Using Ring’s video doorbells to protect our homes is pretty common. Someone rings the bell, you see them on the Ring app, and that’s pretty much that. But what about if you want to protect something a little more mobile? Say – your car?
In the ongoing pursuit of security, you may want to make your car more secure, going beyond regular dashcams. I mean, after all, you already have the Ring app, so it’s as simple as just adding an extra camera. But is this a good idea? And if so, how do you go about making it work?
What are Dashcams?
Dashcams, short for Dashboard Cameras, are small cameras typically attached to – you guessed it – the dashboard of your car. These little devices were created to aid in protecting your car, and typically face the road in front of you. They’re particularly useful in providing evidence in the event of a car accident.
These cameras come with a wide variety of options and levels of functionality. Some are wired and use a microSD card, where your captured videos are stored. They plug into your vehicle’s USB outlets for power, and can continually record as you’re driving. If the SD card gets full, older recordings are erased and new videos replace it.
Still, other dashcams are wireless, use a Wi-fi connection to your phone, and can be placed inside or outside of your vehicle. Some are designed to be placed in such a way that no one even knows they’re in the car – great for catching thieves red-handed.
Wireless dash cams have their own respective apps where you can configure their settings, and where the videos they take are stored. Some even have options where you can have your videos saved to the Cloud, as well as to a microSD card.
There is such a wide range of options when it comes to dashcams, that there’s literally something for everyone. It just depends on what features work best for you and your situation.
With fuel prices and car thefts on the rise, dashcams have become increasingly popular. But what if you don’t want to use a dashcam? Maybe you want to try something a little different – say, a Ring Doorbell?
What is the Ring Doorbell?
Ring Video Doorbells are smart doorbells manufactured by the company, Ring. They’re designed to enhance your home’s security by giving you a view of whoever or whatever is at your door. With the two-way speaker, you can even speak to the person at the door, such as delivery personnel or guests.
These doorbells come in a few different versions. There’s the Video Doorbell Wired, as well as the Ring Doorbell Pro and Pro 2, which can only be used when wired into your home’s existing doorbell wiring.
Then there are the more popular battery-powered editions, such as the Ring Doorbell 2020 release, Ring Doorbell 3, and Ring Doorbell 4, which contain a rechargeable battery. These you simply mount to your doorpost, set up in the Ring app, and you’re good to go.
There is also the Ring Doorbell Elite which uses PoE, or, Power over Ethernet. With this version, the video doorbell is connected to the internet and power via an Ethernet cable.
You control and configure your Video Doorbell’s settings using the Ring app, which your Ring devices connect to via a Wi-Fi connection. The Ring app is where you set your doorbell’s parameters as to where it detects motion, as well as how often. If you have a Ring Protect Plan, this is also where your recorded videos are stored so you can view them later.
If you don’t have a Ring Protect Plan, you can view the videos live as they’re happening, but they won’t be stored.
Now, it’s to be noted that Ring’s line of Video Doorbells were intended for homes, not vehicles. Still, some people have decided that they want to put these devices on their cars to protect them against such things as fuel theft, as MMAC highlighted recently on Facebook:
But is this a good idea?
Pros and Cons of Using a Ring Doorbell For Your Car
Some people decide to go with the Ring video doorbell on their car because they already have the app, as well as other Ring cameras. The convenience, therefore, of watching all of your footage from one location is appealing.
The price point may also play a role. This, however, is debatable, as dashcams have a variety of price points, depending on what you’re looking for. Some actually cost less than Ring doorbells – but have fewer features. Still, others cost more, but give you a lot of bang for your buck.
When comparing Ring doorbells to wired dashcams that use microSD cards, you may consider the issue of storage. Ring video doorbells store footage to the Cloud, while certain dashcams (usually the more affordable ones!) use microSD cards and store footage locally. With these, you run the risk of the micro SD cards being tampered with. So the security of Cloud storage vs local storage is definitely something to consider.
