Many dash cameras have a parking mode option which you can use if you are leaving your car unattended for a few hours. If your dash camera comes with a parking mode then it may be able to record video footage even if your engine is turned off. Most of the time these cameras will have a motion detector and will only record footage if it has detected movement, but there are other options available. Read on to find out more about parking mode!
Do I Need Parking Mode?
Cameras with parking mode are likely to be more expensive than cameras which do not offer this feature, plus you will probably either need to buy hard wiring tools or pay someone to hard wire the camera for you. It can be a little more expensive and time-consuming to buy and install a parking mode dash camera, so you should only buy one if you think it is necessary.
If you live in a dodgy area, you have been the victim of car theft already, or if your car has been damaged whilst you were away from it then parking mode may be necessary. If you haven’t been a victim of any of these problems yet it may still be necessary as you can’t predict what is going to happen in the future. Only you can decide if it’s worth the extra time and money, but just make sure that if you don’t buy a dash cam with parking mode you won’t end up kicking yourself later on.
Most dash cameras have a G-sensor function which will detect any impacts that happen to your car, but not all dash cameras will include the visual motion detection feature which takes an actual visual image of the event. If you want to have a video record of any events which take place when you are not in the car then you will need a visual motion detector or a camera which takes pictures at regular intervals. This is really important if someone does try to break into your car or vandalises it in some way because you will need hard visual evidence.
Not all dash cameras will have a parking mode feature, so you will need to check the product description and make sure that your chosen camera has this feature beforehand to avoid disappointment.
Location Is Important
Keep in mind that these cameras will normally operate through motion detection and so they are not suitable for all surroundings. If your car is parked in a quiet area without many people then it will perform its function properly, but if it is parked on a busy street and there is constant movement all around the car then it may record non-events and waste battery power and storage space.
There are a few different types of parking mode options that you may want to look out for.
Simple Mode. Cameras using this mode will only start recording if the camera detects motion or if the car is impacted by a crash or something else. There may be a slight delay between the actual event and when the camera actually starts recording. This could be a problem as the perpetrator could have left before the camera starts recording.
Buffered Mode. In this mode, the camera will continuously record and save footage to its internal memory. If the camera detects motion or an impact then it will save the event (including a couple of seconds before and after the event) to the SD card. It will also save the footage to a protected folder so it is not overwritten. The camera will let you know that something happened when you get back to the car so you know to check the SD card.
Time-lapse. This mode involves the camera taking a still picture every few seconds so you have constant images of what was going on whilst you were away. Some of these cameras will also switch to recording mode if they detect something.
In order to take advantage of the extra power, you may need to hard wire your dash camera to your car’s electrical circuit so you are able to record footage without turning on the engine.
The camera may well drain your car’s battery power, so in order to stop that happening you could either install a battery discharge prevention device which will monitor your car’s battery and, when it senses the battery is low (this will normally be when the voltage drops to a preset level) the dash camera will be powered down to stop it completely draining your battery.
You also have the option of buying an external battery pack which you can use to power your dash camera from around 12 to 25 hours. This battery pack will provide your dash camera with constant power as long as it lasts and the battery will recharge when your car engine is on. This is a good option if you want the dash camera to stay on every time it is unattended (including when it is parked on your street or in your driveway), but keep in mind that external battery packs are more expensive.
Things To Look Out For
Not all dash cameras are created equally and (especially if you are investing in the parking mode feature specifically) you will want to get the most out of your money. Some of the things you should look out for when buying a dash camera with parking mode are as follows.
The dash camera is there for surveillance and it’s not going to do its job if everyone can see it. A visible dash camera may actually attract unwanted attention and increase the likelihood that your car is broken into, so where possible make sure that the camera is small and discreet.
You may not be looking for movie-style quality, but the footage still needs to be clear enough that you can tell what’s going on. It is a good idea to look for a camera which can record at a 1080p resolution as 720p is lower quality.
You may want to control the detection sensitivity of your camera so it doesn’t start recording if a bird flies near or if a tree starts waving in the wind. Adjusting the sensitivity means that you can make it so the camera will only start recording people and other cars. This will not only save on battery but it will save you having to shift through hours of useless footage.
The inside of cars get really hot during the summer and many dash cameras will have a maximum temperature that they can tolerate. This may be around 60 degrees, but you may be better off with a higher temperature.
Some dash cameras are energy efficient and they will record for longer without killing your battery. These cameras may claim to use around 30% less battery than regular dash cameras, but make sure you check customer reviews to see if the claims hold up in reality.
You will want a memory card which has as much storage space as possible and is likely to last for a long time.
Dual channel cameras are basically dash camera which can record from the front and rear of your car so you can see if someone crashes into it from behind. These cameras give you more of an insight into what is going on around your car, but they are more expensive and they may not be necessary if the rear area of your car is backed up against a wall.
Dash cameras which come with parking mode are likely to be more expensive and harder to install than regular dash cameras, but they do offer you extra security and peace of mind. Only you can decide if the parking mode is worth it for you personally, but you never know if you’re going to regret not buying it later on.