

Windshield Mount

These are usually based on some form of suction cup device, as it always pays to be careful when that the glass is as clean and smooth as you can get it, the stippled sun shade area on some cars can make this difficult.

Rear View Mirror

Some devices can be attached to the the rear view mirror.

Dashboard Mount

This can prove the easiest position to supply power to in many cases, without having to route a 12v cable up to the top of the windshield.

Power Supply

All devices will need to connected to one of the vehicles auxiliary power supplies, ideally so that it is powered up each time you start the car.

Car Security

Some devices can be set to record images triggered when the vehicle is parked, which can be useful in some situations. However they also have to be considered as a security risk of them being stolen, you might want to factor in price with this in mind.

Ideally these devices should be easy to use and should be wired in such a way that when the vehicle is started it starts recording, it's no good being turned off when the incident occurs! With a camera permanently mounted and connected you don't have to remember to install and activate it, as the time when you are in a hurry and have no time to manually activate it is probably when you need it most!

The Future of In Car Cameras

I feel for all sorts of reasons most of us will be driving cars fitted with recording cameras in the future and will become as common as satellite navigation devices are now. Already cars are being fitted with cameras as reversing aids, lane guidance and collision avoidance devices that automatically brake for you in critical circumstances, so adding a recording feature would not be that difficult.

I can even see in some circumstances it could be compulsory for cameras to be fitted for insurance reasons, where drivers are considered high risk for example.

Already in some cases young drivers can reduce their insurance premiums by agreeing to have tracking type devices fitted to the cars, these record speeds and distances driven where restricted mileage is in the terms of insurance, so cameras would seem the next obvious step.

So when will you have one?

In Car Cameras - are they a good idea?

Which statement best matches your opinion?

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    • A.Lawrence profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      With staged "accidents" and an ever increasing compensation culture an in car camera could prove a very good investment.

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 

      5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      I have one fitted to my Land-Rover and over the last 3 or4 years it has proved to be very useful. The police say the picture quality is better than theirs.

      This really is a must have for any car owner.

      Voted up and useful

      Kind regards Peter

    • flacoinohio profile image


      5 years ago from Ohio

      I installed an inexpensive mountain biking camera in my vehicle. I purchased it on sale for a$15 and mounted it on my dashboard. It is a 4 megapixel camera with monoral sound and it accepts a standard SD card, memory is only limited to the data storage capacity of the SD card. I purchased this camera not for security, but to make videos of the school buses in my area. Some were speeding, running stop signs, and not properly using their warning and stop flashers when dropping off and picking up children. These videos were used to address and correct bus drivers poor driving habits. Two buses were video taped speeding, I recorded them exceeding the posted speed limit of 35 mph on my street by 31 mph and one of them was recorded passing another vehcile going the speed limit. My camera's captured images were sent to the local transportation superintendent's office and to the local sheriff's office. The bus drivers are now driving their buses as they should be.


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