How Much Does Backup Camera Installation Cost?

Last Updated on May 28, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Adding a backup or rearview camera to your vehicle is one of the best safety investments you can make. With 360-degree visibility when reversing, backup cameras reduce accidents and give you peace of mind. But how much does it actually cost to install one? This comprehensive guide examines the factors that influence backup camera installation pricing so you can budget appropriately.

Installing a backup camera improves visibility behind your vehicle by displaying a live video feed from the rear on an in-dash monitor while in reverse. This lets you spot kids, pets, and obstacles that might be in your blindspot. According to NHTSA, backup cameras alone could prevent over 500 deaths and 15,000 injuries each year.

How Much Does Backup Camera Installation Cost?

Labor costs for professional backup camera installation typically range from $150 to $400, with more complex installs reaching higher prices. Professional installation generally costs more than DIY, which typically involves spending around $50 to $100 for tools and supplies.

The cost for a backup camera unit itself ranges from $50 to $400, depending on the model and features. Additional parts and accessories, including wiring harness adapters, extension cables, mounting brackets, and aftermarket monitors, can add $50 to $150 or more to the total cost.

The total project cost involves:

Backup camera unit

Aftermarket cameras range from:

  • $50 – $100 for a basic camera
  • $100 – $250 for mid-range models
  • $250 – $400 for premium cameras

Wireless cameras cost slightly more than wired equivalents.

OEM dealer-installed camera options run:

  • $400 – $700 for standard integrated cameras
  • $700 – $1200+ for luxury vehicles

Additional parts and hardware

  • Wiring harness adapter – $15 to $50
  • Extension cables – $20 to $60
  • Mounting brackets – $10 to $30
  • Aftermarket monitor – $50 to $200
  • Misc. parts like ties, connectors, tools – $20 to $50

So, expect to pay $50 to $150 or more for parts.

Professional installation labor

Average cost is $150 to $250 for 1-3 hours shop time. More complex installs reach $400.

DIY installation tools and supplies

Around $50 to $100 for wiring kits, testers, trim tools and protective mats.

Adding up the camera, parts, and labor gives you the total project cost.

Yelp provides a cost guide for backup camera installation, stating that the typical cost is $125, with a range of $250. This estimate is based on 110 real quotes from businesses in the United States.

QuickVu Cams discusses the true costs of backup camera systems, mentioning that some specialty car accessory dealers charge upwards of $600 for a fully installed system. They suggest that wireless systems are more expensive but take less time to install, with costs around $250 for the camera and $100 for installation. Wired systems may cost $150 for the camera and an additional $200 for installation.

Capital One Auto Navigator offers insights on how to add a backup camera to your car. They state that nationwide chains like Best Buy and Walmart offer backup camera installation for approximately $130 to $140, excluding the cost of the camera itself.

Best Buy provides a service for rear backup camera installation on cars, trucks, or SUVs. The price for this service is $79.99, but it does not include the hardware (camera).

Reddit features a discussion thread where users share their experiences with backup camera installation costs. One user mentions paying $750 at a shop with poor reviews, while another paid $500 a year ago for a Kenwood Excelon head unit and backup camera installation.

Wired vs. Wireless Backup Cameras

The first major pricing factor is whether you choose a wired or wireless backup camera system.

Wired backup cameras connect to the display monitor using video cables routed through your vehicle. While wired cameras provide a reliable, high quality video feed, installation is more complex. Running video cables neatly through the car interior to the trunk area takes effort and automotive wiring expertise.

Professional installation is strongly recommended for wired systems, as improper wiring can cause shorts, fires and electrical issues. The labor and wiring expenses associated with wired backup cameras increase costs substantially.

Wireless backup cameras transmit video over a wireless signal, eliminating the need to run video cables. Most come with a license plate frame or surface mounted camera that connects wirelessly to a separate monitor/receiver unit. With no wires to route, wireless cameras are much easier for DIY installation. But wireless systems can suffer interference causing poor video quality. The components also tend to be cheaper in construction.

OEM vs. Aftermarket Backup Cameras

You’ll also choose between OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or aftermarket backup camera systems.

OEM backup cameras are designed specifically for your vehicle make and model. They integrate seamlessly into the manufacturer’s electrical system and often utilize your existing in-dash display screen. OEM cameras produce top notch video quality and match all interior styling perfectly. But they’re only available on select newer vehicle models and are expensive, typically over $400 just for parts. Professional installation is required.

