You may be considering installing a dash camera in your Mini Cooper. I am here to inform you that there are numerous reasons why you might desire one.
My partner drives a Mini, and you’d be surprised how many times she narrowly avoided an accident. Whether you’re a frequent driver or a fan of the Mini’s maneuverability, a dash cam can be an excellent investment.
For starters, I’m not sure if you’re like me, but whenever I hop into a Mini Cooper, I feel the urge to accelerate. Naturally, not recklessly, but the car’s light weight and nimbleness make it simple.
Sharp turns are enjoyable, and they help me feel more connected to the road.
Having a dash cam enables me to document my adventures while I’m out and about in the city. Taking the Mini out for a spin on a nice windy road is an ideal opportunity to record.
Apart from the entertainment value, I use the dash cam as a safety precaution. I’m not sure if it’s the Mini Cooper’s diminutive size, but cars seem to believe they can drive right through me!
Installing a dash cam on her car in an unobtrusive manner is the best way to provide yourself with protection and perhaps a little bit of entertainment.
Top 3 Picks
- VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K – CHECK ON AMAZON
- Rexing V2 – 4K Ultra HD – CHECK ON AMAZON
- Garmin Dash Cam Mini – CHECK ON AMAZON
Installing a Dash Camera in a Mini Cooper
This will be broken down into a few simple steps. The first consideration is the dash cam’s location. Without a doubt, the best location is somewhere near the rear view mirror.
It is positioned out of the way to avoid obstructing your view and provides excellent road coverage.
Depending on the type of dash cam you purchase, you may wish to add a Mini Cooper rear mirror dash cam to your collection. This would take the place of your existing mirror.
Continuing on, we’d like to briefly discuss mounting. Suction cup or 3M adhesive tape are the best options in this case. That should cover the majority of requirements. Personally, I prefer flush-mount dash cameras that are flush with the windshield.
In my opinion, it is less obnoxious. Typically, dash cams with suction cups are required if the camera must be moved frequently, as is the case with a cabin facing camera.
If you do decide to purchase a rear dash camera, you’ll want to mount it somewhere on the back windshield. However, how do you make it appear clean? We’ll discuss cable management in greater detail later.
Following that, you’ll want to conceal the wires if you’re installing a dashcam in a Mini Cooper or Mini Countryman.
You could simply let the dashcam wire hang down from the device to the cigarette lighter, but that is extremely unsightly, and believe me when I say that hiding dash cam wires is not difficult.
The first step in concealing wires is to route them above the headliner. They should be able to be tucked in using only your fingers. Proceed to the passenger side.
While you could technically access the driver side, we recommend the passenger side because you’ll have the option of hardwiring the dash cam.
As you progress across the headliner toward the passenger door, begin concealing the wires beneath the weather stripping along the A-pillar of the vehicle.
You may need to remove the panel at this point, but we were able to do so without doing so. If a panel tool is not available, use a flat head screw driver wrapped in a towel to open the panel.
You can run the wire all the way down to the passenger floor through the weather stripping. If you are having difficulty installing the wire, feel free to pull out the weather stripping; it is easily reinstalled by pushing it back in.
At this point, you have a couple of options. The fuse box on the majority of newer Mini Coopers is located directly next to the passenger door. You can easily pop the door open.
We strongly advise against hardwiring any dash cam into any vehicle. You can then use the convenient Parking Mode, but even if you don’t, hard wiring eliminates the need for a USB power outlet in your car.
If you do not wish to hardwire (shame! ), you can route the wire through the glove compartment or beneath the compartment and then to the center unit for USB power.
There was no foolproof method of completely concealing the wire on the model we had, particularly near the end. The cable had to protrude slightly as it wound its way around the center console.
If you intend to install hard wiring, ensure that you have the necessary kit. They are relatively inexpensive to acquire. Once you’ve opened the fuse box, you’ll need to locate a fuse that meets your specifications.
That is, there are fuses that are “always-on” and fuses that turn on only when the key is in the ignition. If you wish to use advanced dashcam features such as Parking Mode while you are not in the vehicle, you must use the always-on fuse.
You can determine the correct fuse by consulting the owner’s manual for your vehicle or by using an electricity meter to determine which ones are “hot.”
Depending on your setup, you will most likely need to crimp your dash cam wire to the hard wire, and then connect the black wire to a ground source.
On the bottom door panel of the Mini Cooper, there is a ground point. There is a bolt to which the ground wire can be attached. Close any remaining panels and conceal any exposed wires.
If you opt for a rear unit, you’ll need to route the wires along the top headliner, most likely temporarily relocating panels to conceal the wires within the panels or along the weather stripping.
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Best Dash Cam For A Mini Cooper
Similarly, wires can be routed beneath the bottom door panels. Whichever path you take is entirely up to you.
Once the cables are in the back, you can route the wires through the side of the trunk trim for a clean look, and then remove the top panel. From here, you should route the cable through the opening where the rubber hose attaches, through another panel, and finally to the car window.
VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K
The VIOFO A129 is an excellent choice for your Mini Cooper not only for its looks, but also for the multitude of features packed into this device. It’s a front and rear dash camera, with the front recording in 4K and the rear recording in 1080P.
The dash cam is mounted with adhesive tape and has a sleek design. It contours to the windshield to avoid standing out like a sore thumb.
This dash cam comes with a slew of features. For starters, it features an F/1.8 lens, which is ideal for capturing light in low-light situations.
