Getting the best performance out of your Dash Cam
So you have purchased a quality Dash Cam from us – tick
You’ve had it installed correctly and it all looks good – tick
It is recording while you are out on the road and/or parked – tick
So what do I do now? Do I need to maintain the Dash Cam at all or just let it do its thing?
Once a Dash Cam is installed correctly and you have configured the settings to your preferences, for the majority of its lifespan it is pretty much set and forget.
You would only really find yourself touching the Dash Cam if you need to access videos (hopefully not though) but, there are some ongoing things in our opinion you should be doing:
1. Use a high quality Micro SD card
The quality of the Micro SD card can make or break the functionality of the Dash Cam. You’ve gone to the effort of purchasing a quality Dash Cam, so ensure you use a quality Micro SD card. Always use the recommended Micro SD card to ensure the Dash Cam can operate and save video files correctly.
2. Format the Micro SD card regularly
Formatting the Micro SD card erases and resets the card. Regular formatting can prevent corrupt video files and ensures the card is in optimum condition.
Our rule of thumb is to at least format the Micro SD card once a month. At the start of every month, try and format the card. Formatting can either be done via the Dash Cam itself (by holding down a format button), in the Dash Cam app or on the computer via the Dash Cam software. We always recommend formatting via the Dash Cam itself or in the app as this ensures the correct format is used.
All Micro SD cards eventually wear out and fail in a Dash Cam, this is unavoidable. Micro SD cards are under a massive amount of stress when used in a Dash Cam. They are constantly saving and re-looping videos and also subjected to very high temperatures in a car. Micro SD cards have a limited lifespan so will eventually need replacing. We have had Micro SD cards wear out after 12 months and some after 24 months. Longevity depends on many external factors like amount of use and temperature conditions.
Regular formatting can assist in extending the lifespan of the Micro SD card.
3. Configure the camera settings based on your needs
All Dash Cams are set with factory settings which you will mostly need to change. As you use the Dash Cam you might find that you have to tweak some settings until you get them right.
For example you may find the g-sensor sensitivity is set too high for your car. This will cause the Dash Cam to record false “impact” files if you drive over a speed bump. You might have to tweak settings like this until you find the sweet spot.
Park mode settings might also need to be tweaked, like the motion detection sensitivity.
So don’t expect your initial setup to be spot on. It is normal to tweak the settings over a few drives.
4. Set the correct GMT (Global meanwich Time)
If the Dash Cam has GPS, ensure the correct GMT is set for your location. On boot up, the Dash Cam GPS will connect to satellites based on your set GMT. Once connected, the Dash Cam will automatically adjust the date and time for your location. If the GMT is not set correctly, the video files will show a different date and time stamp on the files.
Remember that the GMT can change for some states. For example, in VIC the GMT is +10:00 outside of daylight savings. During daylight savings is +11:00. So when you are changing your house clocks, change your Dash Cam clock also.
5. Ensure the speaker and voice notifications are ON
We highly recommend leaving the speaker and voice notifications ON, especially for screenless Dash Cams. If voice notifications are muted, then you won’t hear any critical information or feedback from the Dash Cam.
If something is not right with the Dash Cam or Micro SD card, a voice notification will normally alert you. If these notifications are muted, then you will unassumingly be driving along thinking the Dash Cam is recording.
If there is an error, the Dash Cams don’t record until the error is resolved. Therefore, if you miss the error everytime the Dash Cam boots up, it won’t be recording.
It is also reassuring to hear the Dash Cam on start up. Most Dash Cams will say “recording started” on boot up. Keep an ear out for these notifications to give you reassurance it is recording.
Some Dash Cam have “safety alerts” like lane departure warning etc… If you find these annoying they can generally be muted separately to the other important error notifications.
Listen out for your Dash Cam on startup, make sure you hear it is recording. Also listen out when you park up. For park mode Dash Cams, you will be notified that it switched over to park mode recording when you turn off the engine. When you start driving again, the Dash Cams will alert you that normal driving recording has started again.
For Dash Cams that have a screen, safely check for any on-screen errors on boot up.
Most of the important errors will have an audible alert so they are very hard to miss unless the Dash Cam is muted.
6. Speak into your Dash Cam
All our Dash Cams record audio on top of the video. The microphones can be muted however we find the audio recording can assist you in some situations.
No Dash Cam or manufacturer guarantees you pick up all license plates in the footage. If they guarantee this, they are lying! It is too difficult to pick up all license plates under all driving conditions.
If you encounter a dangerous driver or dangerous situation, try and read out the license plate so the Dash Cam records your audio. Describe the situation, the car or the behaviour. If the video didn’t get the plate, then at least you have the back up audio of it. This can help insurance companies track the offender down. The mix of audio and videos really helps.
7. Check for firmware updates
Dash Cam manufacturers sometimes release new Dash Cam firmware. Firmware upgrades can make changes to existing features or add new features. Sometimes the manufacturers are made aware of rare software bugs after release of the Dash Cam.
Firmware is easy to update. You basically download the firmware file from the manufacturer website, copy and paste it onto the Micro SD card and boot up the Dash Cam. The Dash Cam will recognise the file and install the firmware. The process takes a few minutes.
On average we see Dash Cam manufacturers releasing firmware anywhere between 1-3 times a year (if necessary).
8. Check videos regularly
Check your videos every now and again. Pop the card in your computer or check the videos in the app.
For Wi-Fi enabled Dash Cams, use the app every now and again. If the Dash Cam isn’t pairing to your phone, maybe you have an older version of the app. You won’t know unless you check.
These quick and easy checks give that extra reassurance that all is working well.
If you have any further enquiries or would like more assistance please do not hesitate to contact us on (03) 9350 2605 or firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with us live on our LIVE CHAT tab on the site. We are more than happy to answer any questions or assist you with a Dash Cam recommendation.