Do Dash Cams Record When Car is Off?

by Terry Hu on May 16, 2022

Are dash cams still recording after the car is parked and turned off? Strictly speaking, dash cams don't record footage when the car is off. But the advancement of technology has made it possible for the current dash cam to record when the car is turned off. So you can say, there are two types of driving recorders, one is that the recorder cannot be recorded after parking, and the other is that the recorder will stand by after the vehicle is parked and turned off. If the vehicle vibrates, it will be recorded immediately.


They Require a Constant Power Source

Does a dash cam record after turning off the engine, it depends on where the dash cam gets its power. Is the outlet it’s plugged into for power live when the car is turned off? If so, then yes, it will still work because it’s receiving power from the car battery. That is until the car battery dies. If not, however, then the camera would need some sort of power supply to continue operating. Depending on the specific camera some may have a built-in battery, but it won’t be a long-lasting one and probably not very useful if you’re wanting to have continuous recording. They require a constant power source.


  1. If the driving recorder is powered by reading lights or other constant power, the driving recorder will still work after the vehicle is stopped and turned off. To put it simply, the dash cam works 24 hours a day and is always in a state of drawing power, which causes the battery to lose power, so the next time the vehicle engine is started, it cannot provide sufficient power.


  1. The main difference between dash cams and regular video cameras is the way they power their footage. Most dash cams are designed to operate only when the car is on. However, there are some models that allow you to manually switch on and off the recording. You can also hard wirea dash cam to a fuse box if you are worried about its inability to work when the car is off. The fact that the driving recorder still works after the ignition is turned off is because the recorder has the functions of parking monitoring and motion detection. The parking monitoring function needs to be supported by the built-in battery of the recorder or connected to the fuse ACC for power supply. After the vehicle is turned off, it will automatically enter the parking monitoring mode. The sensor will continue to monitor the vehicle's condition. Once a vibration or collision occurs, the monitoring video will be automatically recorded and stored separately. Compared with the constant power supply, the driving recorder with parking monitoring function saves more power by connecting the fuse ACC, and also reduces the impact on the car battery. However, if the vehicle is not turned on for several days, it will also cause the battery to lose power. Finally, it leads to start difficultly.


  1. You can set dash cams to record footage by getting power from OBD, even when the car is off. To do this, first, turn on the parking mode. You can find the OBD port on the left side of the steering wheel, near the pedals. Then, connect the dash cam to the OBD port using the included cord. If you have a dash cam with an OBD connection, you can hide its wires behind car panels or webbing. Dash cams that are compatible with the OBD port can be set to "Parking Mode" so that they will record footage when the car detects motion.


They Drain The Battery

Through the above dash cam's power-taking methods, we can see dash cams can drain your vehicle's battery even when the car is off. Many models operate on the car's battery, which is a concern for some car owners. However, there are a few precautions that you should take to minimize the battery drain. It is important to set the battery protection settings if you want to keep your dash cam powered.

There are three ways to protect your car's battery from the battery drain caused by dash cams. First, a dash cam without a built-in voltage monitor can drain the battery. It may not be motion-sensitive, but if the camera is not motion-sensitive, it could record the entire evening, which could be harmful to your car's battery. The other option is to use a dash cam with a parking mode hardwiring kit.

The best way to prevent dash cams from draining your car's battery is to install a standalone battery pack. This battery pack will charge the dashcam while you are driving, and will prevent the dashcam from drawing power from the car's battery when the vehicle is not in use. These battery packs are relatively inexpensive, and most of them do not drain the car's battery when the car is off.

The battery drain of a dash cam is the same as that of an interior light, which is relatively small compared to other car components. However, if you're using a dash cam with a high-quality display, you may find that it drains your battery while you're driving. High-quality dash cams that have good video quality don't drain your car's battery when it's off.


Wake-up Recording Function When Car is Off

In addition to the getting power methods of the dash camera, the factors of determining dash cam recording when the car off still has the motion detection function and the parking mode function.


Motion Detection Function Feature

Motion detection is strict to be used in a parked car. It will only record if something is moving within its field of view. When nothing moves, the camera goes into "watch" mode and stops recording. It is worth noting that you need to remember to turn off the dash cam motion detection feature when you start driving again, as when the car is moving, the motion detection mode can interfere and prevent the camera from recording throughout your whole journey.


Parking Mode Function

The parking mode enables your camera to stay on and record while you park, its feature will look out for vibrations using its G-sensor feature. This feature can be against common threats to unattended parked cars such as vandalism, theft, and car accidents. Parking protection functionality offers peace of mind while you’re away from your vehicle.


They Run Out the Storage of SD Card

Nowadays, dash cams generally support loop recording and automatically overwrite the old video files.

But dash cams with parking mode support gravity sensing. If this setting is turned on, it will protect the current file on the dash cam during emergency braking, so there will be many locked files on the SD card, and the dash camera cannot delete such files automatically.

Therefore, we recommend the SD card of the driving recorder should be manually deleted or formatted regularly.

Otherwise, we recommend that you get into the habit of regularly observing the working status of the dashboard camera. If a dash camera with a screen can observe whether it is recording normally while driving (usually the red light flashes), and those without a screen can observe whether the indicator light is flashing. This habit is formed to avoid that when you have a traffic accident and want to check the recorder video, you will find that the record on the recorder SD card is the content of a long time ago. However, there is no content on your current accident. Therefore, at this important moment, if the dash cam can not be useful, it will lose more than gains.



These specialist dash cams with packing mode can recording when car off, its cost considerably more than regular dash cams. In addiction, as you’ll need to connect them directly to your car’s battery, you may need some DIY knowledge in installing them. This will also cost you. But think about how useful these cameras could be in settling disputes and protect your car, perhaps you can justify the added expense?


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