Dashcam Installation Guide with Cigarette Lighter Socket or USB Ports

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Update - 2021.007.27Refer to our detailed hardwire method guide for a more reliable and  professional dashcam installation option

There are two options to installing a dash cam, with the easiest being the 12v cigarette lighter dash cam installation method.

One of the oldest and most common ways to install a dash cam is to plug the dash cam’s power cable into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket or USB port. This method is most prevalent in consumer-grade dashboard cameras such as those found on Amazon and sold by other consumer retailers.

While this is an easy and convenient installation solution, it also poses several problems. For example, some older vehicles have a cigarette lighter socket that is always on, even when the vehicle itself is turned off. When plugged into these “always-on” cigarette lighter sockets, the dash cam may continue to record footage even when the vehicle is off and could eventually drain your vehicle’s battery.

However, plugging a dash cam into a cigarette lighter socket that is not always on can present a different problem. If you’re interested in getting a dash cam that offers parking mode—a feature that keeps the dash cam recording footage even when the vehicle is off—you should first check what kind of cigarette lighter socket your vehicle comes with.

While this feature is great if you’re looking to protect your vehicles overnight, if your cigarette lighter socket doesn’t stay on, your dash cam won’t record any footage.

Our Suggestion

Note that the downside to installing a dash cam with a cigarette lighter adapter (CLA) will mean that your vehicle will not have access to parking mode unless your vehicle has an always-on cigarette socket

Locate a Power Source

Before you start, make note of where your USB outlet or cigarette lighter socket is. In most vehicles, the location of a USB charging port can be found inside the arm-rest compartment, on the center console of your vehicle, inside the glove-box compartment or on either side of the driver or passenger.

If you plan to utilize your car’s USB charging outlet, please make sure that the cigarette socket turns off with your vehicle and does not maintain power when your vehicle is completely turned off. A constant hot cigarette socket may eventually drain your vehicle’s battery.

Mount the Dashcam:

Attach the dash cam to the front window with the mounting tape included. Rotate the shooting angle..

You can tap on it to change these specs.  Only the available frame rates will display for a given resolution.  In theory this looks beautiful, but in practice it’s actually more cumbersome than I expected.  I think this is because there’s just too many resolutions too closely together for a normal sized finger to hit the right resolution on that small display.


Route the Power Cable

Hide the wire along the headliner. You can either use a trim tool or with a credit card. image. Hide the wire between A pillar to B pillar and the rest underneath the carpet.

Plug Into Socket

Plug the adaptor into the USB or Cigarette Lighter Socket

Test your Connection

Test whether your Dashcam turns on when you switch on the vehicle. Likewise your dashcam should turn off when you turn off the vehicle and remove the keys from the ignition. 


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