When it comes to a DIY rear view camera installation, the easiest system to install is a wireless system that makes use of the existing rear license plate mounting holes. It is much easier than a wired rear view camera installation because it is not necessary to run several feet of video cable from the rear of your car, through the cabin, and up to the dashboard. Other than that, any rear view camera installation is basically the same.
Rear view cameras have become more and more popular as they have become more available on new cars. In only a couple of years, backup cameras will become mandatory on all new cars and at that point, the aftermarket will also increase.
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Backup cameras provide a real safety edge that can prevent tragedies involving pets and children. They also can prevent fender benders in parking lots and assist with parking, but the most important use is for preventing unnecessary injuries. A car backup camera is not a dash camera. They serve two different purposes and operate in different ways. While an automotive backup camera is designed to be used only when backing up and displays a view behind your vehicle, a dash camera looks forward at the view in the front of your vehicle and is operating all the time while the vehicle is running. You can think of a rear view camera as a backup assistant, helping you to back up safely.
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We all have a huge blind spot at the rear of our cars, trucks, and SUVs that we probably don’t think about much. If you don’t have a rear view camera system, it may only be a matter of time before you experience an incident because you weren’t able to eliminate that blind spot.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for an incident to take care of the problem. Back up camera systems are designed to reduce or eliminate the blind spot to the rear of your vehicle so that incidents never happen.
You may have balked at getting a system installed because of the cost of the system and the installation costs. Wireless backup camera systems are easy enough to install that the average person with basic skills and the ability to follow simple instructions should be able to install the system themselves saving the installation costs.
The alternative to installing a wireless car backup camera is to install a wired system. The primary difference between the two types of systems is that the wired system uses long video cables to provide a signal to the display, while the wireless system uses a wireless transmitter and receiver to accomplish the same thing. It’s worth noting that while wireless systems are easier to install, a wired system will in most cases perform better. A wireless system can suffer from interference and may not operate as effectively in large vehicles where the distance between the transmitter and receiver is greater. If you don’t mind running cable through your vehicle or are willing to pay the extra money to have a wired system installed professionally, we always recommend wired systems over wireless systems.
This article describes the basic installation steps that will help you with any camera system installation. These steps don’t remove the need to consult the instructions that come with your camera system, but they can give you a leg up on preparing for the installation and helping you to better understand the directions.
There are many types and models of wireless back up camera systems which vary by size of the video display monitor, quality of the camera, type of video display, and camera mounting style. We will only consider one type of camera mounting style and will not be concerned with the video display or camera quality.
The easiest camera mount is one that makes use of the existing rear license plate mounting holes. The camera mounts directly to the plate like a license plate bracket so there is no need to drill any mounting holes.
Wireless Backup Rear View Camera System Installation Preparation
The tools you will need are simple. You will need either a blade or Philips screwdriver to remove the license plate and mount the camera. You will probably also need one of the screwdrivers to remove the license plate light and replace it.
Double-sided tape can be used to mount the transmitter or power supply in the rear of your vehicle instead of screws.
You may need a power drill to mount the wireless transmitter inside the rear of your vehicle and the screwdriver to mount it. On the off chance, you are unable to take advantage of the license plate light to route wiring, you may need to use a drill to make a small hole to route the wires. If you do have to drill a hole, make sure you use the rubber grommet that comes with the kit to protect the wires from the rough edges of the hole.
It’s likely that your backup camera system kit will come with the necessary wiring parts to splice the power into the backup light wires so you probably won’t need that.
Make sure you have an available 12V power port to plug-in the video display monitor or have a plan for how you will hardwire the video display into your existing under-dash wiring.
Wireless Backup Camera System Installation Steps
Each wireless backup camera system comes with three main components; a camera, a transmitter, and a video display/receiver.
Mount the Camera
- Mount the reverse camera on the rear license plate by removing the license plate mounting screws and using them to mount the camera.
- Every vehicle requires a lighted rear license plate and that is done usually with two lights on either side of and above the plate. Remove the light closest to the camera mount’s wiring source and route the wires through the hole with the other light wires. Replace the license plate light.
- Route the wires inside the rear of your car or trunk to the closest rear taillight housing. You will need to identify the backup light wire and splice the appropriate camera power wire to that wire. This will insure that the camera system only operates when your vehicle is in reverse. This is for safety purposes.
- The wireless transmitter will also need to be mounted inside the trunk or rear of the car and connected to the appropriate wire from the camera. Once that is complete, you are done at the rear of the car.
Mount the Video Display
- The video display is easy to install, but may be difficult to give a finished look. Most units simply plug into a 12V power outlet (like a cigarette lighter) for power and may even have the receiver built-in.
- The video display can often be mounted on the dash or windshield with the included mount.
- Some video displays come in the form of a replacement rear view mirror. These are typically mounted over the existing mirror with built-in adjustable clamps. A rear view mirror camera that replaces the existing mirror is more difficult to install and those steps are not covered here.
- If you decide to hide the wiring, you can run the power cord into the headliner, down the A-pillar, under the dash, and either to the nearest 12V power plug or wired directly into the vehicles wiring.
Test the System
- Turn on the car and place the car in reverse. The video display should come on automatically with the rear view camera’s video displayed.
- When you put the car’s transmission in any other position, the video display should go blank.
Rear View Camera Installation
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What do you think of our installation steps? Which backup camera are you planning to buy? Please take a moment to leave a comment below.
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To say it’s easy to install back up cameras is probably an understatement. It’s certainly more cost effective than paying the $100 or even much more to have your local electrics shop, car dealer, retail store, or repair shop do the install.
We sincerely hope that this article has provided you with valuable information that helps you with your wireless rear view camera installation!