Buying the right dash cam will depend on how you typically use your car, where you live and places where you might need to leave it parked. If you travel a lot for work, for example, then you will want to have a larger SD card and a good, reliable GPS tracker to make sure that your journeys and speeds are recorded. If you live or need to park in a bit of a dodgy area then you will definitely need a dash cam with reliable parking mode options to keep watch while you are parked and away from your car.
Will the recording dash cam drain my car battery?
How your dash cam is powered will make a difference to its impact on your car battery.
If your dash cam gets its power from the car’s cigarette lighter port, then when the car is switched off it won’t use any power as it won’t function – and therefore won’t be recording. (Unless your car is an older model which will mean it continues to function when the car is off and will definitely be draining your car battery.)
Hardwiring the dash cam to your car switchboard will mean it continues to record when the car is off, but it shouldn’t drain your battery as it requires approximately half the power of an ordinary light bulb and usually contains a feature that will switch it off if it senses the car’s battery power is getting low.
How do dash cams record while parked?
Dash cams typically have a few methods of recording when parked and there are advantages to each mode. The best cameras, such as those in our range at Viofo, have several modes you can choose between depending on your requirements.
1. Simple parking mode
This is the most energy efficient mode as it ‘sleeps’ until it senses a motion or impact, when it will then switch on and record. This is a perfect mode if you are parked for longer periods, however, it can take time to boot up, by which time it may have missed the action or the perpetrator.
2. Buffered parking mode
This is the most recommended as it continually records but saves footage to the internal memory cache of the camera. If it senses motion or an impact it will record the incident, with 10 – 30 seconds of before and after footage, to the SD card in a protected folder and will alert you when you return to the vehicle. Some cameras with Wi-Fi capabilities will even notify you and send the video to the app on your smartphone.
3. Time Lapse mode
This mode records a still photo every few seconds or so giving you a video of what is taking place around your car for a longer period. Some cameras have the facility to return to recording mode if sensing unusual movement or an impact event and save the file to the SD. This mode is useful when the car is parked on a busy street where motion detection could end up saving tons of useless video clips to fill up your memory card.
So, the answer to the question – ‘will dash cam record while parked?’ is yes, and no.
It depends on how your camera is powered, but at Viofo all of our cameras provide some system for recording when parked and most of our quality cameras offer a range of options. Having the means to record what is happening around your vehicle when you can’t be there could produce invaluable evidence to help the police convict someone who has committed a crime either to your car or someone else’s. It might even capture evidence of a house break-in which can help others in your community.