How to Install Backup Camera in Jeep Wrangler?


Since 2018, it is required by law that all vehicles are shipped with backup cameras.

If you have a Jeep Wrangler older than this, you will have to purchase an aftermarket kit and integrate it into your stereo or replace it entirely. Installing a backup camera is not as difficult as you may think, so let me drive you through this. 

As a general rule, the easiest way to install a reverse camera in Jeep Wrangler is to mount the camera behind the spare wheel and connect it to the existing stereo. The more complicated alternative is to remove an existing stereo and replace it with the one equipped with a backup camera.

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This article will detail all the questions you may have answers to regarding backup cameras for Jeep Wrangler.

Those questions will indeed include what a backup camera is, which one is the best, how to install it, where you should mount it, the advantages of having one, and more. 

Jeep Wrangler overview

Jeep Wrangler has a long history of being manufactured since 1986. They are very recognizable and arguably an indirect progression from the Jeeps manufactured during World War II. 

These vehicles have been primarily made through AMC (American Motors) and Chrysler. They have also been called by other names such as Jeep YJ, Jeep TJ, Jeep JK, Jeep JL, Jeep J8 (Military version), Jeep Sahara, and the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Most of these, although they look nearly identical, are actually different models with different equipment.

install backup camera in jeep wrangler

Since 2015 jeep has sought to create the perfect vehicle, and they almost got it right with the “JK” series that was introduced in 2007.

Jeep Wranglers at the beginning were built for all types of harsh terrain off-road activities, but nowadays, their style is so modern and sleek that people purchase them for everyday use, like commuting to work, dropping off the kids, going shopping, and many more.

What is the factory OEM radio that is shipped with a Jeep Wrangler?

The most significant updates to the Jeep Wrangler came out in 2015 when the OEM factory stereo shipped with eight speakers and two extra tweeters.

You could also opt for the premium package that came with a nine-speaker system and a subwoofer under the cargo floor. 

Does Jeep Wrangler come with a backup camera?

Backup cameras were not compulsory by law before 2018. Hence any car audio system or infotainment in a Jeep Wrangler prior to 2018 did not come with a backup camera.

However, backup cameras have been widely available for many years in aftermarket systems or as separate add-on accessories. 

What are the benefits of backup cameras in Jeep Wrangler?

Jeep Wrangler’s backup camera is just the same as any other vehicle’s backup camera. If you do not know what this device is, they are wide-angle cameras that are attached to the backend of a car and serve as a replacement or additional viewing source for your rearview mirror and side-view mirror. 

  • Some advantages of having a backup camera include giving you the ability to see obscured areas that your rearview mirror and side-view mirrors can not pick up. You can view many more angles and a much broader area in simpler terms, alleviating any blind spots you may have with just using your mirrors.
  •  Additional advantages are that when the weather is low (such as when it is raining or misty), using the backup camera will let you see the area behind your car where the elements would otherwise obscure it. Furthermore, the head unit’s display provides on-screen guidelines that are very handy and helpful when you are looking to park the car or maneuver in reverse.

Can I add a backup camera to my existing stereo?

You are definitely able to add a backup camera to your current system, and there are a couple of ways to do so.

However, do note that some systems require a stereo with a display (monitor), and some do not because they will require installing a monitor to integrate a backup camera. 

How to choose the best backup camera for Jeep Wrangler?

If you are purchasing a backup camera for your Jeep Wrangler, then you will have to consider a few factors because owning a Wrangler will most likely mean that you will take it offroad and on some wild and hardcore adventures. 

Hence you cannot just get any old ordinary backup camera. You need one that will withstand a ton of abuse if it is thrown its way.

Below are some of the backup camera features you should consider when purchasing one for your Wrangler:

  • Small (not a license plate camera)
  • Waterproof
  • Wide viewing angle
  • If it is wireless, then it must have a stable signal
  • Compatible with most GPS navigators
  • HD quality picture even in bad lighting and poor conditions
  • Dustproof
  • Good quality night vision
  • Industrial strength mounting if available
  • Robust
  • If you are integrating a new monitor, then the monitor should be large enough

As you can see, there are quite a few features that a backup camera should have, and it is not just a simple video displaying device.

You should consider all these factors if you are using your Wrangler as it is designed, and that means when you are taking it off roads and through rough terrain. 

If you are not using your Wrangler in this specified manner, you will be more than able just to get a standard backup camera that will suit your everyday needs. 

The best camera I ever used in harsh conditions was the wireless EWAY with magnetic mounting and can be placed in any metal part of the car, for example, on a trailer hitch or the roof bar.

