Does your car need a backup camera?

Every year, terrible accidents happen. Without meaning to, motorists run over children and pets who are behind a car that’s backing up. It doesn’t matter how many — even one is too many. The pain for the family is immeasurable, and the potential that’s wasted is incredibly difficult to face.

That’s why, even though our government is in the midst of eliminating regulations at a furious pace, there is now a rule that requires backup cameras. Proposed in 2014, the law took effect on May 2018. If you buy a new car today, it has a backup camera. Period, end of discussion.

What a backup camera does

A backup camera is a fairly simple system. It starts with a wide-angle lens, which is capable of seeing a bigger field than your eyes can. Mounted on the back deck of a car and pointed at the blind spot behind the car, this camera catches a view that drivers couldn’t normally see.

From there, a wire runs to the dashboard area. There are a few systems that do it wirelessly but they are less reliable. The wire is usually very thin and can feed through small gaps, under carpet and feed up to where it needs to go.

Display technology

The image is fed to an LCD monitor that mounts somewhere that the driver can see it and it doesn’t block the view of the road. This lets the driver see what’s behind them, and that’s what’s important.

Some backup camera systems also include simulated tracks to show where the car is going or other features, but even without these things a backup camera is very important.

Do you have a backup camera in your car?

Since most cars on the road today don’t have backup cameras that were added at the factory, it’s up to you to decide if you want to add a backup camera to the car you have.

Start by choosing the right combination of backup camera and monitor from the great selection at Solid Signal. Decide how big you want the monitor to be and if you want wired or wireless.

The camera generally mounts using the existing license plate screws. The wire feeds through the trunk and feeds through the crack between the trunk and rear seats. In some cases using a coat hanger or some other stiff rod can help feed the wire through that tight space.

The wire can be fed under door sills or carpet to the point where you want to mount the monitor. Some monitors mount using a suction cup, right to the dashboard. Others bolt to the dash. Either way, they work the same.

The monitor needs to be connected to automotive power, either through the normal 12 volt utility socket or, if you want a more permanent installation you can unwire the utility socket and split it off for a permanent hardwired installation.

Is a backup camera worth it?


It’s simple. It only takes one incident to scar you for a lifetime, and totally destroy a family. Trust me, this is not a risk you want to take. If you don’t have a backup camera, get one. Even better, get one at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.