Nowadays, all dash cams loop record and delete the oldest videos on the memory card automatically. This is important as with Full HD or higher resolutions, memory cards can fill up quickly and 99% of the time the footage is not particularly important or useful so it might as well be deleted. That being said, in those instances where the dash cam captures something significant it's important to be able to protect these video files.
Dash cam manufacturers understand this so most dash cams have a G-sensor built-in to detect when impacts occur. This lets them tag videos as events and in certain models these videos will be put in a special event or emergency recording folder where they aren't overwritten as quickly as regular footage. For regular car accidents this file management is helpful but not absolutely necessary since the driver is aware of what happened and can turn off the dash cam, switch out the memory card, or download the videos through a WiFi app if the camera supports that feature.
Unfortunately, with parking mode recording the situation is very different as the driver is often not in the vehicle when the event occurred. If the driver doesn't return to the car for a few hours, the footage may be overwritten by the time they get back. To reduce the risk of overwriting, true parking mode dash cams only record when movement or impact is detected, however there still tends to be false alarms especially if the vehicle is parked in a busy area. In our opinion, the best way to protect these parking mode events such as hit and runs is with memory card partitioning. By separating events where the G-sensor is triggered, such as a hit and runs, regular motion detection footage such as traffic driving by or trees waving in the wind will not overwrite those important event files. Different cameras partition memory cards differently but we'll cover how our three most popular parking mode dash cams are set up!
On Thinkware dash cams, you can choose from three different preset partition settings. The micro SD card is separated into 5 folders in total, two for regular driving footage, two for parking footage, and one for manual event recording. Because of all the folders it can make finding videos a little tricky but it works well in practice as you can go straight to the incident folders to find the videos. Even on their entry level F50 model, the Thinkware cameras will also announce if events are detected in parking mode as drivers might not always know that their car was hit and run.
Thinkware dash cams offer three partition types. We recommend C type for the most parking mode recording
One thing we don't like about Thinkware's partitioning is that it can only dedicate a maximum of 20% of the storage space to parking mode recording (15% for motion, 5% for events). When running their higher end 2 Channel cameras, these folders can fill up rather quickly so we recommend going with a larger card if you plan on using a Thinkware camera in parking mode.
That leads us nicely into our favourite parking mode dash cam, the BlackSys CH-100B. There are three video folders on the SD card for BlackSys dash cams, these are always, event, and parking. The event folder on BlackSys holds both events that are recorded in driving mode as well as parking mode, although the G-sensor is much more sensitive in parking mode than it is during regular driving. What we really like about BlackSys is that you can configure the partitioning however you like which means you can dedicate more space for parking and event recording. In our experience, with this camera you don't need to run as big of a memory card to still get sufficient file protection.
On the BlackSys CH-100B you can configure the partitioning to your ideal preferences!
Add to that the highly customizable parking mode feature and the ability to record just 1 Channel at a time in parking mode, the BlackSys truly is one of the most intuitive parking mode setups on the market.
BlackVue cameras are quite different from other Korean dash cams in that they don't use memory card partitioning at all. While they do have a G-sensor, this is only used to tag videos as events so that they can be found easier on the SD card. However, these videos are all treated the same by the dash cam, so a hit and run video can be overwritten by regular driving footage or motion detection footage. This weakness is made worse when drivers don't check their vehicle and don't realize that it had been hit in parking mode. Even with the largest 128GB card, the DR650S-2CH can only hold about 15 hours of video when the highest resolution setting is chosen. This means that if the camera had been recording for more than 15 hours after a hit and run, the video would most likely have been overwritten.
A parking mode incident that didn't escalate to a hit and run thanks to BlackVue Over the Cloud
That being said, with the latest DR650S models, there are other ways that files can be protected. The S series will now announce when events are detected in parking mode which is very helpful as drivers don't always get the chance to do a full walkaround of their vehicle. BlackVue Over the Cloud lets the camera connect to a wifi source to send the user alerts of when it detects an impact in parking mode, however many users aren't able to take advantage of this feature as WiFi access isn't always available and it may not be feasible to invest in a dedicated hotspot. For these reasons we usually prefer the Thinkware and BlackSys dash cams for parking mode recording. We also recommend running at least a 64GB card when setting up a BlackVue 2 Channel for parking mode recording.
When paired with a larger SD card, the memory card partitioning features really complement parking mode and help to reduce the risk of compromising important video files. There's nothing worse than seeing damage on your car only to find out that by the time you check the card, the camera had overwritten the clip. That's why we believe that when shopping for a parking mode dash cam, this is definitely a feature not be overlooked.