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Using A GoPro As A Dash Cam: What Are The Pros & Cons?

GoPros are an amazing invention. They’re durable, rugged, and can record pretty much anything, anywhere. While they work quite well in adventure situations, that doesn’t mean that’s all they are good for. Did you ever wonder whether you can use your GoPro as a dash cam?

You can use your GoPro as a dash cam, but you’ll need a few accessories, like a windshield mount and mounting case, but the setup is fairly simple. However, you won’t get the same features that you would have with a regular dash cam, such as parking mode.

So, if you’re sitting on an old GoPro or just looking to capture a road trip on video, what do you need to know? What are the downsides of using a GoPro as a dash cam, and is it a good idea anyway? We’ll answer all those questions and more; just read on!

Benefits of Having a Dash Cam

action camera on a mount attached to the windshield of the car

Dash cams are a great tool to have in your car. They offer a lot in terms of peace of mind and safety. Because of this, they’ve become a popular accessory for drivers.

While dash cams have become relatively common, not everyone has one in their car. If you’re thinking about adding a dash cam to your vehicle, you may be curious as to the benefits. While the obvious ones come to mind, like catching an accident, there are some other advantages that you may not be aware of.

Let’s explore the benefits of having a dash cam.

Evidence of a Car Accident

When it comes to catching an accident, a dash cam is your best chance of telling the whole story.

A dash cam will capture everything. This means you have ample evidence. People aren’t always at their best when it comes to situations like auto accidents. And when money is involved, you want to make sure you have the facts.

While we hope you’re never in a situation where it’s your word vs. the other driver’s, it happens.

However, with crisp video of traffic, lights, and other signage, you’ll be able to show evidence of the accident to the police and your insurance company. Spending just a few hundred on a dash cam can help prevent thousands in unwanted insurance claims and repair bills.

Watch Your Car While It’s Parked

A lot of dash cams have the ability to record while your car is parked. This offers a distinct advantage because it gives you eyes and ears even when you’re not around. Car theft happens, and so does vandalism.

When you set your dash cam to parked record mode, you’re taking precautions to ensure you have your property monitored. While it might not stop the would-be robber from breaking in, it gives you plenty of evidence to present to the police when the time comes.

Having a dash cam can help prevent theft. How? Well, if a thief knows you have a dash cam, they might be less likely to break in. Who wants their crimes recorded? It’s a sure-fire way to get caught.

You can also add stickers, like these (on Amazon), that tell everyone that you’re recording from your vehicle.

Insurance Fraud

Unfortunately, insurance fraud happens. Whether it’s from a driver or a pedestrian, it’s too common for these kinds of nefarious events to happen.

What you can do is stay prepared. To do that, you need a dash cam. Avoid being a victim of extortion, and your recording might even help put the fraudster away for good.

Report Bad Driving

Let’s be honest: There are a lot of bad drivers out there. Did you know that reckless driving is illegal? Well, it is.

If you have a dash cam, you can record evidence of what that bad driver is doing. You can report the driver and add the video evidence as proof. It’s a great way to help keep the roads safe for us all.

Record Your Trip

Besides all the important safety and security benefits of a dash cam, there are other more entertaining reasons to own one. For instance, you can record your road trips! If you’re driving your family or friends around somewhere cool, why not record the moment?

Just like pictures from a vacation, these dash cam videos can become part of your memories. It’s a great way to give a POV take on a vacation. With so many beautiful places around the world to drive through, it can also give a great perspective on the pretty landscapes and areas you come across.

Can You Use a GoPro as a Dash Cam?

If you’ve got a GoPro, you probably already know how awesome these little cubes of video goodness can be. Not only are they rugged, but they can also record in crystal clear quality, making sure to capture every moment.

You might associate GoPros with extreme sports. It’s true; these devices are known far and wide as the go-to choice for harsh conditions where wear and tear are a regular thing. Whether it’s surfing, snowboarding, or something more extreme, a GoPro is often the preferred choice for recording.

In recent years, GoPro has extended its market to pretty much anyone on an adventure who wants to record the moment. With a whole host of accessories, you can make your GoPro your own in many ways.

You can mount the GoPro to your helmet to record a POV while you’re mountain biking, or mount it on a selfie stick (on Amazon) for video footage of a concert. But, when it comes to using your GoPro as a dashcam, what do you need to know?

You can use your GoPro as a dash cam, but you may need a few accessories to help you out. In some cases, you can even expect better video quality than some traditional dash cams.

The accessories are fairly minimal. In most cases, they’re cheap too. You’ll need to know the model of GoPro you have, as some will need additional pieces of equipment for proper installation.

Outside of that, you’ll need to understand a few things about the GoPro as a dash cam before you get started, but we’ll cover it all.

