How Do Dash Cams Work

How Do Dash Cams Work?

A dash cam is a camera mounted on your car’s dashboard or windshield that records video while you drive. Here’s a look under the hood at how these clever devices work their driving surveillance magic!


A dash cam is a video camera specifically designed for continuous operation inside a vehicle. It autonomously records video footage through your windshield as you drive.

The key benefits of using a dash cam are having evidence in the event of an accident and protecting against fraud. Dash cams also capture unexpected sights on the road for your later enjoyment!

How Do Dash Cams Work
How Do Dash Cams Work

Main Components

Dash cams contain these core components:

  • Lens – An ultra wide-angle lens up to 170° field of view to capture as much of the road as possible.
  • Image sensor – The camera sensor that converts light into digital video data.
  • Processor – Controls operation and processes the incoming video into storage files.
  • Storage – Built-in or SD card storing the recorded footage.
  • Battery – Rechargeable battery allowing parking surveillance mode.

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Video Recording

The core functionality of a dash cam is recording smooth, high quality driving footage:

  • Field of view – Look for at least 120° FOV. Wider is better to capture peripherals and multiple lanes.
  • Resolution and frame rate – At least 1080p and 30fps, with 60fps for smoother video.
  • Loop recording – Automatically deletes old footage when storage fills up.
  • Incident detection – Uses G-sensors to detect collisions and protect crash footage from deletion.

Additional Features

Many dash cams boast extra capabilities:

  • Audio recording – Built-in mic can record audio, but check local consent laws.
  • GPS – Records your driving speed and location synced to the video.
  • WiFi – Allows accessing footage right on your smartphone.
  • Parking mode – Monitors for incidents if hardwired when the car is off.


Installing your dash cam takes just a few steps:

  • Mount placement – Stick mount to windshield behind the rearview mirror.
  • Hardwiring (optional) – To enable parking mode, hardwire to your car battery.
  • Hide wires – Tuck away unsightly wires along edges using trim tools.

Usage and Operation

Dash cams are designed for easy, set-it-and-forget-it use:

  • Simple controls – Many feature just an on/off button. Settings are configured through apps.
  • Viewing footage – Insert SD card in a computer or use a smartphone app to review videos.
  • Maintenance – Occasionally reformat SD card and clean lens for optimal performance.


Dash cams may seem high-tech, but they’re simple devices that make driving safer and smarter. The wide-angle lens, image sensor, and processor automatically capture and store driving footage that provides protection. Additional capabilities like night vision, GPS tracking, and parking surveillance provide even more value. Just mount the compact camera on your windshield, manage videos when needed, and enjoy the peace of mind!

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