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Reversing Cameras

Getting a reversing camera is a smart move. Not only do they make reversing and parking easier, they could save a life too. In this guide we tell you everything you need to know before buying a reversing camera. 

 

In this guide: 

 

 

 

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"Tragically, one child, often a toddler, is run over in the driveway of their own home every week in Australia" - Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland 

Why Get A Reversing Camera?

 

Reversing accidents happen far too often, sometimes with tragic consequences.

 

One child a week is run over in their own driveway in Australia, and 20% of all accidents occur while reversing.

 

Many of these accidents are preventable, and while there is no substitute for driver vigilance, reverse cameras have been shown to be effective in reducing reversing accidents.

 

We've created an infographic to create awareness of the risks to children from reversing vehicles - just click on the image to the right to view it full screen.

     

Child Driveway Safety Infographic

 

         

 

How Reversing Cameras Work

 

reversing camera shematic


The two main elements of a reversing camera are:
 

  • a rear-facing camera
  • a monitor in the vehicle's cabin

The system activates automatically when reverse gear is selected, giving the driver a clear view of what's behind the vehicle.

There's a wide variety of both cameras and monitors to choose from, catering to any budget, vehicle type or specific requirement. These are covered in the next section.
 

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Types of Reversing Camera Systems

 
Types of Reversing Cameras
 

There are plenty of options when it comes to reverse camera systems, from DIY wireless kits to professionally installed products for a factory-fitted appearance or the most demanding commercial environment. 


Jump to a product type or scroll down to view all:

 Monitor / display options

     

Camera Options

         
         

Wireless Reversing Camera Kits

     

Wireless Reversing camera kits

Wireless kits are a popular option but can be a little hit and miss due to the variability of wireless signals and potential for interference. When safety is the main concern, this may be a risk not worth taking.

     

The systems consist of a camera and a screen (either rear-view mirror or dash-mount type) and a wireless transmitter that sends the signal to the screen using similar technology to cordless phones. The camera/transmitter is generally wired in to the reversing lights for power and to activate the system when reverse gear is engaged. Most kits require some DIY installation which may be beyond the skills of many people.

 

Best for:


  • Those on a tight budget that are willing to put up with a reduction in image quality and the occasional dropout
  • People with auto electrical DIY skills

Pros:
 
  • Potentially simpler installation as wired camera/screen connection not required
  • Some kits are available at very cheap prices

 

Cons:


  • Can result in messy power and signal cables visible around car interior
  • May not work if too much metal in the way (especially in trucks, vans or on caravans)
  • Prone to interference and dropouts
  • Can lose connection over time due to frequency drifting
  • Durability of cheap no-name brands is questionable
 
 

Rear View Mirror Systems

     

Mirror Reversing Camera

 

The most popular type of after-market reversing camera system, these replace your existing rear view mirror with one that has an integrated LCD screen that appears when you select reverse gear.

     

The mirror requires power, and this is supplied either via a concealed cable in installed systems, or via a cable connected to the cigarette lighter in DIY systems. If you want a discrete, factory-fitted look, it's best to go with a professionally-installed system, unless you're handy with auto electrics.

 

Best for:


Rear-view mirror systems are best for drivers of cars and SUVs who want to add a reversing camera without compromising the look of their car's interior.

 

Pros:


  • No additional clutter on your dashboard
  • Screen next to mirror for 'eyes up' operation
  • Uses vehicle-specific mounting for easy installation.
  • Discrete 'factory fitted' look when professionally installed


Cons:


  • Screen size is smaller than in-dash systems
  • Requires power to the mirror with messy cables on DIY kits
  • Look out for some cheaper brands that have a tinted blue / grey glass


View Rear View Mirror Reversing Camera Systems >>

 

In-Dash Systems

     

In-dash reversing cameras

Many vehicles have in-dash screens fitted as standard, and these can often be used as monitors for a reversing camera system, resulting in a clean, factory-fitted appearance.

     

The systems consist of a vehicle-specific interface, designed to plug into the existing screen, and the camera that gets mounted at the rear of the vehicle. After-market in-dash systems are also available, requiring only a standard double-DIN dash space to be installed into, and replacing the existing car stereo.

