How To Setup A Rear View Camera For A Car

Safely using a backup camera is essential, as a continuous video stream showing what is going on can be a severe distraction.

Focusing most of your attention on what is in front of you, as well as obeying all traffic regulations, will make using your camera safer.

How To Setup a Rear View Camera for a Car

Setting up things to turn on a backup camera while driving is possible but requires some handiwork. Making sure you have everything you need will prevent a lot of frustrating outcomes.

For a backup camera to work as expected, it must operate independently of the reverse lights and system. Otherwise, it will not work while the vehicle is in drive, which defeats the purpose.

Assemble the Tools

The right tools are essential for such a job, though some aren’t of the type that most people have around the house. These tools and parts include:

  • Grommets
  • Set of nut runners or sockets
  • Utility knife
  • Torx set with sockets
  • Wire crimper or stripper
  • Flashlight
  • Safety glasses
  • Adjustable wrench or wrench set
  • Hand drill with metal drilling bits

Assembling these tools before you begin will help prevent a lot of hassles. Many unintended problems have their origins in a car owner forgetting tools or parts necessary to complete the job.

Find the Right Camera

Each driver will need to decide what works for their budget and what quality level is acceptable.

Basic backup cameras, for example, may cost less than $100 but often have weaker cables and less weather resistance.

Backup cameras that use a universal license plate-style or are Wi-Fi enabled will average $100 to $200. Drivers who use these cameras are confident about their abilities to do the job.

Understand Your Vehicle

Vehicle owners who own models with installed backup cameras will be unlikely to be able to modify these cameras for continuous streams.

Much of the installation process for aftermarket backup cameras is the same as OEM camera installation, and wiring diagrams can provide some helpful guidance.

Cameras that run continuously might cause more battery drain than others, possibly leading to a frequent need for jumpstart.

Checking with a mechanic before undertaking this task may prove helpful in deciding what steps are necessary.

Important DIY Work

A rearview mirror kit that can be dashboard or windshield-mounted will come in handy. The monitors that come with these kits are very helpful and will provide the image clarity that you require.

If the cables that come with the kit are a little long, this is not a problem. Having to trim the wires down somewhat is better than having them come up short.

Taking rough measurements of the area where the camera will be mounted, with a few feet to spare, will help. Making sure the camera fits properly will help avoid a lot of potential problems.

Installing a camera is usually an easy process. However, reading all the instructions first goes a long way towards a successful outcome.

Removing the Interior Trunk Panel

If you have a thin flathead screwdriver handy, you can pry off the interior panel in the trunk easily because of the hard rubber or plastic construction.

Usually, these panels come off quickly, and you will want to be careful about applying too much pressure.

Once removed, you can get a better look at the cables to know what to expect. Although wiring diagrams are helpful, seeing the wires yourself helps put everything into its proper perspective.

Removing the License Plate

Although you will, of course, replace the license plate, you will also want to make sure the camera won’t block your license plate.

Misjudging where to drill the hole will not only take up more of your time but could make the process needlessly frustrating.

Drilling a hole through the exterior will help provide a path to install the cables. Once this hole has been drilled, inserting a grommet will be the next step for running the wires.

Running and Connecting Wires

Locating the running lights will make it easier to connect the camera to a continuous power source. If you are unsure of the location, your owner’s manual should have the information that you require.

Stripping the negative and positive running lights and splicing them on the camera’s power cable is the next step. Electrical tape can hold everything together and prevent the risk of shock.

The cable will need to be connected to the car’s fuse box. Depending on your preferences, you may opt to run this cable on top of or underneath the ceiling panels.

Mounting the Monitor

Regardless of whether you are mounting the monitor on the dashboard or the rearview mirror, your device instructions will provide the best guidance.

In most cases, the camera’s RCA cable will connect to the RCA output on the monitor.

Depending on the model, a trigger wire or fuse tap might be necessary.

These options will help determine how your monitor connects to the power source, and the documentation that came with the device will offer the best guidance.

Testing the Camera

If everything has been installed properly, you should see a continuous stream of activity at your car’s rear. However, your camera will function better if powered off in settings where you don’t need constant access.

Farm and ranch settings are two examples of situations where these cameras are the most useful.

