Newer drivers have the luxury of learning how to drive with cars that have built-in backup cameras from the factory. For the high school student getting a brand new car paid for by their parents, a $2,000 option isn’t a real issue. They can hop into the car, and drive to school in reverse if they wanted to, and without having to do anything extra to the car. For the rest of us that are still driving cars from the mid-90s or early 2000’s, and weren’t as fortunate to experience such luxury, it’s not as simple as going back to the dealership and having them add the option on. There are definitely other options though. Here are some of our recommendations if you’re looking for an aftermarket backup camera for your used car:
The best part about this particular Esky rear-viewing camera is that it has fewer parts than words in its name. We’re going to start somewhat primitively with this first device, as it’s only a camera fitted to a license plate frame and it comes with some video cables. The idea is for this camera to be mounted, and then either wirelessly hooked up to a screen inside of your car, or with wires. Even the wireless setup requires some video cables to be mounted from the rear of the car to a box of some kind that the screen can then pull a video signal from, which usually involves going into the car’s electronics, or harness. This sounds complicated, and it is, but it also only costs $28. It’s also waterproof and is equipped with night vision. Ideally you’d be getting this if your car already has a screen inside, in which case it’s a cheap viable option. Otherwise you might consider a more comprehensive kit, like our next option on this list.
This LeeKeeLuu kit is only wireless, but comes with everything you’re going to need including a 7” screen that you can attach to your dashboard, or wherever you want. It also has a remote control so you can use different view settings. The camera itself also mounts to the license plate frame. This option is certainly less elegant than the Esky, but it’s dirt cheap at $60 and for such a complete kit that’s hard to beat.
This is the best kit you’re going to find in the immediate future. The Pearl Rear Vision is much, much pricier than the other options at $500, but it’s far and away the most convenient. It’s a license plate frame with a built-in camera that sends the video signal to your phone. Installation is virtually painless, as all you do after you screw it into your bumper is plug its receiver into your car and then use your phone to access the signal. You can even adjust the viewing angle from your phone. It’s hard to imagine a less complicated system.
Barring any setup like the Pearl, any other aftermarket rearview camera system is going to require tapping into the car’s wiring which, if you don’t know what you’re doing, is a horrible idea. If you’re going to install an aftermarket backup camera, make sure to take it to a shop and let a certified mechanic handle it.
Avid Formula 1 fan and motorcyclist, I enjoy chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and long rides to the beach.