Dash-cam videos on sites like YouTube can be highly entertaining — they allow us to see driving fails we would otherwise have missed. Outside of entertainment, though, a dash cam can be a great way to protect yourself and your car. What kind of dash cam is right for you and your car? We’ll take a look at the different kinds of cams to help you pick the perfect one to help protect your investment.

What to Look For

What should you be looking for in a dash cam? There are so many different ones on the market it can be hard to know where to start, but in general, you should be looking for:

  • Night vision capability — There’s no point in having a dash cam on your car at night if it can’t even see what’s going on!
  • Automatic power — Most dash cams run off your car’s power, so they should be designed to turn on and off automatically when the engine is on or off — which keeps you from having to remember to turn it on when you start driving.
  • Storage capacity — The more storage space you have on your dash cam, the more video you can record before you need to download it or erase it. Look for cams with high onboard storage or expandable storage that allows you to add SD cards.
  • Video quality — The higher the video quality, the better the camera. Aim for at least 720p video quality to get a clear picture.

What Are You Using It For?

Why are you looking for a dash cam in the first place? That will play a huge part in what kind of cam ends up being the best choice for you.

If you’re getting a dash cam in case you’re in an accident, you’ll probably want front and rear cams that turn on when your car does, and also have impact sensors that make it start saving recorded footage in the event of an impact. Impact sensors can also be useful in case another driver hits you when you’re in a parking lot.

If you’re using a cam for car security, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a cam that comes with its own power source and night vision lenses, so it can keep your car safe at night. If you’re parking in an attached garage, your car is going to be much safer and you won’t need a camera on all the time. If you’re parking on the street, you’re going to want one that stays on 24/7.

If you’re worried you’re going to be determined to be at fault for a car accident that wasn’t your fault, or that you’re going to have to pay an unfair speeding ticket, invest in a dash cam with GPS capability. These track your speed and location and link that information with the dash-cam footage, giving you the tools to defend yourself in these instances.

Whether you’re worried about accidents, someone breaking into your car or you’re just getting a dash cam for your own amusement, these little pieces of technology can be a great investment — and the first time they protect you from getting blamed for an accident that wasn’t your fault, they will definitely pay for themselves.

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Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington and is an automotive journalist who has written for dozens of auto sites, including Yahoo Autos, Hooniverse, GT Spirit, The Mustang Source, and more. Scott's website, www.OffTheThrottle.com, and YouTube channel are popular automotive destinations.

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