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Tips on Caring For Your Dash Cam

So you've finally convinced yourself to get a dash cam for your ride! You had considered purchasing this smart device for a long time, and with the numerous benefits in video reviews and real-life user experiences, this small device may make a huge difference in your safety.

Now, whether it's a dash cam under $150, $300, or $500, the fact that you invested gives you the responsibility to take care of it, especially since it will safeguard you for thousands of miles ahead. So, in this article, we will share with you the best techniques for taking care of your dash cam and ensuring that it performs optimally in the long run. Let’s go!

1. Consider your dash cam’s placement

The position in which you mount your dash cam has a significant impact on its performance. Of course, you must position your dash cam to not obscure your view of the road, typically behind the rearview mirror. But where you place the unit is more than just what it sees, and how much you see of it.

It’s important to keep the camera shaded if possible. As it sits on your windshield, is the light directly hitting the camera? Most vehicles have what’s called a “dot-matrix” near the top of their vehicle, a series of small dots. The dot Matrix assists with the seal for the glass while the section behind the rearview mirror helps to block the sun in the gap between the two sun visors. In fact, we love using these dots to hide the bulk of a dash cam as it reduces the amount of the camera that's visible from the outside, as well as blocking the sun from directly hitting the dash cam. As long as the lens sticks past the dot matrix you will have no problems with installing the dash cam on it.

Another factor to consider is hidden installations and screenless dash cams are less likely to attract unwanted attention from potential thieves, and the BlackVue DR770X 3CH Box does a perfect job here because of its triple-channel small cameras and Box system that can be hidden under the seat or in the glove compartment. Potential burglars are less likely to pay attention to hidden installations.

2. Clean the cam and windshield regularly

Just like any other gadget, you can keep your dash cam in good condition by cleaning it on a regular basis. Smudges and dust on the lens or screen might reduce the video quality of your dash cam, as well as the cleanliness of your windshield, which the camera is recording through.

If your windshield is clean, your camera’s vision also gets clearer. It helps ensure quality video footage to provide accurate documentation of any events or accidents on the road, offering trustworthy evidence in the event of insurance claims or legal issues. Furthermore, keeping your view clear aids in the early detection of risks, increasing driver awareness and safety.

When cleaning your dash cam, gently clean the lens and screen using a gentle, lint-free cloth like the BlackboxMyCar Microfibre towels – you can use these on your windshield too! And to keep your footage free from harsh environmental elements like rain drops or dust, we also recommend you use the BlackboxMyCar Aqua Shield rain guard, available in the BlackboxMyCar Essential Safety Kit. For cleaning your windshield, check our windshield cleaners here.

3. Manage the Memory Card

Your dash cam won’t work without a memory card. While dash cams are built to be extremely durable, they also record continuously, especially when parking mode is enabled, this constant alertness and recording takes a heavy toll on any recording device. That means the SD cards they utilize, no matter how long they last, are constantly overwritten, recording stable, 30fps(or 60fps) footage as you drive down the road. While nothing may happen on your day-to-day drive, you rely on your dash cam to be ever vigilant, ready and recording the slightest surprise.

In fact, this is one of the main reasons that many SD card manufacturers will actually invalidate SD card warranties when used with a Dash Cam, because of just how aggressive the read/write cycles are. But not BlackboxMyCar’s SD card warranty! Find out more about our SD cards here.

It’s always a good choice to invest in a high-quality microSD card like a Class 10 or UHS-I card. You should also format the memory card every 30 days to avoid data corruption and to ensure smooth video recording. Formatting will help clear out any files that have been locked on the camera, or cannot be overwritten due to corruption, helping the camera make full use of the SD card.

You can do this on your dedicated Web Viewer, or for Thinkware dash cams, by simply holding down the record button. Additionally, Thinkware also has a Memory Partition feature that allocates a specific percentage of space for each File Type. This is beneficial for ensuring that your SD card is filled with the optimal footage type instead of having the same small section of the SD card loop repeatedly, shortening its lifespan.

VIOFO cameras also have a “Format Warning” option, which can be set to remind you after a preset number of days to format the SD card.

Due to the short lifespan of memory cards, consider replacing them every 6-12 months to avoid data loss.

4. Keep it cool

Extreme temperatures can have a negative impact on the performance of your dash cam, especially if lithium-ion batteries power them. The good news is more and more dash cams have already turned away from lithium-ion batteries, which is why all the cameras we currently carry use supercapacitors instead.

But no matter how expensive your dash cam is, you should avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for long periods of time, especially during the hot summer months. They’re probably more durable than smartphones under the heat, but we still shouldn’t be complacent. Heat is the dash cam killer, and prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause these devices to stop working unexpectedly and without notice. Temperatures inside the car can reach dangerously high levels, so yes, it can melt the plastic and damage the dash cam's circuitry. Worse? it might distort and degrade the quality of dash cam footage, by either expanding the barrel of the lens, or giving enough space for condensation to seep into the lens, rendering your dash cam ineffective.

Therefore, when in hot weather or in warmer regions like Florida and Arizona, park in shaded areas whenever possible. This is highly needed for frequent daytime travellers and RVers too.

On the other hand, during chilly weather, avoid utilizing the dash cam immediately after starting your car, instead allowing it to warm up to a comfortable temperature before recording.

Curious about what cameras hold up best in high heat? Check out our Best Dash Cams for High Heat article.

5. Check the Firmware Updates

Manufacturers release firmware updates on an ongoing basis to improve the dash cam performance, add new features, and fix bugs and errors. This is something that you should keep an eye on! You can do this by checking the manufacturer's website or official software, and immediately updating the firmware on your dashcam as needed.

Premium dash cams like Thinkware and BlackVue can be updated over the air (FOTA) via the BlackVue app and Thinkware app, or by downloading the firmware from their website. This ensures that the most recent security patches are in place, as well as new features and improvements that may have been added.


6. Check Your Warranty and Customer Support

The last one is more of a protection for your purchase. The moment you receive your dash cam, you have to familiarize yourself with the warranty terms provided by your manufacturer. If your dash cam experiences any defects covered by the warranty, you can reach out to the dedicated customer support team for assistance.

Got More Questions?

Not to fret, our in-house product experts are here to help. We have spent years curating helpful content and video guides, helping customers with their dash cams, but we understand that we can always do better. Contact us using the form below and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. We love what we do, because we're here to help you make the most informed purchasing decision.