Consumer Reports: Installing a backup camera on an older car

Consumer Reports long advocated for standards to address blind spots behind vehicles and in 2014, the Department of Transportation issued a rule that required backup cameras in all vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds by May 2018. But what if you have an older car? Consumer Reports reveals some aftermarket backup cameras you can install on your car to give you that added peace of mind.

A rearview camera is a handy safety tool. Evidence shows that rearview cameras help avoid accidents that involve backing into an object or worse, a child invisible from the driver's seat. Research has shown cameras to be even more effective than sensors. But what if your car doesn't have a backup camera?

"This is a wireless rearview camera that plugs into your smartphone. It does have actually a small battery in it so this is a completely self-contained unit," said Consumer Reports car expert Mel Yu.

The wireless, smartphone option costs anywhere from $22 to $100. Be sure to choose one that is compatible with your phone's operating system.

Some dash-cam sets have a screen that straps over your existing rearview mirror. In addition to being a mirror, it displays video from the rear camera. They cost $40 to $200.

And if your car has an infotainment screen but lacks a rearview camera, you can purchase an aftermarket retrofit for $50 to $600.

Hardwiring a rearview camera takes some DIY skills and can be time-consuming. Consumer Reports suggests if you have any doubts, consider professional installation.

Installation for hard-wiring rear view camera retrofit kits range from 99 to 130-dollars. To see if a used car you're considering buying already has a back-up camera, you can check out Consumer Reports' website.

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