 

Best for:


Drivers with an existing in-dash screen they want to use for their reversing camera monitor, or wanting to replace a conventional double-DIN stereo with an in-dash screen.

 

Pros:


  • Large screen sizes possible
  • Seamless integration with existing vehicle screen
  • No visible cables or external power needed


Cons:


  • Require driver to look down to view screen
  • Not all vehicles have screens or space to install one


View In-Dash Reversing Camera Systems >>

 
 

Dash / Window Mount Systems 

     

Dash mount reversing camera

Screens of varying sizes can be mounted inside cars, 4WDs and commercial vehicles, giving a clear view of what's behind. They are generally LCD screens - look for the TFT screen type as this will give the best image under all light conditions.      

They can be mounted on the dash or attached to the windshield or roof. In trucks and buses they can be mounted permanently where a rear-view-mirror would normally be attached and used for rear vision while driving.

 

A professional installation will ensure that there are no holes or damage to your vehicle and cables are fully concealed.

 

Best for:


Drivers of larger vehicles and commercial vehicles that need a big screen for better rear visibility.

 

Pros:


  • Large screen sizes possible
  • Unit can be positioned for good visibility
  • Can be used in place of rear view mirror in commercial vehicles with no rear visibility.

 

Cons:


  • Take up dash space and can look 'clunky'
  • Require driver to look down to view screen if not mounted up high
  • Not all vehicles have space to install one

 

View Dash-Mount Reversing Camera Monitors >>

 

Multi-Function Systems

     

Multifunction reversing camera systems

If you're adding a screen for a reversing camera, you might as well add some additional features too, right? Many reversing camera systems now include GPS navigation, Bluetooth hands-free and even DVD players.


     

These can take the shape of in-dash, dash-mount or rear view camera systems, and a wide range of choices is out there depending on what features you want in addition to a reverse camera.

 

Best for:


Those wanting additional features like GPS or Bluetooth.

 

Pros:


  • Add additional features with one product and one installation
  • Cheaper than adding multiple products
  • Helps reduce in-car clutter

 

Cons:


  • Some all-in-one units compromise on the individual component's features
  • If one component fails, the whole unit may need to be replaced


View Multi-Function Reversing Camera Systems >>

 

 Camera Options

Mini Butterfly Camera

The most common reversing camera - small & universal. 


Best for:

 

Car, utes and other light commercial vehicles.

     

Butterfly Reversing Camera


Pros:


  • Small size allows for a neater, concealed installation
  • Versatile - can be installed in a variety of locations - under boot lid, under ute trays etc
  • Can be adjusted for best viewing angle


Cons:


  • Small size doesn't allow for Infra-Red technology 

 

Bumper Camera 

Bumper cameras are designed to be installed flush in the bumper by drilling a hole and recessing the camera.  

  

Best for:

 

 Cars, vans or utes with plastic bumpers


 

Pros:

 


 

  • Flush-fiited camera looks neat
  • Can include Infra-Red technology 


      Bumper Reversing Camera


 

Cons:

 

  • Angle-of-view can't be adjusted
  • Horizontal aspect of the image doesn't allow the driver to view the bumper as a reference point
  • May require the bumper bar to be removed
  • Requires a hole to be drilled in the bumper
 

Vehicle-specific Camera


These cameras are designed for the ultimate in integration and concealment and are vehicle- as well as model-specific. 


Best for:


Luxury vehicles or the discerning driver who wants the neatest possible reversing camera solution.

      Vehicle-specific Reversing Camera


Pros:
 

  • Vehicle-specific for a perfect fit

  • Factory-fitted appearance


 Cons:
 

  • Considerably more expensive than universal-types

 

Number Plate Camera


Designed to attach to the vehicle's number plate using existing screws and holes.
 

