Vantrue Nexus 5 Dash Cam

Do Dashcams Work When the Car is Off?

In real life, every car should be equipped with a driving recorder, which can record your driving records and can also act as your security guard when you park, recording what happens when you are not in the car.However, a common question among dashcam users is whether these devices continue to record when the car is turned off. This is especially important for users that deal with security concerns off hours and want to have eyes on their lots at all times. The idea is to use Dash cameras for both fleet safety and as a video security system in the parking lots.

Dash cams can prove invaluable for settling certain disputes on the road. If you have a recording of an incident, you’ll have proof of just what exactly caused the accident, and who was at fault. This has helped settle countless disputes, and secured many people the insurance pay outs they deserve.


Most dash cams get their power from your car’s cigarette lighter port. This isn’t active when your car’s not running. So most dash cams don’t work when your car is off.

However, you can buy dash cams that offer round-the-clock protection. These vantrue dash cams usually come as a set of two – one for the front of your car, and one for the rear. Their cameras generally offer 180° views, so with two cameras you can capture footage a full 360° around your car.

Unlike regular dash cams, these models come with fittings that connect directly to your car’s battery, so they can continue operating even when the engine isn’t running. However, there’s no risk of them depleting your car battery overnight – they’ll automatically deactivate if they detect your battery’s running too low.Just set the camera to “parking mode” and they’ll continue to record, even when you’re not allowed. Some models even have built in wi-fi with dedicated apps. This way, you can get a live feed of the car’s cameras, even when you’re hundreds of miles away.

Different Types of Dashcams

When it comes to dashcams, there are various types available, including single lens and dual lens cameras. Professional dashcams also offer additional features and higher quality recording capabilities.

Single lens vs. dual lens

Understanding the differences between single lens and dual lens dashcams is crucial for finding one that suits your needs, especially when you want it to operate while your car is off.

Single Lens DashcamsDual Lens Dashcams
Capture footage from one direction, typically the front of the vehicle.Record from both the front and the rear, or inside the vehicle simultaneously.
Less expensive than dual lens models.Cost more due to additional camera.
Easier to install because of one camera unit.Require more complex installation for the second camera.
May not capture incidents occurring at the rear of the vehicle.Provide comprehensive coverage around your vehicle.
Ideal for basic recording needs.Recommended for drivers needing more security coverage.

Choose a dashcam that best aligns with your security concerns and budget. Remember that some high-quality single lens dashcams may still offer features that allow recording while the car is off, given the proper power setup.

The Advantages of Dash Cams Recording When Car is Off

Recording dash cam footage even when the fleet is off brings numerous benefits. This provides an extra layer of security and valuable insights for fleet operators.

  • Enhanced Security: Parking Mode ensures that the dash cams keep recording when the vehicles are parked, offering surveillance against theft, vandalism, or unauthorized access. This feature acts as a powerful deterrent against potential wrongdoers.
  • Incident Documentation: Dash cams capture critical incidents even when the vehicle is not in motion, such as hit-and-runs, accidents, or other unexpected events. Such footage can serve as crucial evidence during insurance claims or legal disputes.
  • Asset Protection: Recording during vehicle off-time safeguards valuable assets and cargo. This provides a higher level of protection against theft or damage.
  • Remote Monitoring: Fleet managers can remotely access Parking Mode footage through cloud-based storage. Such storage enables real-time visibility, leading to peace of mind even when fleet managers are not physically present.

Dash cams that record when the fleet is off offer numerous advantages, enhancing security, safety, and operational efficiency for fleet operators.

How to Ensure Your Dash Cam Records When Car is Off

Device Configuration

First check if your camera system supports this type of settings via simple configurations. More advanced Dash Camera systems have special configurations and power savings features that will allow to continue recording after the engine is switched off.


Hardwiring your dashcam to the vehicle’s electrical system allows it to draw power even when the ignition is off. This usually requires professional installation or a specific hardwiring kit compatible with your dashcam model. Typically Dash Cams sense the engine status by being hard wired to the vehicle’s ACC (engine switch). A simple way to bypass this would be to short the ACC during installation that way it is always set to ON.

Parking Mode Activation:

Many modern dashcams come equipped with a parking mode feature. Ensure this function is activated in your dashcam settings to enable continuous recording when the car is parked.

Battery Protection:

Some dashcams have built-in voltage monitoring systems that prevent excessive battery drain. Adjust the settings to set a threshold voltage at which the dashcam will turn off to protect your car’s battery.

Proper setup and installation

To ensure your dashcam records when the car is off, proper setup and installation are crucial. Here’s how to do it:

  • Mount the dashcam securely on the windshield or dashboard to provide an unobstructed view of the road and surroundings.
  • Connect the dashcam to a reliable power source, such as the car’s battery or a hardwired connection, ensuring continuous power supply for parking mode.
  • Adjust the camera angle to capture the desired field of view without any obstructions.
  • Set up any necessary settings, such as motion detection or time – lapse recording, to optimize surveillance when the car is parked.
  • Regularly check and maintain the installation to ensure optimal performance and reliability.


Do Dashcams drain battery when car is off?

Hardwired dash cams can drain car batteries if they are not installed properly or if they are left running when the car is turned off. However, most hardwired dash cams are designed to turn off automatically when the car is turned off, which helps prevent battery drain.

Do you leave dash cam in car all the time?

If you leave your dash cam plugged in at all times, it will continue to record even when you are not driving. This can be useful if you are worried about vandalism or theft while your car is parked. However, it can also drain your car’s battery if you don’t drive it for an extended period.

How do I know if my dash cam is recording?

Most dash cams have a recording indicator light that will turn on when the camera is recording. You can also check the memory card to see if it has any video files saved on it. Additionally, some dash cams have a voice prompt that will let you know when recording has started or stopped.

Is parking mode worth it for Dashcam?

And one study showed what might be common sense: about 80% of vehicle-related thefts happen at night, under the cover of darkness. But with a parking mode dash cam, drivers can have eyes on their vehicles 24/7, no matter where they’re located, and get notified instantly if something does happen to their vehicle.

Is it better to have a dashcam in the front or back?

Most accidents where fault could be disputed are in the front area. A rear dashcam is helpful if someone rear-ends you and drives off and you were unable to get the plate number. You may still have video of their front plate (if they have one).

Can a dash cam record when my car is off?

Yes, some dash cams come with a parking mode feature that allows them to keep recording even after the car is turned off, providing 24-hour surveillance for car security.

How do dash cams work without using the car’s battery?

Dash cams with an alternate power source or battery usage features can continue to record during parking mode without draining your car’s main battery.

Are there any continuous recording dash cams that won’t drain the battery fast?

Absolutely! Dash cams with power-saving features are designed to give you hour-long recordings while being efficient on battery usage, protecting your vehicle against vandalism.

What does ‘hardwired’ mean for dash cams and how does this help when the car is off?

Hardwired dash cams are connected directly to your vehicle’s electrical system, which means they can be set up to record continuously even if the engine isn’t running.

Do all dashboard cameras have the ability to auto-record in park mode for added safety?

Not all of them; however, those labeled as ‘dash cams with parking mode’ specifically offer this function which acts as a black box camera monitoring your parked car.

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