How to Use Backup Camera Lines
If you own or lease a newer car, odds are that you have a backup camera installed. Most people utilize these cameras just for their picture-perfect view of whatever’s behind them, but these powerful tools can provide more than just easy viewing. The lines on your backup camera can help you parallel park, gauge distance, and more. This guide will give you an idea of where to start so you can get a better understanding of the tools you have at your disposal.
Understand the lines
Most people intuitively know how to use backup camera lines, and this is by design. Many camera models utilize the classic stoplight method of signaling--green means go, yellow means caution, red means STOP. When you’re using your backup camera to navigate a tight space or park in a tricky situation, it helps to know what all the distances and scale end up looking like.
Check out the manual for your vehicle to get a better understanding of the scale of the lines on your camera. That way you will know how much wiggle room you have on each section of the display, which can be especially helpful when you’re in the red.
Additionally, many backup cameras feature lines that dynamically move to give you parking hints. Acclimatizing yourself to how these lines move and how they can give you an idea of your parking job is a great idea as well.
Some cameras (specifically on trucks designed to mount trailers) have a divider line down the middle that corresponds with the ball on your trailer hitch. This can also be helpful for lining your truck or car up for a trailer.
Learn about other features
One thing that can assist with your visualization of your vehicle as you backup is other features that work in tandem with your backup camera.
For instance, many cars have proximity alarms the let you know when your car is backing up a little too close to another car. If these alarms annoy or startle you, you might be able to switch them off (see your car’s manual for more details).
It also doesn’t hurt to move through your backup camera’s settings and see if there are options for people who are red/green colorblind, or ways of making the display a little bit more functional or appealing for you. It never hurts to customize.
Upgrade your parallel parking
The best feature of a quality backup camera setup is its ability to turn you into a next-level parallel parker. Here’s a quick reminder of the steps necessary for a good parallel park-job.
- Position your car so that your front bumper is even with the rear bumper of the car you’ll be parked behind. Check and make sure that you have at least half of your car’s length distance between you and the car behind you (this is to ensure that you have enough room to park safely).
- Pull forward until your rear wheels are even with the rear wheels (or in some cases, rear bumper) of the car you’ll be parked behind.
- Turn your wheels sharply in the direction of the curb and slowly back up.
- Once your front wheels are roughly aligned with the rear wheels of the car in front of you, turn your wheels sharply away from the curb, and back up until you’re positioned in the space.
- Straighten yourself out! You’re done.
Parallel parking with a backup camera can be a stress-free process once you’ve learned to gauge the necessary distance with your backup camera lines. Keep a watchful eye on that camera to make sure that you’re not going to bump into an unforeseen hazard.
The multi-camera setup
A final use for a backup camera (and its lines) that can be enormously beneficial is adding in a multi-camera setup. This can help folks who drive large tractor-trailers, or anything with multiple points that require alignment (for instance, a 5th wheel trailer).
Cameras can be mounted on either side of a trailer to ensure that the trailer is backing up safely, and give a wide field of view to either side, so it’s much easier to navigate tough-to-maneuver spots.
A multi-camera setup can feature several displays, a wireless setup is optimal here, especially when trailers are involved, though wired options are available as well.
If your backup camera lines are giving you trouble or not displaying properly, it’s time for some troubleshooting. Check out our helpful guide for more tips and tricks--it’s the best way to determine if something needs fixin’.
Need a good camera?
If you’re looking for a quality backup camera to add to your vehicle, or if you need a replacement for an old camera, we have the parts, tools, and accessories to help you make that happen. Get in touch with us with any questions you might have, and you can browse our many available options here.