What are reversing cameras

What good are reversing cameras on the car?

Cars are getting bigger and more confusing, parking spaces feel smaller and smaller. Parking is easier and safer with reversing cameras. But what if your own car doesn't have one?

They honk and they curse. Impatient drivers right behind you. But your own car just doesn't want to fit into the parking space. A nightmare from everyday driving. Wouldn't everything be easier with a reversing camera?

For many new cars, even small cars, they are part of the standard equipment, for some they are optionally available. The cameras are located near the license plate or tailgate and switch on with reverse gear.

In the case of vans or mobile homes, the end of which can otherwise only be guessed at, the cameras are often mounted at the back of the roof. In addition to parking, cameras as assistance systems can also help when maneuvering trailers.

Reversing cameras offer more security

The advantages are not only in the simple and safe handling, especially for large and confusing vehicles, but fundamentally in the increased safety, says the Dresden auto electronics expert Robert Nitsche. "With cameras, drivers can see the parking space precisely, as can children or animals playing and obstacles in the rear area."

Those who look to the car have a good overview and reverse parking is easy, says auto electronics specialist Michael Zeitler, who runs a specialist retailer in Cologne. The cameras can be retrofitted in almost all cars, mostly on the handle bar of the trunk or on the license plate holder.

"If the entertainment system can process video signals and has a monitor, only the camera has to be retrofitted," says Zeitler. "For motorhomes that have a large cockpit, an additional monitor also fits." And older vehicles needed a double DIN radio with a screen or a new rear-view mirror with an integrated monitor for the reversing camera.

Radio links susceptible to interference

In any case, the image information should be transported via a cable. "Radio links are prone to interference and interference. This can lead to disruptive images, stripes or frozen images," warns Michael Zeitler. Because the cameras send their signals over a frequency that is also used elsewhere in the city. But they can be had for less than 100 euros.

Wired retrofit solutions with a compatible multimedia input, including a monitor, cost between 200 and 350 euros. If the multimedia interface is missing, another 450 to 600 euros are added, among other things for a special video adapter. An interior mirror with monitor and camera finally costs from 650 euros. Not counting in each case: the working hours.

But it is worth it, says Bernd Volkens from "Auto Bild": "In contrast to acoustic parking aids, the parking beeper, drivers can use rear-view cameras to see where they can go with centimeter precision. This makes parking stress-free."

Parking beeps, on the other hand, stop the driver when there is a safety reserve of up to 40 centimeters, meaning that drivers waste space when maneuvering, says Volkens. In his opinion, the simplest retrofit option: a camera at the rear that transmits to a smartphone or entertainment system via Bluetooth. But here, too, you have to keep an eye on the susceptibility to radio interference as well as the video images that may be delayed.

At least three hours of tinkering

In the case of old vehicles without a double DIN slot, only a separate, permanently installed additional monitor would help, says Volkens. "The camera then only has to be linked to the reversing light so that it knows when reverse gear is engaged." For tidy laying, hobbyists need at least three hours, depending on the model.

However, it can happen that the on-board system issues errors if the reversing camera branches off power from the reverse gear headlights. "If you are not a hobbyist and are not familiar with vehicle cabling, you should visit a specialist company," advises Volkens. Advantage: In addition to professional assembly, customers receive a guarantee.

Robert Nitsche trusts experienced hobby screwdrivers to install simple retrofit solutions themselves. However, he advises installation by a professional when it comes to connecting a video adapter to the on-board system (CAN-BUS).

Front cameras are also becoming increasingly popular, Nitsche knows. With them, drivers not only see the rear area exactly when parking, but also the front area. This increases safety even more and even in tight parking spaces paint, rims and nerves.

Integrated cameras sometimes need to be replaced

Even cars with built-in or retrofitted cameras sometimes just need a new one. Namely when the old camera is scratched, blind or simply too old.

"The image quality can deteriorate significantly through accidents, parking bumps or frequent washing in car washes," says Cologne-based auto electronics specialist Michael Zeitler. Then only new cameras would help.

Compared to cameras of previous generations, these often provide sharper images, have a larger viewing angle of up to 190 degrees and are more sensitive to light.