Protecting your Jeep Cherokee or Jeep Wrangler with a dash cam is a worthwhile investment that can provide tons of value over the years. With its distinct look, the Jeep is used as by many as reliable cars that perform great in the outdoors and under stress. Jeeps are for those who are independent and don’t mind getting their hands a little dirty in order to finish the task at hand. A dash camera is perfect for Jeeps as you don’t want to rely on the insurance company to have your back. Do you feel that owning a Jeep gets you some extra attention driving around, wanted or unwanted? I’ve owned many cars before and the unique look of the Jeep has definitely attracted some eyeballs in my direction.
- Front and Rear Dash Cam 4K and 1080P @ 30 FPS
- Built-in WiFi and GPS Logger to record speed/location and review or transfer footage
- Crystal clear image quality and built with high temperatures in mind
- Includes hardwire kit that allows you to power through your Jeep Wrangler’s fuse box.
Having a dash cam can put your mind at ease, especially since some Jeep Wranglers have a soft top or open design that could invite people with bad intentions to get a little too close for comfort. We’re going to go over all of the aspects of installing a dash camera for your Jeep Wrangler, in addition to covering other models such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Jeep Compass or the Jeep Renegade.
How do I install a dash cam into a Jeep?
Installing a dash cam into your Jeep is a straight forward process as there’s tons of options and routes you can use to mount and connect power to. That being said, there are numerous types of Jeeps, so I’ll try to cover the different varieties.
For many newer Jeep models like the Wrangler, Cherokee and Compass, dash cam installation is a breeze.
Mounting and Placement
Let’s start with where you want to mount your dash cam. Like many other cars, we recommend in front of the rear view mirror. We recommend not having a dash cam with a screen for your Jeep. Although it is a bit easier to position the camera, nowadays cameras have WiFi capabilities which will allow you to change settings and view the live view from your smartphone. We find that if you don’t need to tinker with the angle often, cutting out the screen could save you some space with a smaller dash cam form factor. There’s also less of a chance of a view obstruction if it is hidden by your dash cam.
Your dash cam should be coming with a 3M mount or a suction cup mount. We like the 3M mount in this case as it’s a lot cleaner of an install. Be sure to clean the windshield surface with alcohol before applying the 3M tape or you risk the dash cam not sticking.
Alternatively you can also mount the front unit to the hard plastic that is directly in front of the rear view mirror. In mild climate, we find this to be sufficient and never had any issues, but if you live in hot weather, you may find that the tape can’t get a nice seal onto the plastic.
If you decide to go with a front and rear dash cam setup for your Jeep, which we recommend, there are several places you can mount the rear unit. It will depend on your preferences and what works for you.
A common method is to mount the rear unit to the rear windshield, typically in a corner, but you can mount it directly in the center-top if it doesn’t bother you. For those rocking a soft top, this isn’t possible for you, but you can mount the unit to the rear roll bar for the same effect. The 3M tape should do the trick and the dash cam should also come with tape for the wires which can be utilized for a secure installation.
Yet another alternative is to mount the rear camera just opposite of the rear view mirror, or in back of the rear view mirror. That way the dash cams are “back-to-back” and still holds decent viewing angles. In fact, you cover more of the sides of your car if you take this approach.
Now that we’ve gotten all the mounting options out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about where to run the cables to hide them out of view.
Where to hide the cables
For the cables in the front, you can run them in the top headliner tucking them underneath. You might have to pull the panel a bit with your fingernails or a panel remover. From here, it depends on how you are going to power the device. Are you going to use a OBD2 port on your driver’s side? Or are you going to use your vehicle’s fusebox? Or are you going to use a USB or cigarette lighter? Alternatively, with a little bit more work, if you have a powered rear view mirror, you can tap into that power.
If you plan to use the OBD2 port or the cigarette lighter, you can run the cable towards the driver’s side, removing panels when necessary. If you run your wire towards the passenger side, you can run the cable through the glove compartment and the center trim. This is a pretty easy way to install your dash cam and hide the wires.
For the rear unit, you can run the wires through the top trim along the car, making your way to the rear of your car. Or, you can go through the bottom floor trim.
Hardwiring your Jeep Wrangler or Cherokee
Hardwiring your dash cam into your car allows you to tap the power of your vehicle so you don’t have to use any existing cabin power options. It also is beneficial if you want to utilize parking mode, which essentially is car security at all times.
The trouble with Jeeps is that there is no cabin fuse box and you have to go through your car’s firewall to access the engine’s fuse box. Installation isn’t that big a deal though.
The firewall access is on your passenger side below the glove box. There is a panel with push pins that you will have to remove. Snake the wires through there and grab them from the engine side. Open your fuse box.
Crimp the hard wire onto the ACC wire. Find a good spot to ground the separate wire. Using the hard wire, you now need to locate a fuse you want to hook power from. You can either have a constantly hot or constantly on fuse which will allow you to run the dash cam while off, or you can choose a fuse that only powers on when the car is turned on. At this point it is up to you!
Our top dash cam choice for your Jeep is the BlackVue DR900S 2-Channel. This dual dash cam has tons of features packed into these units. It also has great options for those who want to hard wire their dash cams.
This BlackVue camera has a 4K @ 30FPS front facing camera and a 1080 @ 30 FPS rear unit. It lacks a screen, but we actually prefer that for Jeeps. Especially with the Jeep Wrangler where your vehicle could be exposed to outside eyes, you don’t want a screen that could attract unwanted attention. Everything is controlled by your smartphone and allows you to view, review or download footage. The form factor is really nice as it is pretty small and can fit in the palm of your hand.
