What’s the point of having a dash cam if it keeps turning off?
That’s what I kept asking myself when my dashboard camera wouldn’t stay on when I needed it to be on.
Then I contemplated chucking it out the window.
Before you give in to that urge, you should know that cooler heads prevailed in my case. I started researching the problem and found that it was common.
More importantly, it’s usually easy to fix.
Below are the most common causes of a dashboard camera turning off, plus instructions for fixing them.
Table of Contents
Dash Cam Keeps Turning Off: How To Fix It
A car cam constantly turning off is usually due to one of the following issues. Hopefully yours will be as well and we’ll have it working properly in no time.
Check The SD Card
Dashboard cameras use SD cards to store the recorded images. Some models come with the card, while others require you to purchase one.
The type of SD card does make a difference.
It must be rated a Class 10 or higher to work with a dashboard camera. You also want to make sure that the SD card isn’t rated too high, since that can cause compatibility issues, too.
Your owner’s manual should list which cards are compatible with your dashcam.
Using the wrong type of SD card can cause the dashcam to keep turning off since it isn’t recording images.
Along with making sure you’re using the right class of SD card, you may also want to check the brand. Some dash cams aren’t compatible with SanDisk SD cards, for example.
Switching to another brand often resolves the issue, and it’s cheaper than buying a new camera.
Use Another Power Source
It’s a breeze to plug a dashboard camera into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. But sometimes, you may notice that the dashboard camera is having difficulties staying turned on.
This may be true even if other devices plug in and power up just fine.
Your car’s lighter may not be able to supply enough power to the camera, and this will cause it to shut off.
Cleaning the connections in the lighter may help if the electrical current is blocked by dust and debris. If this doesn’t work, don’t worry, you have other options.
The dashcam most likely came with a power supply that connects to a USB port. USB plugs are often standard in newer model vehicles, so that’s one alternative for powering your camera.
If your vehicle doesn’t have a USB port, you can explore other alternatives. Battery packs can resolve the problem, though you will have to change the batteries regularly.
Or, you can choose to hardwire a dashcam to your vehicle’s fuse box. This ensures a continual stream of power when the engine is on. This is a good idea if you drive for Uber and need your dashcam continuously. It’s not that hard with an installation kit.
- Decide where you want to mount the dashcam.
- Find your vehicle’s fuse box. Its location is indicated in your owner’s manual.
- Connect the power cord to the dashboard camera and run it through the vehicle’s panels.
- Locate a fuse marked “hot to start.” It will power the dashcam on and off with the engine.
- Gently remove the fuse with a small pair of pliers.
- Attach the original vehicle fuse into the “add-a-fuse” circuit that came with the installation kit.
- Reattach the circuit with the connected fuse to its original place in the fuse box.
- Near the fuse box, you’ll find a grounding point. Connect the other end of the cable here.
- Tie the wires together after connecting the cable to the grounding point. Then reattach the cover for the fuse box and any removed panels.
Check The Dash Cam’s Temperature
You don’t need a thermometer to check the dash cam’s temperature. Your hands will work perfectly fine.
The idea is to see if the power failures are due to problems with overheating.
Dashboard cameras are designed to shut down automatically if the device gets too hot . It’s a preventative measure that protects it from heat damage.
There are a few steps you can take to prevent your dashcam from running too hot.
Increasing airflow in the vehicle either by opening the windows or running the A.C. will help. You can also disable the Wi-Fi when it’s not in use.
Changing the position of the dashcam is another option, to keep it out of warm spots near the windshield. Sometimes, all you need to do is move the camera out of the sun.
Inspect The Power Cables
Even top-rated cables wear out over time. Ends can fray, and the cables can become compressed or kinked.
When this happens, the power supply is interrupted and you’ll have problems keeping the camera turned on.
Replacement cables are inexpensive and easy to find online or at your local electronics store. This could be a quick fix, but it’s also smart to keep extra cables on hand (and stored away from sun and heat).
Upgrade The Firmware
Your dashboard camera can come with firmware that occasionally needs updating. It is the same principle as your laptop or mobile device.
Periodically the manufacturer releases updates that you’ll need to install to ensure optimum performance.
It only takes a few minutes to install any updates, and you should notice an improvement in the dash cam’s performance.
- Turn the dashcam off by shutting down the vehicle’s engine.
- Insert an SD card into the camera.
- Start the engine to turn the dashboard camera on.
- Tap the “OK” button on the camera to start the firmware update.
- Your dash cam will automatically start the update.
Disconnect The Rear Dash Cam
It’s not uncommon for drivers to have both front and rear dashboard cameras, especially on larger vehicles. Sometimes, there isn’t enough power for both cameras resulting in the devices turning off.
One solution is to turn the rear dash cam off when you’re not using it. Often, you only need the rear camera for parking.
With only one camera drawing power, you shouldn’t have a problem with it turning off. If this doesn’t work, run through the above-listed tips.
Reset The Dashboard Camera
Sometimes, it’s the simplest solution that does the trick. But it’s also the last one you should try, according to dashboard camera manufacturers.
You are often resetting your dashcam to the pre-installed factory settings and this will erase anything you might have saved.
You will need a paper clip or a straight pin before you get started.
On your dash camera, there is a tiny button about the size of a pinhole. Using either a paper clip or pin, press down on the button for a few seconds.
After releasing the button, the dashboard camera will automatically restart when the engine is turned on.
Dashboard Camera Keeps Turning Off: Final Thoughts
Having your dash cam constantly turn off for no apparent reason is frustrating (unless you’re the police, who seem to welcome not having dash cam footage, unless it’s convenient for them).
Luckily, this problem is usually easy to remedy.
Hopefully one of the above solutions worked for you and your car camera is once again working the way it’s supposed to. And if you can’t get it working because you bought one of those dirt-cheap Chinese brands, read our article on what to look for in a dash cam before buying a new one.
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