What’s the Difference Between a GoPro and a Dash Cam?

When it comes to a GoPro and a dash cam, what’s the big difference anyway? Since they both accomplish a fairly similar goal, what’s the point of having different devices?

If you’re curious about what separates a GoPro from a dash cam, we’ve got you covered.

Battery Life

One of the downsides of GoPros is that you often need to sacrifice image quality for battery life. While some models are very efficient with their battery usage, they still don’t last more than a few hours.

That’s not good news if you intend to monitor your daily driving habits. If you drive a few hours a day, you’re risking losing out on footage time. If an accident happens during this period, you won’t have any video coverage.

Most dash cams will either have a connector for a 12v connection in your car or be tied into the car’s electrical system directly. Either way, they don’t rely solely on battery power. This means they are on all the time. Which is good for a security system.

You can get an adapter for your GoPro so that it also stays on. In most cases, you’ll just need to find a way to connect the charging cable to your car. Many newer models will feature USB plug-ins, which will do just fine to keep your GoPro charged. However, that’s not the only difference.

Manual Controls

While a dash cam will automatically start as soon as you start your car, a GoPro won’t. As we mentioned, GoPros just aren’t built for this kind of use. They can make a good substitute for a dash cam, but they aren’t the exact same.

In most cases, you turn your GoPro on when you need it, like if you’re recording an adventure. But, if you use your GoPro as a dash cam, you’ll need to turn it on every time you enter your car.

This might not seem like a big deal, but it adds another space for error. If you forget, you won’t be recording video. If that happens to be the time you need that video footage, well, you’re out of luck.

No Park Mode

We touched on parking mode earlier, but here’s a quick recap. Parking mode monitors your car while you’re not in it. It makes sure your car is under surveillance if a vandal or robber decides to make a move. Parking mode can offer vital evidence in the case of a break-in.

GoPros don’t have this mode. While you can set up your GoPro to record when you’re gone, it won’t get all the footage since the battery and storage capacity will cause issues. If parking mode is on your list of must-haves, a GoPro might not cut it.


Depending on where you’re located, your car’s dash can get quite hot. We’re talking really hot. You may have seen trending videos online of people baking cookies on their dashboard. As you might imagine, this is a big issue for electronics.

Dash cams are often built for this kind of environment, but the heat can damage the electronics and the functionality of the GoPro.

This also goes for cold weather. Some users in the GoPro community have complained that their GoPros failed to turn on in sub-zero conditions. The last thing you want is an unreliable dash cam. These devices need to be up for the challenge.

How Do You Use a GoPro as a Dash Cam?

Sport camera on the car

Let’s walk through what you need to know to get your car set up and ready to go with the GoPro. First, we’ll look at the hardware.

You might get away with simply placing your GoPro on the dash, but that’s not a permanent solution at all. You’ll need to source a mounting kit and a few other accessories to get the most out of this setup:

Once you have everything set up, it’s pretty easy after that. You’ll just need to use your GoPro with a certain setting to get the most out of the arrangement. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Resolution — GoPros can record at a fairly high resolution. If you want to save on storage space, use 1080p superview. Most dash cams use this resolution anyway.
  • Looping — Another space-saving tactic. Make sure you set your GoPro to looping mode. This will set regular looping intervals for video. Try for 20 minutes or higher, depending on your storage capacity.

One last thing on looping — you need to turn it off at the right time. The way it works is that after the loop interval is up, it will erase the footage and start a new loop.

That means it’s up to you to make sure you capture the footage you need before it gets erased, which can be tough if you’ve been in an accident. Also, you’ll need to turn Protune off for looping to work correctly.

Is GoPro as Good as a Dashcam?

When it comes to recording from your dashboard, a GoPro is usually not as good as a dash cam . It just isn’t designed for this purpose. The short battery life and recording limitations make it less reliable than a regular dash cam.

But you can use a GoPro as a dash cam quite easily. So, if you already own a GoPro and are looking to use it in other ways, why not give it a try?

That said, GoPros tend to be more expensive than dash cams. This means they are also a target for thieves. Moreover, GoPro is a brand with name recognition, making it a prime target.

Wrapping Up

While a GoPro can make a decent dash cam, the camera isn’t designed for this kind of task. GoPros lack many of the features and reliability that make dash cams so popular. In a pinch, though, they can tackle the job.

Just remember that you need to be on top of the operation. Not only do you need to turn on the GoPro when you enter the car, but you also need to be careful to stop the loop if you’re in looping mode and you need to save a recording.

This can add a few opportunities for failure. In a stressful situation like a car accident, it can be bad news. But, if you have a GoPro lying around, why not put it to good use?