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How to Set Up Your Dash Cam Discreetly

When we were just starting in the industry, we could still recall a few reports from our customers that thieves had broken into their cars. Old dash cam models – like those with huge camera screens and buttons – tend to be more attractive for burglars. One look at these dash cams, you’ll know that these tech devices can be stolen and sold.

Fortunately, due to the advancements of technology, dash cam manufacturers have designed their dash cams to be more discreet and easy to be hidden. Thanks to their form factor and mounting placement, plus the glare reflected from the windshield, it's now difficult for thieves to notice these modern dash cams in a vehicle. Some excellent examples are BlackVue, Thinkware, and the new ones from VIOFO.

Still, while the camera can have a compact frame, it depends on how you mount it. Here we’ll be going over why and how to wire your camera discreetly.

Advantages of a Discreet Dash Cam Setup

Less Distracted Driving

Setting up your dash cam discreetly ensures that it does not obscure the driver’s view, or generate distractions while driving. This helps in prioritizing safety and keeping the eyes on what really matters when driving – the road.

Neatness and Aesthetics

Car drivers, especially those who are super organized, want their car to look as neat as possible – both in and out. Installing a dash cam discreetly can help you avoid bulky or obvious additions, especially the wires. It can also blend in with the overall style of the vehicle!

Anti-Theft and Break-Ins

We have also seen that a discretely fitted dash cam is less likely to catch potential thieves' attention. Again, huge dash cams may look like a sparkling dollar sign for criminals, especially if they are easily detachable or appear to be expensive. If your camera is small and well hidden, you won't give a burglar a reason to break in!

Capture True Stories

If you want to record unbiased and authentic videos of your driving experiences, a dash cam that is discreetly installed is recommended. This is useful for ride-sharing vehicles when hailing passengers, or for those who encounter cops on the road. People's behaviour can vary when they are aware they are being recorded, therefore using a dash cam that is less visible can produce a more accurate record of events.

Legal Considerations

Depending on where you live, there may be laws prohibiting the usage of dash cams or any car accessory installed in the dash or windshield that can distract driving. If you have a large dash cam that is out of the restrictions of your state or province, it may raise privacy issues, or worse, violate some laws.

Things to Consider for setting up a Discreet Dash Cam

Dash Cam Shape

A discreet dash cam setup does begin with its form factor. Most of our dash cams measure only a few inches in width and length, which makes it very easy to hide. This allows the cameras to actually blend in very well with the rearview mirror, which is also why one of the most discreet designs is a cylindrical shape. Like the BlackVue’s.

Moreover, the adhesive mount of our dash cams adds to its discreteness since it allows the unit to mount directly against the windshield without anything sticking out noticeably. This is why dash cams with a suction cup for example are less ideal, as not only does the suction cup take up a fair bit of space, but the unit often hangs below the mount, taking up even more space. Any dash cam that hangs off of the windshield, will realistically take up more space than one that hugs the windshield.

Dash Cam Shape

A discreet dash cam setup does begin with its form factor. Most of our dash cams measure only a few inches in width and length, which makes it very easy to hide. This allows the cameras to actually blend in very well with the rearview mirror, which is also why one of the most discreet designs is a cylindrical shape. Like the BlackVue’s.

Moreover, the adhesive mount of our dash cams adds to its discreteness since it allows the unit to mount directly against the windshield without anything sticking out noticeably. This is why dash cams with a suction cup for example are less ideal, as not only does the suction cup take up a fair bit of space, but the unit often hangs below the mount, taking up even more space. Any dash cam that hangs off of the windshield, will realistically take up more space than one that hugs the windshield.

Mounting Location

The typical mount position for the dash cam is in front of the rearview mirror or near this area. This allows the dash cam to blend in quite nicely with the rearview mirror.

Keep an eye out for any sensors in the vehicle that the dash cam could potentially interfere with. Almost all our dash cams now come with a dedicated smartphone app and Wi-Fi integration, so you’re free to launch a live-view feature to see what position and angle you prefer. We also recommend angling the lens so that footage shows 60% road and 40% sky. Check out our mounting guide here.

Hiding the Cables

Dealing with the wires is the most complicated part of the setup, but we have solutions for it.

The wires can be run up the windshield and through the headliner – and a plastic trim tool would make it easy to tuck cabling without causing damage. Here, you simply run the wire along the headlining until it’s at the A-pillar. At the top of the A-pillar, there’s generally a slit where the cables can be tucked into. Just remember to be careful as some vehicles have clips at the top edge which does not allow for the cable to run in this channel.

Running the cable down the side of the vehicle and down to the fusebox is done best with the wire going through the weather stripping on the door frame. This rubber material can be pulled from the vehicle with ease and is flexible enough to hold the cables inside without compromising the seal.

Dash cam cables are often thin, and they only need to fit between the headlining, weather strips, or panels so make sure to locate the right placement. Aside from being pleasing to the eyes, a clean dash cam installation will be considerably more discreet, making it difficult for criminals to perceive any other reason to break into a vehicle.

Mounting Location

The typical mount position for the dash cam is in front of the rearview mirror or near this area. This allows the dash cam to blend in quite nicely with the rearview mirror.

Keep an eye out for any sensors in the vehicle that the dash cam could potentially interfere with. Almost all our dash cams now come with a dedicated smartphone app and Wi-Fi integration, so you’re free to launch a live-view feature to see what position and angle you prefer. We also recommend angling the lens so that footage shows 60% road and 40% sky. Check out our mounting guide here.

Hiding the Cables

Dealing with the wires is the most complicated part of the setup, but we have solutions for it.

The wires can be run up the windshield and through the headliner – and a plastic trim tool would make it easy to tuck cabling without causing damage. Here, you simply run the wire along the headlining until it’s at the A-pillar. At the top of the A-pillar, there’s generally a slit where the cables can be tucked into. Just remember to be careful as some vehicles have clips at the top edge which does not allow for the cable to run in this channel.

Running the cable down the side of the vehicle and down to the fusebox is done best with the wire going through the weather stripping on the door frame. This rubber material can be pulled from the vehicle with ease and is flexible enough to hold the cables inside without compromising the seal.

Dash cam cables are often thin, and they only need to fit between the headlining, weather strips, or panels so make sure to locate the right placement. Aside from being pleasing to the eyes, a clean dash cam installation will be considerably more discreet, making it difficult for criminals to perceive any other reason to break into a vehicle.

Our Recommended Dash Cams for a Discreet Setup