Aftermarket backup cameras offered by third-party companies provide a more affordable solution compatible with most vehicles. But you may need to install a separate monitor since aftermarket cameras don’t tie into the OEM display screen. Video quality can’t match OEM cameras. However, aftermarket cameras provide solid performance if properly installed.

Factors Affecting the Cost

Several important factors affect your bottom-line pricing:

Vehicle make and model

More compact vehicles like sedans allow for easier access to run wiring and position the camera. Large trucks or SUVs often require extra labor for routing cables and extensive panel removal, increasing costs.

Camera system features

Multi-camera systems are more expensive to purchase and install than single camera options. Cameras with a wider field of view or infrared night vision also cost more.

Camera and monitor mounting locations

The chosen mounting location will determine the wiring complexity and labor time involved. A tailgate camera is simpler than one buried behind rear panels.

Integrating with an existing OEM display

Tying into the factory monitor raises complexity compared to adding an aftermarket display. Programming and calibration is required.

Wireless versus wired

A wireless camera saves significantly on wiring labor compared to a wired setup routed through the vehicle interior.

DIY or professional install

Paying a professional $150 to $250 in labor fees adds cost but ensures proper installation. DIY saves money but requires tools and skill.

Required accessories and adapters

You might also like our articles about the cost of fuse box replacement, sunroof installation, or windshield replacement.

More video cable extensions, specialty wiring adapters and additional parts means higher overall project expenses.

Professional Installation Costs

Hiring a professional automotive technician is the best way to guarantee proper installation without any vehicle damage or electrical issues. But how much does professional backup camera installation cost at various providers? Here’s a breakdown:

At the new car dealership

For newer model vehicles with integrated OEM camera options, dealership pricing averages:

  • Parts – $400 to $1200 for OEM camera kit
  • Labor – Usually around $200 per hour. Expect 1-3 hours.
  • Total – Approximately $600 to $1500+

At a specialty auto electronics installer

For aftermarket camera installation expect:

  • Parts – $50 to $400 camera system, $50 to $150 other parts
  • Labor – Typically $100 to $150 per hour. Quote is 2-4 hours.
  • Total – From $300 to $800 depending on camera and vehicle complexity

At an auto service and repair shop

  • Parts – $100 to $400 aftermarket camera, $50 to $150 in wiring and accessories
  • Labor – Average $80 to $120 per hour. Estimate of 2-3 hours.
  • Total – Around $250 to $550 based on parts selected

Independent remote start/alarm installer

  • Parts – $50 to $150 entry-level camera, $50 parts and cabling
  • Labor – Usually $50 to $80 per hour. Plan for 2 hours.
  • Total – Approximately $200 to $300

So, as you see, prices can vary significantly depending on where you go for installation. An independent shop tends to offer the best value for aftermarket systems while the dealership is required for OEM cameras. Get multiple quotes before deciding.

DIY Backup Camera Installation

Installing your backup camera as a DIY project rather than paying for professional labor can potentially save hundreds of dollars. But is DIY installation right for you?

Pros of DIY Installation

  • Save $150 to $250 on professional labor fees
  • Gain satisfaction of completing a major project yourself
  • Customize the install to your exact preferences
  • Take your time for an optimal camera position

Cons of DIY Installation

  • Physically demanding installation takes 6-10 hours
  • No guarantee of proper wiring or positioning on the first try
  • Any mistakes may disable the system or require rework
  • You need intermediate electrical and wiring skills
  • Troubleshooting problems yourself can be tricky

Best Candidates for DIY Installation

Backup Camera SystemWireless systems are well suited for DIY since they do not involve complex wiring. You can also tackle DIY install more easily with:

  • Simple vehicle layouts that provide easy access
  • Good online guides for your specific vehicle
  • Previous experience splicing automotive wiring
  • Patience and attention to detail
  • A willingness to learn specialized skills

But in general, wireless systems are the most DIY friendly while wired pro-grade cameras are better left to seasoned professionals.

DIY Backup Camera Installation Instructions

If you do decide to take the DIY route, carefully follow installation guides specific to your vehicle and camera. Here are some general steps:

Purchase supplies

  • Backup camera and monitor system
  • Wiring parts like harness, extensions, ties
  • Vehicle-specific trim and wiring tools
  • Protective mats, electrical tape, connectors

Prepare the vehicle

  • Remove interior trim panels to access wiring paths. Use protective mats.
  • Park on level ground for proper camera installation.

