Do you need to buy a backup camera for your truck? Here are some things you should consider when looking at the best backup cameras available today.
Out of the variety of sonar technology innovations, backup cameras are crowned kings.
After all, they didn’t even exist two decades ago. Yet, they’ve proven to be so essential that the federal government mandated their presence in new vehicles from May 2018.
And no wonder. Having a backup camera is key to decreasing the number of backup collisions that cost 300 people their lives on an annual basis in the United States. In addition, 150 of them are children under five years of age.
If you’re unfamiliar with backup camera features, you’re in the right place. Keep on reading for a full breakdown of the essential factors you need to consider when shopping for a backup camera.
DASH ASSESSMENT 101: VIEWING YOUR BACKUP CAMERA
We know that it might be a bit overwhelming to look at backup camera specifications as a novice. Thus, let’s start by assessing your dashboard first. Then, we can dive into the factors that will help you pick the right camera for your vehicle.
As it were, your backup camera won’t be anything more than a shiny gadget without a screen to plug it into on your dashboard.
You’ll fit in one of three categories.
1. YOU ALREADY HAVE A FACTORY TOUCHSCREEN
You might already have a touchscreen installed in your vehicle.
The next step would be checking out vehicle-specific backup cameras that will come with harnesses matching your factory-installed entertainment systems.
What’s great about this situation is that you won’t have to hunt down random backup cameras that might not fit your vehicle’s exterior. Backup cameras that are vehicle-specific will seamlessly blend in with your vehicle’s exterior with no issues at all.
2. YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A NEW TOUCHSCREEN RECEIVER
This is a match made in heaven. You’ll be able to install a rear-view camera while installing a new stereo in your dashboard.
This way you can just get a complete camera backup system that’ll be guaranteed to work effectively.
3. YOU DON’T HAVE ROOM IN YOUR DASH FOR A TOUCHSCREEN
You might have a vehicle that doesn’t have space for a radio with a video screen. Also, you might not be enthused to alter your factory dash.
In this case, you’ll have a couple of options to choose from.
- Replacement Rear-View Mirrors: These can integrate into your car’s interior, as well as give you a monitor in your mirrors with no need to change anything in your dashboard
- Wired Dash-Mounted Monitors: This type of monitor is a solid option in case a radio replacement or a mirror replacement isn’t feasible for you
- Wireless Backup Cameras: These are great for avoiding the whole process of setting up a wired connection between the rear of your car and the front
Now that we’ve explored the different dashboard options for you, it’s time to dive into the essential factors for picking the perfect backup camera for your vehicle.
THE BEST BACKUP CAMERA FOR YOU: THE ESSENTIAL FACTORS
Once you pick the right backup camera, you’ll be doubling your backup safety measures. However, picking the right one can be overwhelming.
Every backup camera has specific requirements and capabilities that you’ll need to keep in mind.
These factors will help you choose the right backup camera for your needs, as well as smooth out any future maintenance issues that might pop up.
Unfortunately, you’ll find that some automakers intentionally make it harder for you to do after-market installations to your vehicle.
For instance, your vehicle might already come in with a pre-installed backup camera that doesn’t suit your needs. In this case, you’ll have to get a new backup camera that satisfies your manufacturer’s original programming requirements.
Furthermore, it might need an authorization code or official programming at a licensed dealership to be fully operational.
VIDEO’S INPUT AND OUTPUT REQUIREMENTS
Before making your final purchasing decision for a backup camera, make sure that it’s compatible with your navigation or display screen.
For example, with a newer vehicle that has a display screen, you might be able to simply synchronize your camera feed to take over this screen whenever your vehicle is in reverse mode.
On the other hand, you might not have an in-cabin display in place or the backup camera isn’t compatible with your video input and output. In this case, getting a backup camera kit or a separate display is the way to go.
Regardless, you’ll still have to install wires or even connect to pre-installed wires in order to your indoor display to sync with your exterior backup camera.
HARDWARE AND INSTALLATION REQUIREMENTS
As with any after-market gadgets, you’ll need to either install the camera and hook it up to the display yourself or have a professional do it for you.
This is why it’s essential to check what type of hardware you’ll need to have a finalized installed product in your vehicle.
Furthermore, your vehicle might already be available on the market with a backup camera but you didn’t opt for one.
In this case, it might have the required wired connection in place, as well as the physical space for a backup camera display that you can use to your advantage.
There’s a host of automatic capabilities that you can check out before you buy your backup camera.
As it stands, your vehicle will come from the automaker with automatic capabilities that might help (or hinder) the process of installing an after-market backup camera.
For example, some vehicles will have sensors that will activate your camera feed only when you’re in reverse. Others will disable in-cabin technology (like radio controls) to maximize driver focus.
Therefore, it’s key to double-check your vehicle’s automatic capabilities and how they’ll interact with your new backup camera before making your purchase.
CHOOSING BACKUP CAMERAS: UNLOCKED
Backup cameras can be a lifelong investment for your vehicle. That’s why it’s important to get it right on the first try.
Now, you have a thorough understanding of all the moving pieces involved in choosing the right backup camera for your vehicle. From assessing your dashboard to looking at camera specifications, you can go ahead and start your backup camera shopping with confidence.
Yet, there is still so much more to learn about backup camera technology. If you’re wondering about the differences between a regular backup camera and backup sonar sensors, make sure to check out our blog before you go.