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How to Protect Your Vehicle Against Keying

A dash cam can capture this moment to protect your car

One of the worst experiences that a car owner or driver can encounter is keying. Our cars are our investments, and knowing that someone has deliberately damaged our precious baby is an awful feeling. Not only is there physical damage to consider, but knowing that it was done on purpose is something you should be worried about.

Keying usually happens when the car is unattended. So, if you return to your car and discover it keyed, you are not alone. Car keying is prevalent; in fact, scraped bodywork is the most common sort of intentional vehicle damage, accounting for 41% of all offences.

The good news is that it can be prevented, and there’s a big chance for you to catch the culprit and let them take full responsibility for the damage. The first step is something that we have been encouraging all car owners to do – install a dash cam.

How can a dash cam help in protecting my car against keying?

Dash cams are an excellent solution for recording impact or activity around the car, giving you peace of mind against anything that may occur when you are not in your vehicle. They are your 24/7 security guards, and all-around eyewitnesses.

While there is a long list of options to choose from, this article will help you figure out which dash cam and features would work best according to your situation and personal needs. Let’s go through a couple of possible keying scenarios:

1. I found a deep, long scratch from the side to the rear portion of my car.

Now, if the affected portion of your car is near the rear, our recommendation is to get a two-channel dash cam set up. Dual-channel dash cams are usually front and rear, so you get a view of whoever’s in front and at the back of your car.

Among all the possible dash cam configurations, we think that dual-channel dash cams efficiently serve this purpose the best. While this is a standard setup, it is more energy efficient compared to having multiple channels, and it’s easier to hardwire, which is often a must when you’re activating the dash cam’s parking mode.

You might be thinking, is a front and rear dash cam enough? What if the perpetrator came from the side of the vehicle, can a dual-channel dash cam capture it? Great question, and the answer is yes, it still can, especially if it has a wide-angle rear lens like the VIOFO A139 Pro. All it takes is for the perpetrator to pass in front of the front or rear lens once, and they are caught on video. This is especially true with a wide-angle camera.  

The reason why we recommended the VIOFO A139 Pro, aside from its 4K capabilities, is its wide angle for the secondary cameras. This model is available in single, dual, and even triple channels, but the rear camera already covers 170-degrees, which is one of the widest in its class. The addition of a third wide-angle camera (with IR too!) allows for a much larger coverage area, and the option to cover multiple different angles.

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2. Someone keyed my car last night, and while my camera caught it, I could barely see their face in the dash cam footage.

Culprits usually do their thing at night, as few people are around and most places are dim, especially parking lots.

But if you have a dash cam equipped with parking mode, and advanced Super Night Vision like the Thinkware U3000, rest assured that you’ll get to see a clear view of the face of whoever did it even in low light conditions.

Best of all, this dash cam has the best parking mode features like motion and impact detection, Energy Saving, Smart Parking mode, and buffered recording to make sure that the car is protected for an extended period of time. Available in dual-channel configurations, the U3000 also comes with Thinkware Connected Cloud that lets you receive information when your car detects impact. So it’s a multifunctional dash cam that can protect your car 24/7, wherever you are.

3. My insurance company wants more solid evidence, and front and rear isn’t enough.

Let’s say that you’ve reviewed footage and the perpetrator has only been staying on the side of your car – not seen in the front, nor rear footage of your cam. While this doesn’t happen often (and dual-channel cameras can mostly cover a portion of the sides), if you need indisputable proof for your insurance company or law of court to justify whoever keyed your car, you may want to use a system that records the entire event itself. For this, you'd need a three or four-channel system; be warned, this is where things become a little more tricky.

A three-channel option would be the most straightforward. Its third interior camera, with the correct arrangement, may capture out of both rear windows, although it will most likely only be a glimpse and not full coverage. Alternatively, there are IR dash cams where you can adjust the interior camera to record one of your vehicle's sides, if there’s a specific side you’d want to focus on.

A recommended solution for this is the VIOFO T130. Like the VIOFO A139 Pro, it’s also a three-channel setup with an IR interior camera, which is also equipped with a 2MP Sony STARVIS image sensor and comes with infrared LED lights, allowing the camera to record cabin activity even in complete darkness. The inconspicuous infrared LEDs automatically activate based on the ambient light. Moreover, the T130’s standard interior camera is connected to the front unit, which can be rotated 90 degrees out the driver’s window, making the setup more versatile.

Still, for a full 360-degree coverage, we’ll be looking at a 4-channel solution. A 4-channel setup is rather complicated, and will involve either 2 setups of 2-channel cameras, with the main units in the front/back, and the rear cameras on the sides, or a Thinkware Multiplexer with the F200 Pro. The Thinkware Multiplexer is a unique option which can do 5+ channels, including exterior cameras, however, it can be very challenging to wire, and will not supply you with the advanced features such as the Cloud, which we will discuss in another scenario.

4. I’m miles away from my car, and I want to have instant and real-time access to what’s happening to it.

While parking mode is crucial, having instant and real-time access to whatever’s happening around your car is a huge convenience. For example, if you're traveling to a different state, or flying to another country, you still want to make sure that you have your eyes on your vehicle to be aware and prevent it from getting keyed.

For this, Cloud Connectivity is a need, and there’s no other way to go but BlackVue. If you want a dual-channel setup with 4K resolution, you can go for the Cloud-enabled BlackVue DR970X-2CH. But if you’re satisfied with full HD but want a more secure, tamper-proof, and anti-theft dash cam, the BlackVue DR770X Box is the one for you.

Both dash cams can be connected to the Cloud, which enables you to receive Push Notifications about what’s happening around your vehicle (especially when someone gets near and touches it), wherever you are in the world. From time to time, you can also check the live footage of your dash cam, right through the BlackVue app.

What Really Matters Most

Different solutions for different scenarios. However, for us, what matters most is being able to capture mainly the front and rear, activating parking mode recording, and making sure that the dash cam is running to capture keying evidence 24/7. The Cloud Connectivity is also a bonus. And all of these features that we’re looking for are present, with outstanding quality, in the Thinkware U3000 dual-channel dash cam.

Of course, whether you’re getting the VIOFO A139 Pro, the BlackVue DR970X, the BlackVue DR770X Box, or the Thinkware U3000, the whole evidence-capturing won’t happen without parking mode.

When it comes to recording keying and similar incidents, the length of parking mode is paramount; so it’s important to know how long your camera will stay recording once the car turns off. The short answer is that on average, drawing from a car battery, parking mode will last 7-8 hours. When aiming to prevent incidents over a long term, we heavily recommend a battery pack, with our PowerCell 8 being our most cost-effective option. This will on average get you 35 hours of parking mode recording on a 2-channel setup, depending on your camera system.

Aside from drawing power, the advanced PowerCell 8 battery pack also has a USB output on them, allowing you to connect a mobile hotspot, which can supply that Cloud connection; the whole system working together.

Protect Yourself Against Keying with our Signature Bundle Offers

If you wish to maximize the protection for your dash cam and vehicle, we recommend you to get it in a Signature Bundle. The BlackboxMyCar Signature Bundle includes our best-selling dash cams like the Thinkware U3000, BlackVue DR970X, VIOFO A139 Pro together with a BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 and Essential Safety Kit to guarantee 100% parking mode and driving security and convenience. Click here to see our collections, and choose a BlackboxMyCar Signature Bundle today!

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