You might be researching this topic because you have a suspicion someone will be vandalizing your car in the near future, or you have the unfortunate luck of already being a victim. Either way, the best advice you can take is from a person who has poured over dash cam features that will catch someone keying your car. Many people overlook this aspect, but according to the 2009 National Household Travel Survey, Americans are in their car for approximately 1 hour a day.
Protecting your car for the 23 hours of the day you are not using it seems like a smart idea. How many times do you think someone has opened a door onto your car, or accidentally brushed their belt across your door? If you are like me, there are times where I suddenly notice scratch marks when I least expect it. I think to myself, was there before? When did I get that? And if lightning decides to strike you, what would you do if someone purposely keyed your car? What if you live in a state with the highest vehicle theft like I do?
In this article, we will be exploring the most mandatory features you need in a dash cam to also protect your car when you are away. Do not buy most dash cams which are one-dimensional. We will turn a normal dash cam into a 24/7 car security camera.
- 24×7 Parking Mode – Motion Activated!
- G-Sensor will detect vibrations or sudden movement to your car
- IR Nightvision with a f/2.0 aperture allowing ideal low light conditions
If you never owned a dash cam before, 99% of dash cams will power off when the car is turned off. In order to get around this, you will need to hook up your dash cam to your car battery using a hardware kit. Doing this will allow your dash cam to be active when the car is off. It won’t draw a large amount of power and we will go through the Parking Mode feature shortly. It is a moderately difficult to install, there are plenty of YouTube videos out there that will guide you step by step, but if you have an electrician, they would be able to do it for you in no time.
When you are browsing for a dash cam to combat vandalism, you NEED to have parking mode. It is an absolute must. Parking mode will automatically detect motion and start recording. If your set up has multiple cameras looking in the cabin or the rear, it should have a feature to start automatically recording as well. Higher end dash cams will refer to parking mode as motion-detection, but some define parking mode only when your car experiences a vibration/g-force. Be sure to make sure this is motion-activated.
Again, this feature needs to have a constant power source attached. You can try our cordless solutions or use the hardwire kit.
G-Sensor or Gravity sensor will detect a collision or otherwise some vibration to the car and will signal to the dash cam to save the footage. You may know this as an accelerometer. All modern smart phones have this feature. When there is a sudden change in direction to the car, dash cams will save footage 10 seconds before the incident to about a minute afterwards. This is helpful in situations where your car is parked in crowded areas and a car accidentally backs into your car. People at my nearby mall won’t hesitate to drive off, but with the G-Sensor you’ll get a front row seat to the incident.
Don’t follow in my footsteps. I set up a camera, recorded some footage and went back to review and I couldn’t make anything out. When guarding for vandalism, 70% of motor vehicle theft crime occurs during the night. You’ll want to be able to have manageable footage if something does happen to your car.
On the current market, there are a lot of dash cams that market that they have the best night vision. They’ll say a lot of fluff like “Super Night Vision” or “Nighthawk Vision”. like Most of them don’t. Here are a few ways to separate out the good from the bad.
Look for the manufacturer to mention the lens’ f-number or f-stop. It will be in the form like “F/1.8” or “F/2.0”. A smaller f-stop is able to take in more light and have a clearer picture.
Otherwise, see if they market Infrared Night Vision. These dash cams will have typically 4 infrared lights that will help capture dark images. As always, try to find examples from customers who have tested out the night vision. If you are parking outside, but in front of your house, consider getting motion sensor lights. These will work injunction with your dash cam and provide ample light for capturing late night activity.
Vantrue N2 Pro
Here is our most recommended dash cam when it comes to vandalism. The Vantrue has every feature we mentioned, like the 24/7 Parking Mode, G-Sensor and Night Vision. It sports a f/2.0 aperture which allows a lot of light to hit the sensor.
What we like about this dash cam is that it also is temperature resistant to both heat and cold. This dash cam won’t be overheating or having its image fogging up.
Vantrue N1 Pro Mini Dash Cam
Yes we like the Vantrue’s so much we are recommending its little brother for a budget dash cam. Like its older brother, it has all of the needed security features, but doesn’t have the IR night vision. It does have a F/1.8 which is a large sensor. It’s simplistic form factor doesn’t clog up your window space. By having a small design, you give up having a cabin facing camera.
Not a dash cam but as mentioned earlier you park at your house for at least 12 hours a day. Coupled with most car crimes committed at night, have a security camera set up is wise. We recommend using the Blink Outdoor Camera System. It isn’t too overly expensive and will ONLY record when motion is detected. Position this to capture your entire car and the blind spots your dash cam cannot see.
This system only requires double AA batteries and will last up to two years on intermittent use (don’t have this point to a busy street).
Your car is one of the most expensive assets you own. You want it to last many years, so why not be proactive and protect it? You’ll never know when something will happen to your car, it often comes at unsuspecting times. Hopefully this guide will give you a few ways to protect your property. If you need a discrete method, check out how to hide your dash cam.