Best for:

  • The DIY or budget conscious driver
  • Instances where no other camera can be fitted
      License-plate reversing cameras


Pros:

 

  • Universal design can be fitted to any vehicle

  • Great for DIY

 

 Cons:

 

  • Not the most visually appealing 
       

Heavy Duty Camera

 

Engineered to withstand rigorous conditions or environments that require a more robust camera solution 
 

Best for:

 

  • Commercial or industrial vehicles
       Heavy-duty Reversing Camera
 

Pros:

 

  • Universal design can be fitted to any vehicle

  • Durable, heavy-duty construction

  • Size allows for Infra-red technology

  • Some also have microphones to transmit audio into the vehicle

 

 Cons:

 

  • Larger size 

View All Camera Options >>

 


 

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The Benefits of Reversing Cameras

 
Many drivers are not aware of the large 'blind zone' behind their vehicle where objects below a certain height are invisible in the rear view mirror. Even in passenger sedans, this blind zone can extend 15 metres behind the car.
 
Reversing Blind Zone


You can find out how your car, ute or 4WD stacks up in the rear visibility stakes - the RACV publishes a Reversing Visibility Index every year where hundreds of vehicles are tested - see the details here >>



 
This blind zone is the cause of countless collisions with walls, poles and other static objects, but tragically also with children. On average, one child a week is hit by a reversing vehicle in Australia, and several fatalities occur every year.

 

A reversing camera helps to eliminate this risk, although it's important to point out that it's not a substitute for driver vigilance and preventing child access to reversing areas in the first place.

 

The other main benefit of reversing cameras is their help in parking. The NRMA states that 20% of all accidents occur while reversing, so a rear view camera is invaluable in showing up those hidden objects that might otherwise cause a costly bingle.


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Reversing Camera Installation

 

 

There are generally two options with reversing cameras - get one professionally installed, or do-it-yourself.

 

Dozens of DIY options are now on the market, often wireless kits that don't need to be wired from camera to monitor as they use RF transmitters to send the signal across. However the camera still needs to be wired into the car's electrics to get power and activate automatically - this is typically done via wiring into the reverse light assembly.


 Reversing camera Installation
         

The camera itself can is often discretely mounted above the number plate. In larger vehicles it is mounted high up above the rear window or doors. Placement of the camera is important to ensure a clear field of view is provided.

 

The monitor needs power too, so options here include wiring into the car's electrics under the dash or dangling a cable to the cigarette lighter, whether it's a rear view mirror type or dash-mounted monitor.

 

All this can be fiddly and messy, so is often best left to an auto electrician to take care of it.

Professional Installation

For only a little more, having a quality reversing camera professionally installed is a smarter option. Not only will it work more reliably, it will give you a 'factory-fitted' look and add to the resale value of your vehicle. Quality replacement mirror-based systems have vehicle-specific mountings so they integrate seamlessly into your vehicle.

 

A professional installer will be able to integrate a camera into your existing in-dash monitor, or add a replacement rear vision mirror with an integrated LCD screen. A reputable installer will also provide a guarantee on the work. At The Car Kit Company we provide a lifetime installation guarantee and an extended product warranty on all products installed by us.

 

Many installers (us included) have mobile fleets that come to you at your home or work, so the work will be done with no inconvenience to you.

 
Reversing Camera installation

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Summary

Reversing cameras have become an essential safety accessory for thousands of Australian drivers and it's never been easier or more affordable to add one to your vehicle.

 

Whether you go for a self-installed wireless reversing camera kit or get a quality system installed professionally will depend on your budget and your DIY skills.


At The Car Kit Company we believe it's well worth getting it done right. Not only will you have a dependable safety system, it adds real value to your vehicle when it comes to resale and the guarantees provided ensure you'll have years of trouble-free operation.


You can learn more about reversing cameras over on our blog where we have a series of articles covering the available options, child safety and more, including:


 

Why buy a reversing camera from us?

Reversing camera kits can be bought online for not a lot of money these days. These are mostly wireless kits requiring installation and offering dubious image quality that is subject to dropouts at the wrong moment.

 

When you buy your reversing camera system from The Car Kit Company you get peace of mind provided by:

 

  • A quality wired reversing camera system as used by many vehicle manufacturers in their factory systems
  • A three year warranty (plus one-year extended warranty when installed by us)
  • Optional installation at your home or work by our team of highly experienced installers
  • A 100% Customer Satisfaction guarantee.

 

Feel free to call us on 1800 CAR KIT (1800 227 548) to find out more about our reversing camera systems and installation service, or browse our reversing camera range here:

Browse our Reversing Camera range >>

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