Can You Leave a Dashcam Plugged into a 12 V Power Outlet for Extended Periods?

In the age of technology, dashcams have become a popular addition to many vehicles. They provide a sense of security and can be invaluable in case of accidents or unexpected incidents on the road. But what if you want to leave your dashcam plugged into a 12V power outlet when you shut your car off and leave it for a few hours? Is it safe? In this article, we’ll delve into this intriguing topic, addressing your concerns and shedding light on the best practices for dashcam usage.

Understanding Dashcams and Their Power Source

What is a Dashcam?

Dashcams, short for dashboard cameras, are compact video recording devices mounted on the dashboard or windshield of a vehicle. They continuously record video footage of the road ahead and, in some cases, the interior of the vehicle.

Power Source for Dashcams

Dashcams are typically powered through the 12V power outlet in your vehicle, also known as the cigarette lighter socket. This ensures they have a constant power supply while the vehicle is running.

Leaving Your Dashcam Plugged In: Is It Safe?

The Short Answer

Yes, it is generally safe to leave your dashcam plugged into a 12V power outlet when you shut off your car and leave it for a few hours. Dashcams are designed to operate in this manner without draining your car’s battery excessively.

Understanding Dashcam Power Consumption

Dashcams are engineered to have minimal power consumption. They are programmed to enter a low-power standby mode when the vehicle is turned off, ensuring they don’t overburden the battery.

The Importance of a Dashcam’s Voltage Cut-off Feature

Many modern dashcams come equipped with a voltage cut-off feature. This feature monitors the car battery’s voltage and automatically shuts off the dashcam when it reaches a certain level to prevent complete battery drain.

Exceptions and Considerations

While it’s generally safe, there are exceptions and considerations. If your car’s battery is already weak or old, extended use of the dashcam without the engine running may drain the battery faster. In such cases, it’s advisable to periodically start your car to recharge the battery.

Maximizing Dashcam Efficiency

Regular Maintenance

To ensure your dashcam operates optimally, perform regular maintenance. This includes keeping the lens clean, updating firmware, and checking the power connection for any loose wires.

SD Card Management

Properly manage your dashcam’s SD card. Regularly transfer video files to a computer or external storage to free up space and prevent the card from becoming full.


In conclusion, leaving your dashcam plugged into a 12V power outlet when you shut off your car for a few hours is generally safe. Dashcams are designed with features to prevent excessive battery drain. However, it’s essential to consider your car’s battery condition and perform regular maintenance to maximize efficiency.


How often should I clean my dashcam’s lens?

You should clean your dashcam’s lens regularly, ideally every few weeks, to maintain clear video quality.

Can leaving a dashcam plugged in damage my car’s battery?

Leaving a dashcam plugged in should not damage your car’s battery, as most dashcams are designed to have minimal power consumption and voltage cut-off features to prevent excessive battery drain.

Should I remove the dashcam when I park my car for an extended period?

While it’s generally safe to leave the dashcam plugged in, if you plan to park your car for an extended period, it’s advisable to unplug the dashcam to ensure your car’s battery doesn’t drain completely.

Can I use a dashcam with a dead car battery?

If your car battery is completely dead, the dashcam will not work. It relies on the car’s battery for power.

Do dashcams record while the car is off?

Most dashcams do not record when the car is turned off, as they rely on the car’s power supply. However, some models may have a parking mode feature that can record while the car is parked.

Dash cam displaying a blank screen.

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