Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Vehicle Back-up Camera

Adding an aftermarket video system to your vehicle can help you see what you might be missing.

Back-up cameras are largely standard on most new vehicles. However, automobiles and trucks built before 2018 may or may not have the feature. Fortunately, an aftermarket camera can provide all the benefits of a factory-standard device, including back-up assistance, collision documentation, security surveillance, parking efficiency, and blind-spot elimination. Here’s what to look for when retrofitting your vehicle with an off-the-shelf rear-view camera.

The resolution on this model is 2560×1440. VanTop

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The camera is the heart of any onboard viewing system. There may be only one rear-facing camera or two cameras fore and aft. If your primary concern is back-up assistance, a rear camera is sufficient. But dual-camera systems offer greater surveillance and situational awareness. Some cameras are enabled with motion-detection technology, an excellent feature for protecting your vehicle when parked. As for resolution, the range is still pretty wide. Stick to 720p or higher.

This model has a 1080p screen. CHORTAU

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The three most common types of viewing interface are either dashboard-mounted monitors, or the vehicle’s existing “infotainment” panel, or rear-view mirrors that also function as a display. Regardless of style, look for a screen that incorporates grid lines for reverse parking, as well as night-vision capability and a camera with a viewing angle of at least 110 degrees. The average field of view is about 150 to 160 degrees.

This model does not come with a monitor. eRapta

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Most cameras mount either on the back bumper, on the dashboard, or to a license plate holder. Installation ranges from the relative ease of wireless models to rather complicated electrical harnesses for hardwired models. Industry consensus seems to favor the latter for better picture quality and reliability. Cost depends on whether you want a separate dash-mounted monitor or need to wire into an existing console display, which is more complicated and calls for professional installation.