EWAY is waterproof, and several times I had it left while washing the car. After leaving the car wash, the camera was still in the place and was working great.

It does not have its own monitor, but it works with any Android or iPhone. I used to have it connected to my Samsung Edge 9, and I was pleased with the visual quality. 

EWAY is conveniently available on Amazon, so if you want something really robust, click this link and check the latest price.

Factory monitor, backup camera integration

If your Jeep comes equipped with a factory monitor, which is the case with all 2-din radios and some 1-din, you will need an interface and a camera to integrate it into your OEM factory monitor.

Some car manufacturers can add factory-specific cameras that do not require an interface. Jeep Wrangler however, is not one of them.

Standalone monitor, backup camera integration

You can purchase and install a camera and standalone monitor when you cannot integrate a camera with your current stereo. 

Depending on the model, the monitor can range from 3inches to 10inches. What is even more excellent than that is you also get smartphone apps triggered when you put your vehicle into reverse, forcing the backup camera’s view onto your smartphone screen.  

Rearview mirror, backup camera integration

If you do not fancy an entire monitor or using your smartphone, you can also integrate a monitor into your rearview mirror. It is as easy as removing your old rearview monitor and replacing it with one that has a built-in monitor on the driver’s side.

You will have to purchase a backup camera and install it with the rearview mirror, as with all the other options, and the one I recommend is the EWAY with a 4,3″ anti-glare monitor in the mirror

If you do not like using a phone for the camera, you can check this one. It is the same wireless EWAY but with a separate 4,3″ LCD monitor.

Replacement stereo, backup camera integration

If none of the previous options are viable, or you just do not prefer any of them, then the last option is to replace your stereo with a new head unit that comes equipped with a display.

This way, you can integrate the new backup camera into your head unit, and you will have no other added elements or screens within your car.

Can I use the wireless backup camera in Jeep Wrangler?

Wires may not be for everyone, and technology is a far cry away from the days of the 1990s where you had CRT monitors and wires the thickness of your thumb.

Wireless technology is on the precipice of modern technology that allows you to get and install a wireless backup camera for your Jeep Wrangler. 

Furthermore, there is not just one option available. Many manufacturers have several options to choose from, and some of them offer various functions and convenient features, not just wireless video connectivity. 

Where is the best place to mount the backup camera on Jeep Wrangler?

The best place for the backup camera in most Jeep Wranglers is the area behind the spare wheel. 

Installing a camera behind the spare wheel is easy, and it guarantees a position close to the center of the vehicle, which is important for correct maneuvering. 

The actual camera pokes out through the spoke of the factory tire. If you have an aftermarket tire with different spokes, it should not be a problem because the EWAY camera I recommend has extra adjustments allowing you to position the camera with any aftermarket tire. 

Such a design is small, secure, and safe when place in this position on the Wrangler, and you will not have to worry about traversing any kind of rough terrain and damaging your backup camera. Also, cleaning it is straightforward even with high-pressure washing.

This type of camera will be small positioned in an area where it will be limited in receiving abuse from any kinds of stones or gravel.

Watch a short video below that will explain in detail how you should mount a backup camera behind the spare wheel in Jeep Wrangler JK:

When it comes to the camera placed on the license plate, I do not recommend mounting it in this area of your Jeep.

  • Firstly, because the license plate for most Wrangler models is installed at the bottom of the vehicle. That means it is more likely to get damaged if you take it offroad because it is more exposed. 
  • Secondly, the license plate in Wranglers is off-side, which means you may have difficulty seeing both sides of your Jeep in the same way, and that can affect maneuvering.

How do you hook up a backup camera?

Even though there are a few ways to integrate a backup camera into your Jeep Wrangler, each installation’s concept will typically be the same, with minor differences related to the screen type, for example.

The main steps require the following:

  • connecting the backup camera to power
  • routing the video signal to the display
  • connecting the reverse signal wire

A reverse signal wire is simply a wire that has a positive 12volt charge while the vehicle is in reverse. This wire needs to be connected to the display’s reverse trigger wire, which will then automatically switch the video source to view the backup camera’s image when the vehicle is in reverse. 

The most common place to find this reverse wire is at the back of the car behind the reverse lights. You can also find it in some aftermarket stereo wiring harnesses, but this is not a standard. 

Remember that some monitors may have signal sensing, which replaces the need for any trigger wires. Signal sensing works by detecting that there is a video signal and is commonly found in standalone backup camera kits and mirror monitors. 

To power the camera, you will tap into the vehicle’s reverse light positive and negative wires while at the same time connecting a wire for the reverse trigger to the reverse light positive wire.

