Do Dash Cams Continue Recording Video When the Car is Turned Off?

/ / Car Accessories
Dashcam attached to car windshield

If you own a dash cam or are thinking about buying one, you’ve probably wondered if it’ll keep recording after you turn off your car and walk away. While many people buy dash cams to protect themselves on the road, these devices can also help keep your vehicle safe when it’s parked. After all, if someone hits your car while you’re in the mall shopping, or if a thief burglarizes it after you’ve left it unattended on the street, having a recording of the incident would be of great use. It can help you find the perpetrator and provide video evidence that can be used in police reports and to file insurance claims, helping you get the justice you deserve.

The only problem is, not all dash cams work when your car isn’t running. Many have a plug-and-play design, allowing them to be powered by a 12V power source like a cigarette lighter port, which only supplies power while the car’s engine is on. As a result, once you turn the ignition off, the dash cam will stop recording. However, some of them, including highly rated dash cams suitable for any budget, have a parking mode feature that lets them keep recording even after you’ve shut your car off.

How can a dash cam record when the car is off?

Person adjusting dash cam

While there are a lot of things to consider when buying a dash cam, whether it works while your car isn’t running is one of the most important. If you want your dash cam to keep recording even when your car’s engine is shut off, purchasing one with a parking mode function is a must. Dash cams with this feature will keep recording what’s happening around your vehicle, even after you’ve turned off the ignition. These devices have motion or impact detection sensors that activate the camera if they detect movement or something hitting your car. If someone vandalizes, burglarizes, or hits your car while it’s parked, the dash cam will record the event, giving you a video record of what happened.

Your camera will need a constant power supply to work in parking mode. There are several options for doing this, but the most common involves hardwiring the dash cam directly to your car’s electrical system, which allows the camera to keep recording when the ignition is off. You might need to hire a professional to do this, but if you have some automotive expertise and are up for a DIY challenge, you can purchase a hardwiring kit that’s compatible with your car and set it up yourself.

You may wonder if your dash cam will drain your car’s battery since it’s constantly drawing power from it while in parking mode. Most dash cams have power-saving features and built-in voltage meters that prevent this from happening or that shut the camera down if your battery’s charge gets too low.

How to set up a dash cam’s parking mode

Dash cam records collision

Even if your dash cam comes with a parking mode feature, it won’t work if you don’t set it up properly. How you configure your dash cam will depend on its manufacturer, but there are a few general rules you can expect to follow.

  1. Open the settings menu on your dash cam or use its app and look for options related to parking or surveillance mode.
  2. Activate the parking or surveillance feature so your dash cam will record even when your car is turned off.
  3. Adjust your dash cam’s motion detection sensitivity settings to avoid false triggers. If the sensitivity is too high, it might record unnecessary events; if it’s too low, it might miss incidents you’d want to record.

Dash cams can monitor your car in several ways while it’s parked, depending on the brand you choose. When it uses motion detection, it’ll start recording when it senses movement near your vehicle. Some models will even provide you with a detailed log of events that happened while your car was parked. Impact mode is another standard dash cam parking mode feature. It uses G-sensors to measure changes in acceleration or force and triggers the camera to start recording when an unusual impact is detected. If you purchase an advanced model, it might use radar-based sensors to detect movement. This sort of detection efficiently monitors a car’s surroundings without draining the battery as quickly as motion detectors.

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