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How Long Do Dash Cam Batteries Last?

Some dash cam models can still operate after they have been removed from their primary power source. The backup batteries these models have enable your dash cam to do its job long after it's been unplugged. But how long will they last? We researched these devices in depth so you'll know for sure what to expect.

Dash cam batteries will last between 12 and 70 hours depending on the battery pack that you select. These batteries can be used for between five and 10 years before they need to be replaced.

Now that we know how long dash cams will last on battery power, we'll take a look a the different ways these devices are powered. You might also be wondering if your insurance will go down if you have a dash cam, or if the police can seize dash cam footage. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

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Car video camera (dash cam) installed inside of car with blurred background of highway road, looking from perspective of the driver. - How Long Do Dash Cam Batteries Last?

The Various Ways You Can Power Your Dash Cam

There are three different methods of powering a dash cam in your car or truck. While no one way is any more right than any other, you'll find that each way carries its own advantages and disadvantages. Weigh out these pros and cons carefully and you'll be able to determine which one is right for your situation.

Hands installation front camera car recorder, Car DVR Vehicle.

A Dash Cam Can Be Plugged Into The 12V Outlet In Your Dash

The easiest way to power your dash cam is to plug it into the 12V socket. These are usually located on the lower part of the dash or in and around the console between the front seats. Older drivers will know these power ports as what cigarette lighters are used to plug into.

The wire from the dash cam will be connected to the plug, which is easily popped in and out of the outlet. Though the easiest way to power your vehicle, it has some drawbacks. Many vehicles only come with one of these outlets, and you or a passenger might have another use for it than powering the dash cam.

Leaving these in overnight can run the risk of a phantom drain on the car battery. So if you do use the 12V outlet to power your dash cam, it's a great idea to unplug it when you're finished driving.

You Can Also Power The Dash Cam With An External Battery Pack

Buying an external battery pack is a second option. This will plug into the 12V socket and into the dash cam. While the vehicle is on, the external battery pack draws power from it to recharge and at the same time powers the dash cam.

A great advantage to this type of charging is that it will not draw power from the car battery when the vehicle has been turned off.

These battery packs can continue to power the dash cam for hours—even days—after the power source for the batteries has been disconnected. This makes putting the dash cam in parking mode a potential long-term recording experience.

The major con of an external battery pack is the additional expense. You'll need to pay a good deal more money for this accessory. But many consumers feel that the cost is worth it.

The Dash Cam Can Be Hardwired Into Your Vehicle's Electrical System

The third and final method of powering the dash cam is to have it hardwired into the vehicle's electrical system. This does require a bit of skill on your part. Or, you would pay a professional to install it for you.

When the dash cam is hardwired in, it will draw power directly from the vehicle's battery. Any time that the vehicle is on, the dash cam will have power. 

Some model dash cams have a power source that can keep them going for a few hours after the vehicle is turned off. Be mindful of the dash cam that you select, and be sure to understand what features it has and doesn't have.

Will My Car Insurance Go Down If I Have A Dash Cam?

Certain accessories and features are known to help lower a person's vehicle insurance a bit. Whether it's due to enhanced safety features or better security, insurance companies will sometimes knock a bit off the premiums if it feels like the add-ons lower the odds of a claim.

However, these won't result in less out of your pocket in most cases when it comes to dash cams.

Experts point out that insurers will offer discounts for dash cam users in the EU. But in the United States, no insurer would do so until the end of 2021 when Ohio-based Branch Insurance started to knock 8% off premiums if a specific type of dash cam was installed. Will these savings add up if others insurers follow suit?

The savings are pretty slim considering that dash cams cost between $100 and $400. If your average auto insurance premium is $1,000/year, you'd save an estimated $80. It would take more than 4.5 years to even out if you bought a more expensive dash cam model at that rate.

Pile with american one hundred dollar bills isolated on white background.

Can The Police Seize Dash Cam Footage?

The dash cam is your property as is the footage that it records. But that doesn't mean that it cannot be used for official purposes. Even if you refuse consent, police can take your dash cam footage if they believe it can help with an investigation.

Should your dash cam capture video that can be used for those purposes, police will likely politely ask you to give them access to it.

You can refuse, but they'll be able to get a subpoena, leaving you no choice. If you refuse to comply at that point, you can get into trouble for impeding an investigation or for obstruction of justice. 

It's best to be courteous and help investigators if they ask you for the footage. This will help save them time and maybe keep you on the right side of the law.

American policeman and police car in the background.

What Is Parking Mode For A Dash Cam?

Dash cams are the perfect tools for capturing and recording images in front of your vehicle. Even when you're traveling at high rates of speed, these handy devices get usable footage. They can even track your speed!

One feature of many dash cam models is parking mode. This mode can be engaged so that the camera will continue to record footage long after you have turned the vehicle off and walked away.

Many see parking mode as an additional crime deterrent, as would-be thieves will see the camera and have no idea if it is recording or not.

Parking mode will stay activated as long as the dash cam is still powered. Whether it is getting its power from its internal batteries, from an external battery pack, or if the power is being drained slowly from the car battery, parking mode will operate for a good number of hours.

Car Camera DVR Dash Cam.

Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used Against You?

The dash cam is an independent source of information. The footage it captures provides an unbiased perspective of what goes in front of its lens. This can mean good news for you if there's a dispute after a car accident. But it can also spell trouble if you are the one at fault.

If your dash cam footage is taken by police or an insurance company, they will not care if the camera is yours. Suppose the footage shows that the events that transpired are your fault. You can count on the footage being used to the other party's advantage.

What's important is that the right thing is done. If you're at fault, it's best to admit it and move on. This is important whether you have a dash cam or not.

Final Thoughts

Dash cam batteries will last quite a while in between charges depending on what model dash cam you have installed. Consider an external battery pack that you can use for the longest recording sessions in parking mode for 70 hours or more. Weigh out the pros and cons of each dash cam powering method carefully to find the best way for your needs. Drive safe!

We hope this post on dash cams answered all of your questions. For more helpful information, we suggest reading the following posts:

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