So many newer cars have back up cameras in them, but not all or it is an expensive upgrade. If you have an older car you do not have one at all. Neither of my cars has a standard back up camera so when PEAK asked if I would like to try out one of their aftermarket cameras I said sure (disclosure: I received a camera and payment, but opinions are my own and Hubby’s).
They offer several versions, but I was sent the PEAK 3.5” Back-Up Camera to try out. When it arrived I had the idea that I would try installing this myself because the package says “installs in minutes” so how hard could it be, right? So I read the instructions – I understood the part about taking the screws out of the license plate and attaching the camera and putting the screws back in. Then it went into splicing wires together for the reverse lights and I was a bit lost. Luckily, as you know, Hubby is a master certified automotive technician so I knew he could handle the job. Whew!
Hubby installed this on his car to try it out primarily because it was easier than my car. My car has the reverse lights mounted in the actual trunk lid which makes the process a bit harder – in his car the reverse lights are in the bumper.
This is the easy part – unscrew your license plate and put the camera on and put the screws back in. I could have handled this part – well okay, maybe not exactly because I have bolts in my license plates and that is not done with a screwdriver. Sigh.
So here you can see it mounted right at the top of the plates. You can adjust the camera a bit, but it is a fairly tight fit. Also, Hubby is not sure (yet) if this will block the bulb for the license plate which is important.
Now this is the part that I got lost at in reading. You do not HAVE to take out your light as Hubby did, but he did not want a bunch of wires hanging out and such. So he popped out the reverse light.
Then he had to wire up the camera to those reverse light wires.
Then came this little box which sends the signal from the camera to the display. The directions did not say this had to be in the car….
So Hubby used a wire tire (provided) and mounted it on the underside of his car (outside) and then put the light back in the bumper.
The inside part is easy. Just a suction cup to the window, place the monitor on it…
and then plug the power cord into your cigarette lighter plug
Even though I was not with Hubby when he took this photo (he’s at the lake house) I know why he took it. This power cord just laying here is bugging him. He would take the time to route the wire behind the dashboard and actually hard wire it into the car because that is just how he is.
Then a slight problem. That little box he had mounted under his car that sends the signal was not working well. He determined it needed to be inside the car. So he had to go back and remove it and then re-install it inside. He found this little panel and put it inside of it so it is not visible.
He said this resolved the problem and it is working fine now.
So the installation took about 30 minutes initially, then another 20 minutes to go back and move the little box. As I mentioned, Hubby said it is not that it is hard to do for someone with wiring and automotive knowledge but it is not just a few minutes to install.
Now that he had it all set up he tried it out. This first photo is of the camera actually showing him what is behind him (that’s my brother’s Jeep behind him). Hubby is very impressed with the quality of the monitor, the colors, settings, size, and clarity.
This shot is Hubby standing right at the back of his car and taking a picture with his phone so you could see that is back up camera is accurate.
He really likes the green, yellow, and red indicators on the monitor also (you can turn them off and on). The items in by the red lines are very close to you. While this is not mandatory to use the camera, it is a nice visual as when you use these sometimes it is an odd thing – kind of like moving in a mirror.
The retail price is about $100 for this model. Hubby and I both thought that was reasonable for what you get with the Peak Back-Up Camera. Safety is really the biggest pro for this device. To be able to see kids, people, pets, and objects that are behind you when you go to back up is critical. Sadly, I know of a few cases of children being killed accidentally when their own parents backed up and did not know they were behind the car. If your car has a large blind spot it really is hard to see. Plus cars are so much quieter these days that I think the lack of sound when they are running is actually why many people do not hear them and know to move out of the way.
The best feature of the product itself is the monitor. Hubby was quite impressed. Since he works on cars all day he sees a lot of aftermarket items like these and he said this monitor is much better than the majority of what he sees in customer cars at work.
The negative is that it is a bit more complex that what the packaging leads you to believe. That is very fixable by PEAK though hopefully.
Would I buy this for myself? Yes – my car is hard to see out of because I have a small rear window since it is a convertible. When then top is down it is a lot easier to see, but when it is up it has a lot of blind spots.
Would I buy this for a gift? Yes – for someone who just likes cool stuff for their cars or for my parents even maybe who are getting older and need a little extra help with driving these days. I would be sure to have someone knowledgeable install it for them as part of the gift.
What do you think? Would you get an aftermarket back-up camera for your car? Do you already have one? What are the pros and cons for you?
Big thanks to Hubby who helped so much with this review![signoff]
© 2013, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.