But while using a Ring doorbell on your car may be an innovative idea for a few reasons, it isn’t the most practical. It may also be more eye-catching than you’d like it to be. On top of that, with a little elbow grease, so to speak, a determined criminal can pull it right off your car.
In order to use your Ring Video Doorbell successfully, you’ll also need a Wi-Fi connection so that it can upload to the Cloud. In this case, you’d have to either use your phone’s mobile hotspot -which could incur huge data charges!
You can also purchase a separate mobile hotspot that stays in the vehicle at all times. Again, this could incur extra charges, plus you’d have to make sure to keep the hotspot charged since you can’t plug it in.
Finally, you will probably need a battery powered Ring Doorbell – the hardwired or PoE ones will be much harder to install on a car. But you then have the issue of having to re-charge the battery from time to time.
So let’s say you still want to use one for your car – is installing or mounting a video doorbell on your car even possible?
‘Installing’ a Ring Doorbell On Your Car
So you’ve decided that regardless, you’re going to mount, or install a Ring Video Doorbell on your car. In general, attaching a Ring Doorbell to your car is relatively simple.
For obvious reasons, you’ll want to avoid screwing it in with a mount – the damage to your vehicle would be pretty bad. Most opt for double-sided tape. It’s easy to find, sticks well, and won’t damage your car’s paint finish.
Some have opted for duct tape, but this is not only unsightly (unless you don’t care) but not as effective. Especially when it comes to the elements, it will weaken and fall off sooner than later.
To start, make sure whatever surface you’re going to place it on, whether by the gas tank or elsewhere, is clean. Clean it well, then do a final wipe with alcohol to make the surface as dry and clean as possible.
Once you’ve done that, place the double-sided tape where you want it to go. Peel off the other side of the double-sided tape, then place your doorbell on it. For extra security, you’ll want to place a set of double-sided tape on the back of the Doorbell as well. This way you’ll have two sticky pads sticking to each other.
This method can apply if you’d like to place your camera in a window from the inside of the car as well. In this case, you would place the double-sided tape on the front of the doorbell, making sure not to block the camera or sensors, instead of the back of the camera.
Alternatives to Using the Ring Doorbell On Your Car
While installing a Ring Doorbell on your car may seem a novel idea, it may not always be the best. So what other options might you consider?
If you’re really determined to stick with Ring, you might consider a Ring Stick-Up Cam, but placed inside of the car.
They are bulky, so placing them on the outside of your car isn’t the best idea. Plus, because there’s less surface area to securely attach it to your vehicle, it would be easier to remove and steal.
Another option you may look into is an actual dashcam. These wired or wireless cameras are designed specifically with your vehicle in mind. They can be placed on your dashboard, or even in a variety of other places inside your vehicle. Some also have a rear-view camera, so it records the front and back of your vehicle at the same time:
Whilst most dash cams run about the same price point as Ring’s video doorbells, some cost much less! On top of that, they’re a lot more compact and practical. Being inside of your car, they’re far less likely to be stolen or tampered with. Some can even be mounted so discreetly that thieves don’t even know they’re being watched.
Another option you may consider unfortunately isn’t available yet. Ring has in development a line of Car Security products, such as a Car Alarm and Car Cam. They will be compatible with Alexa, as most of Ring’s products are, and connect to your Ring app just like your other Ring products.
A release date for Ring’s specific Car products still pending, and Ring says that the FCC has yet to authorize its reproduction or sale yet, so it looks as if there will be a bit of a wait on this one.
Next to our homes, our vehicles are precious possessions that we want to keep an eye on. Whether it’s traffic incidences or the rise in fuel theft, you want to keep a close, secure eye on your vehicle. For this reason, some have opted for Ring video doorbells.
This isn’t always the most practical option, so many more use dash cams for their vehicle’s security. These compact cameras not only allow you to monitor your vehicle, but they do so from the safety of within your vehicle.