Whether you are a brand new dash cam owner, or have had a dash cam for a while, problems can always surface when you least expect it. Technology is great, but does bring some headaches to the owner when the device doesn’t act as intended.
And while you can throw away a cheaper electronic, you’ve spent a good amount on a dash cam and you want it to deliver the return on investment you hoped it could bring. There are a variety of dash cam problems that come up for a multitude of reasons. Firmware, SD card, heat and design flaws all can contribute to an inoperable device.
Let’s troubleshoot the main errors you will likely see and a series of steps you can take to preserve the dash cam.
How to keep dash cams from falling off the windshield
Many dash cams come with a lackluster suction cup that falls off your windshield after some use. There are a few things you can attempt to do to continue using the suction cup.
- Clean the windshield with alcohol. Suction cups work best with smooth areas, so any dirt or grime will create less of a seal.
- Add a drop or two of warm water to the back of your suction cup. The water will push excess air out beneath the suction cup creating a stronger seal. If more air is in the suction cup, the worse the seal.
- Seal the edges of the suction cup with vaseline. It sounds gross, but it keeps the air out.
- Periodically push on the suction cup to force air out
- As a last resort, use a hairdryer or heat gun to gently heat up the back of the suction cup. This should help un-warp any dents and smooth out the plastic
If the suction cup is on its last legs, you could consider applying an adhesive to the suction cup such as double-sided 3M tape. This is more of a permanent solution as removing the tape leaves residue and the tape will lose its effectiveness.
The best method is to cut the double sided tape to match the surface area of the suction cup and apply it to the windshield without the suction cup mount. Then, apply the suction cup mount with the dash cam.
Will a dash cam work without a SD card?
The short answer is no. Technically the dash cam will turn on, but you’ll immediately get an error saying that there is no SD card, therefore it cannot record. A dash cam will need an SD card to record any footage.
Dash cam keeps turning off
There can be a variety of reasons why your dash cam keeps turning on and off. The best thing you can do is eliminate as many possibilities.
- Ensure that the SD card you are using is rated at a Class 10 or higher. You will find this number on the card, typically circled. There are some cases where SanDisk cards don’t play nicely with dash cams so you might want to see if a different brand works.
- Make sure you aren’t using a SD card that is over the dash cam’s maximum capacity.
- Try a different power source. There can be an issue with your vehicle, try someone else’s and see if that resolved the issue.
- The camera might be overheating. This is something that happens if you are driving for an extended period of time in hot weather. The dash cam will perform fine in the beginning but randomly turn off throughout the drive. In this case, try to position the dash cam in a better area, turn off WiFi when not needed and increase airflow to the cabin of the car.
- Ensure the power cables aren’t frayed, compressed or otherwise in bad shape. If they are, you can find new cables online at an inexpensive rate.
- If you are using a dual dash cam setup, disconnect the rear unit and see if it still has power issues.
- Upgrade to the latest firmware
Dash cam keeps resetting date
Under most circumstances, the reason why your dash cam keeps resetting the date is due to the internal battery dying. All dash cams have a very small battery embedded that can power minor functions like date and time. If that battery fails, then the next time you power the car on, the date will reset.
If you drive intermittently, there’s a good chance that the internal battery doesn’t have enough time to fully charge and thus, it cannot hold a charge when you don’t drive.
In order to get a full charge, connect your dash cam to a USB source such as your computer or an outlet, and leave the dash cam on in parking mode. You can cover the sensor or leave it facing a wall so it doesn’t record unnecessary footage. The important thing is to leave the camera on while still powered. This will hopefully fully charge the internal battery.
Otherwise, visit your manufacture’s website and update to the latest firmware, and ensure that you have the time zone set correctly to minimize any errors.
Why is my dash cam not charging?
If your expectation is that your dash cam should be powered on without being connected to a power source, you are mistaken. The vast majority of dash cams don’t have the capability to hold a charge, therefore it isn’t supposed to be charging. It is true there is a very small battery in the unit that is responsible for maintaining the time and date between car trips.
If you drive intermittently, there is a chance that your dash cam doesn’t have enough charge to maintain that information. Much like the above issue with the date resetting, you should plug your dash cam into a USB source and leave the dash cam on for a day in order to fully charge the small internal battery.
Dash cam keeps freezing
The most likely culprit is the microSD card you are using. What is happening is that the dash cam cannot properly record to the card and will result in choppy footage or even complete dash cam malfunction.
Try a different SD card, preferably one that is at least Class 10 or above. If the SD card is the culprit, you can try formatting the original card to see if that fixes the problem, otherwise use the SD card that works for your dash cam.
