Can You Add a Rear View Camera to Your Car?

A rear view or backup camera improves safety and makes parking easier. If your car doesn't have one, there are a range of aftermarket options for you to choose from!
Rear View Camera

People who have used a rear view or backup camera love them. They improve safety and make parking easier because you can see what’s hidden behind your trunk or tailgate. Most late model vehicles come with one, but if yours does not, don’t despair. Rather than changing your ride to get this great safety feature, just add an aftermarket system!

Rear View Camera System Basics

Factory installed rear view systems comprise a trunk-mounted camera, (often tucked just above the license plate,) and a display screen. Select reverse and the screen shows what’s behind. Most systems have a “fisheye” lens for a wide field of view, and use the steering wheel angle to draw lines on the screen that show where you’re moving.

Aftermarket Options for Rear View Camera Systems

Depending on how your vehicle is equipped and your willingness to pull off interior trim pieces, choose from these three approaches:

  1. Camera Add-On
  2. Wired Camera and Screen
  3. Wireless Systems

1. Camera Add-On

Many late model vehicles already have a display screen built-in. They just don’t have a camera because the first buyer did not think it was worth the additional cost. (These systems were often pretty expensive!)

For these vehicles you just need to add a camera and hook it into the screen. There are a number of kits on the market although installation can be awkward. You’ll need to run wires forward from the camera and hook into the screen’s electrical system. According to Consumer Reports, Best Buy’s Geek Squad will do it for you.

2. Wired Camera and Screen

If you don’t have an integrated screen you can just buy a camera and display and wire them in. This entails removing a lot of interior trim but might be a good option for someone who drives a delivery van.

3. Wireless Systems

This is perhaps the easiest approach. Buy a kit that comes with a camera, wireless transmitter and a display screen with a receiver. Powered by the reversing light circuit, the camera only works when actually backing-up. The display screen often doubles as a mirror that fits over your existing rearview mirror.

Do It Yourself

The guys at Car & Driver installed a wireless kit a while ago. Admittedly they have a lot of vehicular know-how, but they found it straightforward. So, if you’ve wondered about adding a rear view camera to your ride, yes, you can.