Connected to the reverse light wires, you have to the front of the vehicle connecting them to the monitor. This method keeps the camera powered only when the car is in reverse.

If you would like to view the backup camera’s image any time you want, you will need to connect the camera to a switched or accessory source.

The accessory source can be anything powered by 12 volts and can be turned on and off with the car keys, for example:

  • stereo power
  • fuse box
  • ignition
  • cigarette lighter

This is the only difference between this type of setup and therefore, the reverse trigger connection and the video signal will be the same as before. 

One important thing to note is that this is the method no matter what camera or the head unit you have.

If you need a visual aid and are looking for an installation video, check out these specific Jeep Wranglers’ installation videos. Do note that your model and backup camera may vary.

What size of the radio can I install in Jeep Wrangler?

Determining what size your Wrangler needs is pretty straightforward. Actually, you can replace your Wrangler stock radio with a variety of either Single Din (2inch tall) head units or Double Din (4inch tall) head units. 

One thing to note is that replacing the stereo requires the removal of a fair amount of the dashboard. However, it is nothing that needs to be done by a professional, and you should be able to handle this replacement all by yourself.

A Single Din unit will be relatively easy to install, and you will require a custom mounting bracket to do so. The Double Din unit’s installation will be slightly more complicated, and you will need to remove the metal support bracket located behind the receiver. 

You will also need to trim the bar at the top of the dash opening. This is to create more room for the Double Din head unit to fit. You are also able to purchase kits that can help you achieve your end overall goal.

Do remember, though, that they might have to be adjusted to a degree for them to fit. Below you will find available on Amazon dash installation kits that will fit your older Jeep Wrangler model. 

  • Installation kits for Single Din:

Wrangler 1997 – 2002

Wrangler 2003 – 2006

Wrangler 2007 – 2016

  • Installation kits for Double Din:

Wrangler 1997 – 2002

Wrangler 2003 – 2006

Which is the best touch screen radio with a backup camera for Jeep wrangler?

For most of us term “best” is relative and can mean different things. It could be the best value for money or the best touch screen with specific features.

It could also mean the best Single or Double Din unit. However, I have not taken any of these factors into consideration. 

The only factor that I am considering is that I wanted to find the best touch screen radio for under $1000 that had all the bells and whistles so you would never be caught wanting and wondering for another unit again. But is there such a radio that can cover all the needs? 

I went through many models from the top reputable brands, and I have found one radio with everything I want. 

It is a STINGER-STH10JK Stereo Replacement 10-Inch Touchscreen Radio.

This replacement touchscreen radio for your Jeep wrangler (2011 – 2018) has and does it all. It has a stunning 10inch screen and has all the features you will ever need from a head unit.

These features include an interface that retains your factory Wrangler steering wheel controls:

  • OEM antenna adapter
  • custom-fit dash kit
  • dual USB ports.

In addition to that, it comes fully equipped with HDMI, GPS, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and is ready for SiriusXM. From an audiophile point of view, Stinger offers a six-channel amplifier with separate subwoofer output and a 14 band amplifier which is great for anyone who wants to customize the sound without purchasing an external equalizer or sound processor.

Most importantly though, it has a camera input and not just for one, but four cameras!!! That is right, and you can install a front camera, backup camera, and side cameras. 

Another feature that is optional and sold separately is the GPS navigation system (SE-P14), but don’t let this be a deal-breaker.

If you are considering a new head unit that will support your entire sound system, navigation, and cameras, don’t even bother looking at any other stereo because it will pale compared to the Stinger-STH10JK. You can check it on Amazon now.

Conclusion

Now you know that Jeep wranglers and all other vehicles, for that matter only, were enforced by law in 2018 to have backup cameras. Subsequently, before this, cameras were not a factory standard in Wrangler models.

This means you have to purchase and install an aftermarket backup camera. There is nothing wrong with doing this, and there are four ways in which this could be made possible; all of them vary slightly to fit the driver’s personality.

One great thing about living in today’s digital world is that the installation process of these cameras and interfaces and even head units have become simpler and simpler. That means you do not require a professional and can do it even if you have the slimmest DIY abilities. 

Finally, I laid out a step-by-step general guideline of how to install a backup camera and gave you my pick of the best replacement touch screen I could find for your Wrangler.

All in all, you should now have the know-how and hopefully the camera and head unit to replace your old stereo and install a backup camera.

Martin

Welcome to ImproveCarAudio! I am Martin, and I love to write about everything related to car sound systems. I strive to provide the most accurate and helpful information about car audio through extensive research, as well as my experience with car audio installations.

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