How to Install a Rear Camera on a SUV/Hatchback

Installing a 2-Channel Dash Cam

Many customers ask about installing 2 channel dash cams on a vehicle with a rear liftgate/hatchback. While there are extra steps involved, it's definitely possible. A dedicated 2 channel dash cam offers front and rear protection in a simpler form factor than two separate 1 channel systems and records footage onto one MicroSD card.

The installation process is significantly more difficult than regular vehicles without this design because the rear window where the camera is mounted actually lifts up and down rather than stay in a fixed position on most sedans and coupes. Some customers are perfectly happy having the wire dangle between the headliner and the liftgate but for those who want the cleanest install, the best way is to go through the hoses between the chassis and liftgate. If there is any trim on the liftgate it's best to remove them to hide the rear camera cable under such as the case in our Lexus NX installation video.

1 or 2 hoses that connect to the liftgate

Typically, there are 1 or 2 hoses that connect to the liftgate and it's best to give them a squeeze to check which one has more wiggle room before attempting to run the wire. On some vehicles the tubing will have enough “wiggle room” to run the wire through by hand without any special tools or techniques. On other vehicles the shape of the tube/hose and the tighter fit makes it very difficult to run this wire by hand.

In these cases, our installers will take a thin piece of wire (needs to be rigid enough to maintain its shape) and thread it through the hose first. The thinner wire should go through the hose fairly easily but also give you the leverage needed to pull the connecting cable through. Some customers have used coat hangers and long zip-ties to pull the dash cam’s wire through as well. Once the wire has been threaded through our installer will take some electrical tape and attach the camera's connecting cable to the wire. The tape needs to cover the tip/plug of the wire entirely to protect the pins of the cable from damage. It's also a good idea to spray some lubricant on the taped part so it will glide through the hose easier. Hand soap will also work as a lubricant but be sure not to get any lubricant on the interior trim/carpet as it may be difficult to remove. With these steps complete you should be able to simply pull the wire through!


Installation Photos

Our installer running the wire on a 2015 BMW X5 (F15)

Pulling the rear camera wire through on a Mercedes GLA

Once this is done, pull as much wire as you need through and reclip all your trim back in, hiding the wire behind it. AGAIN, be careful with the plastic push clips and make sure they are lined up 100%, they break easily but can be replaced if you mess them up. Re-secure the rubber tubing, double check the seal. This is supposed to be WATERPROOF as it is exposed to the elements, so make sure it is plugged back up like it came in.


Tips & Tricks

  • For some cameras such as the BlackVue DR900-2CH there are dedicated front and rear ends of the plug. On the BlackVue the rear plug is a straight tip versus the front which has a right-angle tip, the straight tip is easier to pull through these hoses.
  • If your vehicle has two hose/grommets between the chassis and the hatch, give them a squeeze to see which one has more wiggle room. Ideally use the side that has the most space as you will run the least risk of damaging anything and it should be easier as well.
  • When mounting the rear camera make sure that it's in a position that the rear wiper clears. If possible, try to stick the tape on the glass rather than a defroster line. In our experience as long as the tape is heated up when removing it will not damage defroster lines.
  • If your rear hatch window opens independently such as on a Toyota Highlander or Chevrolet Suburban, make sure to mount the camera where it won't move or leave enough slack for the camera to move up and down
  • Make sure to install the camera AFTER getting a window tint or else you will need to reinstall the rear camera and use a new piece of tape
  • The rear camera will mount on any flat and smooth surface, another way to mount it is to make a mounting surface/bracket like our customer did on his Toyota 4Runner