Those wishing to take advantage of the hard wiring features will be pleased to learn that there is a buffered parking mode that records 15 seconds prior to and 30 seconds after an event.
This device includes built-in WiFi, which enables you to access it via your smartphone.
It does include a 2-inch LCD screen, which is useful for determining how to mount the camera. Additionally, the entire package includes a trim removal tool, which I thought was a nice touch. It significantly simplifies hard wiring.
We believe that both the front and rear viewing angles (130 and 140 degrees, respectively) are a little too shallow for complete coverage. We anticipate temperatures of around 160 degrees.
Rexing V1 – 4K Ultra HD
Where the VIOFO fell short in terms of wide angle capability, the Rexing V1 makes up for it. The front-facing camera is ultra-wide at 170 degrees, providing almost complete coverage from left to right.
Having said that, the Rexing does forego a rear camera. This option is sufficient for those who are less concerned with rear coverage or who do not wish to deal with wire installation throughout the vehicle.
Additionally, the Rexing operates at a maximum temperature of 176 degrees, which is ideal if you live in a hot climate and leave your car outside. There is no risk of overheating.
As with the previous camera, this one has WiFi capabilities and a Parking Surveillance Mode. It operates similarly to the previous mode, but it is critical to note that this Parking Mode does not detect motion. It will begin recording only when a vibration is detected, such as a door opening/closing or a window breaking. Parking Modes are not all created equal.
If you intend to use this feature, be sure to purchase the hard wire kit.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini
Could it be that Garmin has released a dash cam the size of a car key? If you’re looking for discretion, the Garmin offers few options. The Garmin Dash Cam Mini is a single-channel dash cam with 1080P video recording.
Mounting it in front of your rear view mirror virtually eliminates visibility of the dash cam while driving or peering into the car.
You will give up some functionality in exchange for size. For instance, you lack a rear dash camera. Although the wide angle is subpar at 140 degrees, Parking Mode is still available. Additionally, there is WiFi connectivity, which enables you to download and share footage from the Garmin Drive App.
Bear in mind that if you wish to hardwire your Garmin Dash Cam Mini, you will require a rather pricey Parking Mode Cable, which is sold separately. We’re not sure why it’s so expensive, but wanted to ensure that you included it in your total cost of ownership calculation.
Anker Roav Dash Cam S1
Finally, there is the Anker Road Dash Cam S1. Additionally, this is a single channel dash cam that we adore due to its sleek design. It is flush with the front windshield and has a very minimalist appearance.
The S1’s one distinguishing feature is that it records at a frame rate of 60 FPS. This results in buttery smooth camera footage and increased data collection, resulting in high-quality image playback.
As with other dash cams, WiFi is included, as is a G-Sensor, which detects and records when you’ve been in an accident. Additionally, there is a built-in GPS that tracks your journey, which is convenient.
To enable Parking Mode, you must install this hard wiring kit. Although it is a generic hard wire kit, there should be no issues. If you choose to use the included car charger, we thought it was a nice touch that it was a dual-port charger, which allowed you to charge your phone or any other accessory while driving.
Features to Consider When Choosing a Dash Cam For a Mini Cooper
If you’re going to pay for a dash cam, I believe you should always look for one that includes Parking Mode, even if you don’t intend to hard wire it immediately.
Many people are proud to have remained loyal to Mini Coopers for many years, and I can understand why they would want to protect their investment. When conducting research on Parking Mode, keep in mind that there are several distinct types.
One is a parking mode that will activate only when the car detects vibration. This is acceptable in a pinch because it will record only if your car is involved in an accident. There will be a small number of false positives.
After that, there is Parking Mode, which includes motion detection. If you live in an area with many swaying trees or on a busy street, you may not want to record every encounter.
However, if you are like me and live in a residential area where only a few people walk past my car on a daily basis, you may consider the need for motion detection.
Buffered Parking Mode is the final type of Parking Mode. This feature will continue to detect when an event occurs, regardless of whether it is activated by motion or vibration, and will save footage leading up to and following the event. Essentially, it is recording the entire time but only saving the critical portions when an event is detected.
If you’ve read our top picks for the Mini Cooper, you’ll notice that we have a preference for a particular dash cam design. We tend to avoid form factors that are further away from the windshield for the Mini.
There is no reason why this type of car should have a large suction cup dash cam, for example.
Assuming you are not riding in the Mini Cooper, you do not require a cabin facing camera. Simply conceal the dash cam behind the rear view mirror and call it a day!
Clearly, image quality is critical for dash cam owners. If you intend to use the footage for additional purposes, such as for the track or to share on social media, you’ll want to use a device that does not appear to be a phone camera.
How do you determine the image’s quality? There are several attributes of image quality to consider. Examine the footage for bright spots and determine whether the camera can retain detail in those areas. Cameras with a wide dynamic range can capture images in a variety of lighting conditions.
In low-light situations, noise or grain will be added superficially to an image in order to smooth it out.
Another factor is color accuracy, which can be determined visually. Are the colors accurate representations of reality, or has the image been heavily saturated or altered?
Is it really worth it?
A dash cam is absolutely necessary for anyone who owns a Mini Cooper. You can find dash cams with a slim profile that will remain completely out of your way while driving. Therefore, if there is no impediment, why not? You are now ready to go. Protect your vehicle against external forces over which you have no control.