Video Quality wise, 4K does make a huge difference. Upgrading this from a 1080p camera will make an impact. The video is clear and image quality is superb. The front lens comes with 8 megapixels whereas the rear comes with 2.1 megapixels. What we really like about this package is that it comes with hits own hardwiring kit called the Power Magic Pro and a 32GB SD card already included.
This Blackvue is an upgrade from the previous model, the DR750 or the DR590. A lot of the features are the same, but there are some stark differences, mainly around resolution. The DR900X is the only one that supports 4K front and 1080p rear. The other models only go up to dual HD, or 1080p. That being said, they are priced accordingly.
Garmin Dash Cam 55
Next up is the Garmin Dash Cam 55. Just by looking at this, you’ll instantly know why you would want this camera. The small form factor makes this really discrete and hidden. For those who leave the soft top off to go to in a store, any valuables you have are exposed. Having a tiny dash cam could make it less visible to the public.
With this dash cam, you will have to compromise on features. For example, this only comes with a front facing camera. You also won’t get parking mode or a SD card included in the Garmin. But, for those who don’t need those extra features, the Garmin Dash Cam performs solidly well. Otherwise, think about upgrading to the newer model.
It records in 1440p and comes with a 2-inch LCD screen. Image quality is pretty good and has some voice control commands you can utilize. Standard is GPS, loop recording and has the ability to control the device with your voice. It also has forward collision and lane departure warnings for extra safety features.
Garmin has recently ventured into the dash cam market place and they have put out several models that need to be explained. The Garmin 55 is the highest quality model that doesn’t have voice control. Garmin has a new line with similar numbers which makes it confusing. Garmin 45, 56, and 66W offer slight modifications to the previous line. The biggest differences are related to the ability to have voice control and driver alerts such as forward collision or lane departure.
As an alternative to the BlackVue, the Thinkware Q800Pro is also a front and rear setup. Front films in 1440p and the rear in 1080p @ 30fps. There is no screen and connects via WiFi. It also comes with built-in GPS which includes speed, location and time data to be attached to your footage. It can also alert you when red lights show up or if you are speeding.
Where this dash cam stands out is the video quality when it is dark. We really like the night time footage, especially when the sun has just set, the video quality of the surroundings are really impressive
Downsides to this dash cam is that the WiFi is a bit finniky. It takes a few tries to connect to your smart phone. Finally, the voice commands are sometimes annoying and I haven’t found a way to turn specific commands off.
This is an upgrade from previous models such as the FA200 as the rear camera is upgraded to Full HD. The Q800PRO dominates in night vision compared to the rest of the models and includes driver safety alerts which pairs nicely. If you have an older car, the only way to get these features is through a dash camera.
Alas, if you need to have a screen, the X700 has a 2.7″ LCD touch screen.
AUKEY Dual Dash Cam 1080P
Finally is the AUKEY dash cam which sports a front and rear unit. This is our budget choice as it doesn’t come with a hard wire option; you will have to purchase separately.
For the features, it comes with a 1080p front facing camera with a 170 degrees field of vision, which is very good. It also comes with a 1.5″ LCD screen, thus no WiFi option. The front has a large aperture which allows more light to hit the sensor, thus generating a clearer image at night time. This device is great for high temperature situations as it uses a supercapacitor battery which allows temperatures to get up to 167 degrees. Feel free to take the AUKEY dash cam with your Jeep Compass in extreme weather!
Finally, something you don’t see a lot in cheaper dash cams is parking mode. The AUKEY comes with motion detection which will allow it to record when the car doesn’t have a key in the ignition.
Dash Cam features you need in a Jeep
This is a feature that allows the dash cam to do the heavily lifting when you are away from the car. It will detect motion and begin recording for future review. This is extremely useful when your car is exposed if you don’t have the shell on.
If possible, try to find out how long the dash cam records for when it detects motion and if there is no motion, it will stop after about 10 seconds.
Having a dash cam with wireless capabilities is really useful. It saves space as your dash cam doesn’t need a screen, and firmware updates are easier. You can view footage, reposition the camera or download footage as you see fit.
From models that have WiFi available, versus other cameras, those with WiFi has tons of more options and tweaks you can make to your camera system.
High Operating Temperature
If you own a Jeep Wrangler or even the new Jeep Renegade, you might be looking to take the dash cam out and get some sunlight! All fine, but keep in mind not all dash cams are created equal. There are some dash cams that don’t do well under extreme heat. What you need to look for are dash cams that have supercapacitor batteries. This feature often means the dash cam can withstand high temperatures. Otherwise, look at the operating temperature and a good dash cam should be rated for around 160 degrees.
Another must-have feature is a G-Sensor. This is the sole technology that helps detect whether your car has been in an accident. It can work in two capacities. Let’s say you are driving your Jeep Wrangler and a car rear ends you. The shock is transferred throughout the car and the camera’s G-sensor will have an accelerometer that will detect an event. This will trigger the dash cam to save the footage and put it into an emergency file so it won’t get overwritten by loop recording.
The other time is used is when you are away from the vehicle. Parking mode will be engaged and in the same fashion, detect when your car has been involved in accident.
We’ve taken a lot more family trips in our Jeep and that involves long drives at night on the road. You’ll want to make sure your dash cam isn’t complete trash when it comes to night vision image quality. Look for cameras that at least mention there F-Stop, or aperture. Ideally this should be F/1.8 or lower.
Is a Dash Cam worth it for a Jeep?
The short answer is yes. We believe a dash cam can be used in whatever Jeep you have because if you own a Jeep, you are more likely to care about your car. Owning a Jeep isn’t something you take lightly and you’ll want to protect your asset by any means possible.
Spending a few hundred dollars can be a great headache saver if something happens to your vehicle. Otherwise, you’ll most likely be able to catch some interesting footage in your Jeep Wrangler, whether it be driving through the city or out on dirt roads.