There is less of a risk of colliding with other drivers while keeping a watch for equipment or livestock that may end up in back of your vehicle.

How Do I Get My Backup Camera Always On?

There are three standard options to keep the backup camera always on. The critical thing to keep in mind is that backup cameras kept on all the time require proper wiring.

Manual switching involves a connection to a constant power source, such as the cigarette lighter. You can switch the camera view at will but will experience some battery drain.

A somewhat more convenient option is connecting the camera to the ignition system. Many commercial trucks and vans use this type of configuration.

Having the camera connected to a constant power supply, such as the cigarette lighter, helps you use the camera as a security system when the vehicle is parked.

However, unless you drive frequently, the battery may drain faster than expected.

As helpful as these cameras are, there are some issues that may lead to problems. Understanding these issues can help you make better choices about which system you use.

We have highlighted how much of a problem battery drain can be with some configurations.

For the best chances of eliminating battery drain, it is a good idea to leave the car parked and undriven for more than two days at a time.

Weather extremes, particularly extreme cold weather, may affect your camera system. If you live in an area that sees extreme temperatures, it is a good idea to pick a camera that can withstand the weather.

Making sure the power source is fused will help prevent damage if your vehicle has a power surge. Fused power sources are especially important with direct connections.

Proper installation skills and quality equipment make all the difference if a backup camera is always on.

When you have read all the documentation before your installation, there are likely to be fewer problems.

Can You Look at Back Up Camera While Driving?

You can look at your backup camera while driving. However, using some commonsense defensive driving techniques will help ensure that everything goes smoothly.

One thing that is helpful to keep in mind is that most of these cameras have a fish-eye lens. A downside that comes with this type of lens is limited visibility.

Most of the time, it is difficult to see more than 10 or 15 feet in the back of you.

When driving on a highway with a lot of big rig traffic, you may not be able to see larger vehicles that are starting to get too close as easily.

The distance that drivers can see when backing up in a parking lot or driveway is insufficient for watching traffic when in drive. These cameras are not substitutes for using your mirrors.

Another issue associated with looking at a backup camera while your car is in drive is that you can get too distracted.

Drivers preoccupied with what is on their back could miss another vehicle, pedestrian, or animal that goes in front of them.

If driving on private land, glancing at the monitor for the backup camera more often is less likely to cause difficulties. Because this is a setting devoid of cross-traffic, you can check your monitor more often.

How Do I Keep My Ford Backup Camera on While Driving?

Many Ford owners will recommend having a backup camera used while in drive run to a separate screen. One thing that drivers with this brand are concerned about is voiding the vehicle’s warranty.

A good reason for using a separate camera and monitor is to avoid wear on the camera installed in your vehicle.

Whenever cameras are used in unintended ways, they have a greater chance of wearing out faster.

Regardless of the make of the vehicle, some states prohibit looking at display screens while driving. Depending on the circumstances, there might be an expensive citation involved.

Some Ford truck models are better choices for backup cameras because they allow placement above the license plate area. The Ford Transit is an example of a model that falls into this category.

Another feature on some Ford trucks is a camera used to provide a better view when hooking up a trailer.

However, this camera lacks the overall functionality of a backup camera and should never be used in the same way.

Although Ford backup cameras could be used while in drive, these cameras are largely unsuited for this purpose. A separate display allows this type of camera to work more efficiently.

How Do I Use My Backup Camera on Google Drive?

To use your backup camera on Google Drive, the camera must be Android-compatible or capable of synching with an Android phone.

Your iPhone can also use a version of Google Drive, but the compatibility is more seamless with an Android.

Transferring your video from the camera to your phone will give you a copy ready to upload to Google Drive.

Tapping the plus icon will allow you to upload the video to the folder of your choice on Google Drive.

When you access these videos, you can look back over your footage whenever you wish. If you want to have a record of anything that took place on the road, these videos will help.

If the backup camera doubles as a surveillance camera when the vehicle is parked, you can review this footage to find out about anything unusual. Such videos often prove helpful after burglaries.

Final Thoughts

A rear view camera for a car can be very useful, but there are several considerations that need to go into your decision.

Selecting the right camera, installing it in the most helpful way for your needs, and practicing safe driving methods will help you benefit the most.