Easy DIY Dash Cam Tips from a Mom ~ Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Easy DIY Dash Cam Tips from a Mom

DIY Dash Cam Tips from a Mom

If you follow regularly, you may have noticed that the NextBase 122 Dash Cam was in our holiday gift guide. I installed it in my car and raved about how easy it was to install and use.  Unfortunately, I did not find the time to install one in my husband's SUV soon enough. Someone hit our vehicle while our family was in it and then sped off.  We were okay and the damage wasn't too bad, but we were shaken up when it happened.  We quickly called the police and an officer showed up.  The experience caught us off guard and was a blur as we tried to share as many details as possible with the officer. There were actually other witnesses too, but none of us caught the license plate of the vehicle that hit us and drove off quickly.  The officer asked if we had a dash cam that may have captured the license plate number of the vehicle. He said that since they drove off toward the highway, he could alert other officers in the area. However, we did not have the dash cam in my husband's SUV and could not provide that information. We are now firm believers in the importance of dash cams. Not only do we have to pay for the damage to our vehicle on our own, it's unsettling to know that there is someone out there who would knowingly hit a moving vehicle with people inside and drive off without checking to see if they were okay. A good dash cam would have allowed us to clearly identify and report the driver.  In today's post, I'll share tips for setting up and using a dash cam. 

1. Select a good dash cam model.
Personally, we use the Nextbase brand of dash cams because they have an excellent reputation. You've probably seen them mentioned on the Ellen show's 12 Days of Giveaways and in other media outlets. Others recommended it to me, so I gave this brand a try and was very happy.

I started with the the NextBase 122 Dash Cam for my car. It offers 720p HD recording on a 5 layer glass lens and has a 120 degree viewing angle. Nextbase offers free cloud storage so that you are able to protect and secure your footage in a safe location. I was able to set it up and figure out how to use it in less than 45 minutes. We've used it during the day and in the evening. The images were great at both times of day. The other reason that we love it is that it is the most competitively priced dash cam on the market at $59.99.  

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After our accident, we got two additional dash cams for my husband's vehicle, including both a front and rear dash cam.  This was based on the recommendation of the police officer and one of the witnesses of the hit-and-run on our vehicle.  While the NextBase 122 Dash Cam is fantastic and economical, we have the NextBase 422 Dash Cam for the front of my husband's vehicle: 

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and the NextBase 322 Dash Cam for the rear of his vehicle:

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They are both amazing options and we wanted to see the difference between the two. We went with the 422 in the front because it has the Emergency SOS service option, 1440p HDE resolution, and integrates with Alexa. We put the 322 in the back and it has amazing 1080p resolution as well as a GPS to tag videos.

2. Buy a model that is easy to install.
The engineers at NextBase seem to be perfectionists who pay meticulous attention to detail. They seem to understand that we aren't all tech wizards or necessarily into DIY car hobbiest projects. We installed three different models and each one was an easy-peasy and clean installation. I was initially confused about whether the wires would be distracting, but the way that you tuck them into the vehicle panels with the little tool that they provided created a seamless experience and it's hard to notice the wires. They look natural in our vehicle and none are exposed in a way that our kids would grab a wire or trip over one.  Routing the wire to hide it and keep it out of the way took about five minutes.

Routing the charging cable in our vehicle involved a few simple steps:

First, mount the dash cam just under your rearview mirror using the provided suction cup or adhesive.  Connect the USB charging cable to the mounting bracket. Gently remove slack from the cable while pulling toward the top of the windshield.  

Next, push the cable between the head liner panel and the windshield.  Continue to push the cable into this crack while moving in the direction of the passenger side.

Continue pushing it into place. 

You'll also go around the area near the door. (I didn't even realize that you could put wires through like this until I installed the dash cam!)

Route the cable into the paneling and down the side until reaching the bottom of the dash.  Route the cable under the dash.

You'll continue to your outlet. Personally, we have one in our console and in the front of our car. You'll route it to the most convenient one in your car. You will then plug it into your outlet.

3. Spend time with the user manual.
As I mentioned earlier, the engineers behind the NextBase dash cams seem to have thought of everything. These devices are actually quite amazing and you may not realize how powerful they are and that they offer many features such as WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as live video monitoring on your phone, and GPS.

4. Consider installing both front and rear dash cams.
The officer that met with us after the hit-and-run accident recommended that we get both front and rear dash cams. He said that he has seen an increase in accidents with the extra holiday shopping traffic. While we were hit from the font, the officer reminded us that many people are rear ended.  He personally has front and rear dash cams on his vehicle.

5. Use a dash cam with GPS built-in.
The included GPS in the 422 and 322 displays your current coordinates to the dash cam display.  This allows you to keep up with where family members are located (and possibly help with directions!).  The GPS is helpful to provide additional context to your videos.  In the case of emergency, the built-in NextBase Emergency SOS service will also use your GPS to route responders to your location.

We hope that these tips help you in your search for the best dash cam for your vehicle.  I wish that we would have had these installed before our accident, but I'm just grateful that my family is healthy. In the meantime, I followed the advice of the police officer who arrived at the scene when we were in the accident by installing dash cams in both of our vehicles. It was much easier than I expected and I am glad that we took the short amount of time to install them.

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