Mount the camera

  • Clean mounting location well and attach camera securely at optimal rear-view angle.

Run wiring neatly

  • Use fish tape to route camera wires through vehicle framework down to monitor area.

Connect wiring

  • Splice camera wires to harness following instructions. Solder or use crimp connectors.

Connect monitor

  • Plug harness wiring into monitor input. Mount monitor securely.

Confirm operation

  • Test camera video feed and adjust angle if needed.

Secure wiring

  • Use zip ties and mounts to fix wiring out of sight before replacing trim panels.

Plan for at least 6-10 hours on your first DIY install. Go slowly and double check every connection. Having an extra set of hands speeds the process.

OEM vs Aftermarket Camera Costs

One of the biggest pricing factors is whether you opt for integrated OEM or added-on aftermarket cameras. What’s the difference?

OEM Backup Cameras

  • Built into newer model vehicles at the factory
  • Advanced image sensors produce superb video quality
  • Display output ties into your existing in-dash screen
  • Components designed for seamless integration and styling match
  • Only available installed by the dealership, typically on higher trim packages
  • Significant cost of $400 to well over $1000

Aftermarket Backup Cameras

  • Offer more budget friendly options starting around $100
  • Can be added to almost any vehicle old or new
  • Display is separate monitor since it can’t integrate with OEM screen
  • Video quality lags behind purpose-built OEM cameras
  • Wider selection of systems with customizable features
  • DIY installation possible on some aftermarket cameras

So, OEM systems offer a fully integrated factory upgrade you won’t even notice was added later. But expect to pay a premium. More affordable aftermarket options provide solid performance and easier installation at the cost of optimal video quality and styling.

Wired vs Wireless Backup Camera Costs

You’ll also choose between wired or wireless configurations, which affects pricing:

Wired Backup Camera Systems

  • Video cables must be routed from the camera to the display
  • Clean wiring through the vehicle requires professional installation
  • Total costs are higher, averaging $400 for camera, parts and installation
  • Reliable video signal since wires are less prone to interference

Wireless Backup Camera Systems

  • Transmit video wirelessly between camera and monitor
  • Much quicker and easier DIY installation with no wiring labor
  • Average cost around $250 – $300 for camera, parts and basic tools
  • Potential for some video signal interference from other wireless sources

Wireless systems offer big savings through simplified installation. But wired models provide the best hassle-free video feed. There are affordable options in both categories.

Other Cost Considerations

A few other factors that influence total pricing:

Additional accessories and adapters – Specialized wiring harnesses, extended cables and adapters add costs. You may need $100+ in extra parts for complex vehicles.

Multiple camera systems – Adding side view or 360-degree cameras increases parts expenses. And additional cameras mean more wiring labor.

Permits, inspections and taxes – If required in your area, permits, inspections and taxes add to the total project cost.

Removal and reinstallation of vehicle components – Extensive trim panel or bumper removal and replacement adds labor time.

Final Words

Installing a backup camera is one of the wisest investments you can make for safe driving peace of mind. The factors determining cost include the type of camera, wired versus wireless configuration, and whether you tackle installation yourself or hire a pro.

With proper installation and periodic maintenance, a quality backup camera system provides accident prevention and enhanced visibility for years of smooth reversing. Considering the significant safety benefits and potential injury liability, most owners find the cost of these innovative cameras well justified. Drive safely and see more with a carefully selected backup camera system!

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you need to install a backup camera?

Essential components include:

  • Backup camera and monitor kit or individual pieces
  • Video cables or wireless transmitter/receiver
  • Wiring harness adapter and extension cables
  • Mounting hardware like brackets
  • Vehicle-specific trim removal tools
  • Basic wiring tools if installing yourself

How long does it take to install a backup camera?

Professional installation typically takes 1-3 hours including wiring, positioning and testing. DIY installs require 6-10 hours for the inexperienced.

Is installing a backup camera difficult?

Wireless camera install is fairly straightforward with instructions. But wiring a pro camera neatly through a vehicle does require knowledge of automotive electrical systems and some skill.

How long does back up camera last?

Most aftermarket cameras function reliably for 4-6 years before maintenance is needed. Following manufacturer care guidelines and protecting the camera can extend lifespan to 8-10 years. Check connections periodically and replace worn parts. Higher cost cameras have the longest lifespans.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *