Formatting Your Micro SD Card
Most Dash Cams are very low maintenance and once initially set up, you pretty much don’t need to touch them unless you want to review the footage.
The only regular maintenance required on a Dash Cam is formatting the Micro SD Card. Most problems encountered with Dash Cams are SD card related and not the Dash Cam itself.
Common signs and symptoms of problematic SD cards are freezing, restarting, not recording, or gaps in recordings. 9 out of 10 times a simple format of the SD card will rectify these issues. If not, you could be due for a new SD card or try a different brand.
What is formatting and why do you need to do it?
Formatting an SD card clears any file corruption and essentially resets the SD Card. All files are deleted off the card and it is reset back to the default, factory format. SD Cards in Dash Cams are under intense stress and wear and tear because they are constantly recording and looping while driving. The SD cards in Dash Cams are exposed to varying temperatures and humidity, vibrations, interruptions when turning the Dash Cam on and off and hours of continuous writing and re-writing.
Ensure your Micro SD Card is Class 10 Write Speed rated and is not SanDisk branded. We recommend Samsung EVO cards purchased from us or other reputable Australian Retailers. Don’t buy your SD card off eBay – it is flooded with fake/rebranded/refurbished SD cards that cause both functional and physical Dash Cam issues. In Dash Cams, all Micro SD cards are consumable products which do eventually degrade and fail. They have a certain number of re-write cycles they can perform. The lifespan of an SD card depends on the card brand, age, amount of recording it does and environmental conditions. Regular formatting can extend its life.
How often should I format my SD card?
For optimal performance of your Dash Cam and the SD card, it is recommended to format your SD Card monthly. It is also important to format your Micro SD card at first use via the camera menu.
How do you format the SD card?
The easiest, fastest and RECOMMENDED method is in the Dash Cam itself. Most Dash Cams have an inbuilt format function which can be run via the camera menu. Formatting the card in the Dash Cam should take around 10 seconds. **Formatting within the Dash Cam itself will ensure the correct format is set (which is FAT32).
If your camera has frozen or won’t start up, then obviously you can’t access the menu to format the card. In this case, your SD card will then need to be formatted on your computer via the instructions below – either Apple or Windows.
** The required format for most Dash Cams is FAT32. The instructions below will ensure your SD card is FAT32 formatted. Using a format not supported by your Dash Cam will cause functional problems and will not work in your Dash Cam **
- Insert your Micro SD card into an SD card adaptor.
- Insert the SD card adaptor into your computer.
- Open up DISK UTILITY. You can find Disk Utility in the search function at the top right of your Apple screen. This is what Disk Utility looks like once open:
- Highlight your SD card from the devices list on the left. SD cards are generally named “no name” or “untitled” if you haven’t already given it a name.
- Once highlighted, click “ERASE” button and the following pop-up will appear:**The default format is ExFAT, which WILL NEED TO BE CHANGED TO MS-DOS (FAT) by clicking the drop down menu:
- Once MS-DOS (FAT) has been selected simply click “Erase” and if successful you should see this pop-up:
Well done, you can now insert your formatted SD card back into the camera (always eject it safely from your computer).
Some Windows operated computers have a similar inbuilt format function like the Apple Disk Utility. Try the following method first (Method 1) and if not successful you will need to download a FAT32 format program (Method 2).
- Insert your Micro SD card into a SD card adaptor.
- Insert the SD card adaptor into your computer.
- Open up the My Documents Folder
- On the left of the folder you will see a list of all drives
- Right Click on the SD card drive (normally titled “no name” or “untitled”) and click “Format”
- A pop-up will open. Ensure you change the file system from exFat to FAT32. Some computers won’t have the FAT32 option. If not use (Method 2) below.
- Click Start and you are done
Use this Method if your Windows default formatter doesn’t have FAT32 the format option
- Download a free FAT32 Formatter Program – click here to download. Follow the PC Instructions
- Once installed, open up the formatter
- Insert your Micro SD card into a SD card adaptor
- Insert the SD card adaptor into your computer
- In the formatter, select your SD card drive from the drop down menu
- Once selected, click start and when finished you will see the following:
In all cases, once your SD card is formatted, always click the eject button before pulling the SD card out of your computer.