Whether it’s because you’ve seen all the breath-taking footage on YouTube, or you’ve had one too many claims that have been denied, you might be thinking of jumping on the dashcam band wagon.
Like many, you may have made an impulse decision and bought a compact camera from one of the biggest brands of the past few years: GoPro. While this is a pretty good alternative to other dashcam models, there are various reasons why it’s not for everyone. Here’s a closer look….
Using a GoPro as a Dash Cam
Unlike many digital cameras, GoPros come with a fairly essential dash-cam feature built in: looped recording. This means that the camera will automatically record over old video files once you’ve run out of storage space.
If you’re set on using a GoPro as a dash cam, then you’ll want to turn the looped recording feature on, and also get a skeleton housing for it. Unlike the waterproof case, skeleton housing allows you to charge the GoPro while using it.
You can always drill a hole in the case the camera came with, but skeleton housing isn’t really expensive enough to justify this! If you’re using your GoPro for recreation more than as a form of insurance, then there are various exterior mounts you can buy like the ones from Rigid Industry. The main drawback of using a GoPro is that you’ll have to remember to turn it on every time you set off. This is simple enough, but forgetting just once has the potential to really drag out an insurance claim!
Hold Your Horses!
If you haven’t already made a purchase, then I highly recommend taking your time to consider whether or not you want to buy a GoPro just to repurpose it as a dash cam. It’s pretty expensive compared to some of the alternatives, due to the superior quality of actually filming.
If you plan to use it simply for taking videos of track days and nice drives, then go ahead. The other drawback, which I touched on above, is that you have to remember to mount it, plug it in, and start recording every time you’re planning to use it as a legal safety net. Many other dashcam models can be set up for constant, automatic recording.
There’s also a security issue. GoPros are world famous – everyone seems to want one, and that includes opportunistic thieves! While it can certainly be handy to have, you need to consider whether you really, really want such an expensive and instantly-recognisable piece of equipment sitting there in plain sight.
Furthermore, some people have reported sun damage to GoPros which are kept on the dashboard day-in, day-out. GoPros are made for the occasional bit of action, not sitting in a hot car all day. Before you make such a big investment, it’s important to think about how you’ll be sacrificing the longevity of the device.
If you’re dead set on a GoPro, you should at least weigh up the warranties and insurance you have available to you!