Dash cam card error
Several errors can pop up on your dash cam that relate to the SD card. It might say “Memory Card Error” or “SD Card is Full” even though it is a brand new SD card.
I had the memory card error when I first had a dash cam. I had no idea why that was happening because I specifically formatted the SD card on my computer. Turns out, many dash cams are particular on how it is formatted and will do it for you, via the dash cam itself. With the card inserted, navigate to the settings and you should see an option to “Format SD card”.
If that doesn’t work, go to the manufacture’s website and see if they recommend or don’t recommend a certain brand of SD card. It is very likely you are using a non-recommended brand, or the manufacture prefers a specific brand. Generally SanDisk Ultra cards aren’t made for dash cams.
Dash cam saying SD card is full
If the dash cam has been working and all of the sudden mentions that the “SD card is full” and is not overwriting, make sure you have loop recording on and set to a looped time.
Ensure that the G-Sensor files aren’t large. When the G-Sensor is triggered, it saves footage to a separate folder that isn’t easily accessible. It doesn’t get overwritten by the loop recording feature. If the G-Sensor is saving false positives, try lowering the G-Sensor sensitivity which will ultimately save more space in the SD memory.
And finally, ensure that the SD card doesn’t have any other files on the SD card you aren’t aware of. There may be hidden files and you should format the SD card via the dash cam, if possible.
If the dash cam is not overwriting older footage like it’s supposed to, follow the same steps. Ensure loop recording is set to ON, and decrease the looped footage to 3 minutes or even 1 minute. In addition, set the G-Sensor to low sensitivity, or completely off.
I cannot connect to the dash cam’s Wi-Fi with my smartphone
You have bought a dash cam that is supposed to connect to WiFi, but the feature doesn’t work and you need to download footage or make setting changes. It is a very common issue to have; here are the steps you need to follow:
- Turn off your phone’s mobile network or LTE signal. You can do this via settings or in the quick access window.
- Turn off your phone’s WiFi so there’s no internet
- Ensure the WiFi on your dash cam is first off, and then turn it on.
- Turn on your phone’s WiFi.
- You should see the network show up on your phone.
- If you are using an Android, after you click on your phone’s WiFi network, it will say connected, but wait a few seconds longer for another screen to show up asking if you really want to connect. Your phone will detect that this WiFi has no internet access so it will prompt you again. Click this box to accept.
Dash cam is out of focus and blurry
There are a few things you can try if your dash cam is not focused, blurry or constantly refocusing. Often, it has to do with the lens, but it could be other areas.
- Ensure your windshield is clean of any major dirt or debris. The camera could be trying to focus on that instead of the road.
- Clean the lens with a microfiber cloth
- In an extreme case, you can try some waterproof sandpaper, wet 500 grit and sand it in a circular motion. We recommend this only as a last resort. Act as if this would ruin your dash cam.
- Another extreme case, you can remove any camera casing on the lens, make a mark and rotate the camera lens. There should be glue that is holding the camera in a certain focus position. You will need to break this glue when you rotate it the first time
- If your camera is under warranty, don’t be afraid to send it back. It’s worth it in the long run!
HD mirror cam troubleshooting
The mirror dash cam can operate a little differently than the other dash cams you see on the market. They have their own problems. The most common one we see is where a white screen will appear on your touchscreen. Other variations of this are graphical errors on the menu.
In order to solve this, depress the reset button on the side of your device. Ensure that the mirror cam is properly charged. And finally, ensure that the SD card is not the problem.
Besides this, we often get more errors with these types of dash cams. Try to contact your manufacturer even if your device is out of warranty. It doesn’t hurt to try.
Dash cam has corrupted files
This is the most frustrating error of them all. There are no signs of problems, but the one time you eject the SD card to check the footage the files are corrupt.
It is a real bummer, but there are some ways you can work around this.
- Try VLC Player. VLC Player has so many video and audio codecs, if your dash cam uses a unique one, trust that VLC will be able to play it.
- Try using your dash cam’s playback feature instead of your computer’s. If you haven’t already, review the footage on your dash cam screen. Your dash cam is specifically built to handle these files whereas your computer is seeing them for the first time. If you can view them on your playback screen, this fixes the issue next time you use your computer.
- Repair corrupt video files. We recommend using the Stellar software to try to recover corrupted files.
- Update your dash cam’s firmware. This can be found on the manufacturer’s website.
Last video gets corrupted
If all of your dash cam footage is working properly except the last video file before you shut off your car gets corrupted, it most likely has to do with the small internal battery or capacitor.
It can either be faulty, or doesn’t have enough charge to finalize the last video. Connect the dash cam to your computer using the USB cable and let it charge for a day. This should solve your issues.