Backup cameras are a great safety feature to eliminate blind spots and prevent costly accidents, damages, and injuries when reversing a vehicle. Backing out of your own driveway can be stressful if you have to back into a busy street or around a blind corner. The stress is added if there are children or pets running around, and one wrong move can end in tragedy. The increased awareness of your surroundings can help you feel safe and confident when reversing. That is until your backup camera becomes dirty and obscured.
A dirty backup camera lens is inevitable since it’s exposed to the elements and sits close to the road where dirt, mud, oil, water, and other grime can accumulate. The problem is when you don’t know it until you go to use it and you can’t see. It’s frustrating to have to get out and clean the backup camera every time you go for a drive. Furthermore, risks are increased when you’re distracted or in a rush.
As often as it happens, driving with a backup camera with an obscured or dirty lens can be even more dangerous than reversing without a rearview camera at all. The false sense of confidence in a backup camera with limited vision can make you less aware of possible collisions.
There are many things that can make a backup camera dirty or damaged, and identifying the causes and the methods of prevention will help you keep your camera running for a long time. Keep reading for solutions to keeping your backup camera clean and in good working order.
Problem: Dirt & Grime
Similarly to a car’s windshield and side mirrors, there’s many things that make a rearview camera dirty. The act of driving a car creates many different opportunities for a camera lens to get obscured by dirt, grime, and moisture.
Let’s say you’re in the middle of running errands, or just want to get home after a long day of work. You're about to depart in a busy parking lot and notice your backup camera is dirty.
Most people won’t stop everything they’re doing to clean the dirty backup camera lens before departing to their next destination. That’s when accidents happen. You backup without checking and hit a pole, or worse, another car. The damage can be even worse if you drive a large vehicle, which already has plenty of blindspots and can be difficult to maneuver.
If you’ve been driving in inclement weather like rain, snow, or hail, water droplets alone can blur your view through the rearview camera, let alone the streaks of dirt and mud that can build up. Once that dirt and mud freeze, your vision can be completely obscured until it is cleaned.
If you’ve been driving in harsh conditions, along dirt or gravel roads, or through congested urban or industrial settings, it might be time to give your camera a little TLC.
Dirty Backup Camera Solutions
No matter what the issue is, you’re going to need to clean the backup camera.
First, use a soft bristled brush or a microfiber cloth to wipe away any dust, grime, or other debris.
Then, spray with your cleaner of choice, and wipe away with your microfiber cloth using gentle circular motions.
Voila! You’re done.
Now, if your camera is still blurry or you’re seeing interference or other types of technical problems, you might need to repair or replace the camera, which is a separate issue to troubleshoot.
TIPS 1: Use a Dirt and Water Repellent Surface Treatment on the Camera Lens
Once you’ve cleaned the lens, coat it in a water or dirt resistant product like Rain-X or Aquapel. These kinds of products will help repel dirt and grime in the future, keeping the lens in optimal condition. Make sure you follow the application instructions that come with the product. Most products need to be reapplied periodically to work effectively.
TIPS 2: Reposition the Camera
If you’re noticing that your backup camera lens needs to be cleaned unreasonably often, it might mean that it’s mounted too close to the road and needs repositioning. It’s normal for dirt, mud, and water to splatter on the camera from normal driving conditions, but when it obscures your vision, it becomes a problem. When this happens on a daily basis, it’s probably time to act and move the rearview camera to a place it will stay cleaner.
TIPS 3: Get a Self Cleaning Camera
Backup cameras are designed to be exposed to the elements, but some technology takes them a step further. There are plenty of vehicle models which come equipped with a self-cleaning backup camera, like the 2013 Nissan Altima. There are also aftermarket cameras that can be installed to facilitate self-cleaning. However, these backup cameras can be more difficult to maintain, and sometimes require a lot of technical knowledge to install, so consider with caution.
TIP 4: Get a Camera Cover to Shield the Backup Camera from Getting Dirty
While many different folks are still working on developing an invention like this, (it’s still in the proof-of-concept stage) finding a camera cover or shield to protect the camera can be a solution to a dirty camera. There are some on the market, and you might be able to make one yourself! If you go this route, make sure the shield doesn’t affect the camera’s line of vision.
Stay Clean & Stay Safe
Backup cameras are one of the most helpful safety tools that can be equipped on a vehicle, and making sure that they’re regularly maintained is essential. If your backup camera is no longer operational, Camera Source supplies OEM and aftermarket backup cameras that can be used as a replacement. Talk to one of our helpful customer service representatives to learn more about how you can improve your backup camera setup.