Why is my backup camera screen black?

April 4th, 2023 by

Back in 2018, a law was passed requiring all automakers to have backup cameras in their new cars, trucks, and SUVs. This law was designed to reduce the chances of drivers getting into accidents when they put their vehicles in reverse. But a backup camera isn’t going to do you much good if its screen is black when you need to use it. So, if you’ve been wondering why your backup camera isn’t working when you attempt to use it, you need to figure out the reason right away.

In some cases, your backup camera screen might be black because the company that installed it might not have set it up properly. However, there could also be other reasons for it. Find out about a few of them below.

Something Is Covering the Lens for Your Backup Camera

Dashboard of a car with the backup camera turned on

If you put your car in reverse to back out of a parking spot and get a black backup camera screen, you might not have a serious issue on your hands. It could be black simply because something is blocking the lens of the camera. Dirt, mud, or even a leaf could land on the lens and stop it from sending a clear picture to your backup camera screen. You should be able to remedy this situation by jumping out of your car and cleaning the lens of the camera.

The Lens for Your Backup Camera Is Broken

If you have a relatively new vehicle, the backup camera lens should be fully functioning. However, if you’ve been involved in any type of accident involving the back of your car, then it could have done some damage to your backup camera lens, leading to a black screen. In this case, you’ll need to either replace or repair your backup camera lens so that it can start working like it’s supposed to.

Another Piece of Hardware for Your Backup Camera Is Damaged

In addition to your backup camera lens and screen, there are a few other pieces of hardware that are associated with your backup camera system that can go down and cause problems. For instance, you might have a damaged stabilizer on your hands that can lead to your screen not displaying a clear picture. You’ll want to check up on all your individual backup camera components to see whether you’ll need to replace any to get your screen working as it should.

The Wires Connecting Your Backup Camera Lens to Your Screen Are Loose

Your backup camera screen and your backup camera lens are on two separate ends of your vehicle. Because of this, there are wires that run from one to the other so that your lens can send images and videos to your screen. If a third party installs your backup camera, they might not be certain about how to install a backup camera successfully. This could result in these wires getting crossed and not sending any images or videos at all. These wires could also become loose over time and stop working properly.

There Is a Software Issue With Your Backup Camera Screen

Software is installed in your backup camera screen that allows it to display images and videos on the screen for you. When you first buy a car, this software will work just fine. But you might need to update it over the coming months and years because otherwise, it might not work properly. And even if you do update it, you still might have to deal with software issues from time to time that could affect your ability to use your screen.

Your Backup Camera Screen Has Experienced a Power Failure

If the screen that you use for your backup camera isn’t working at all, it might not have power going to it. A power failure can occur due to issues with the wiring for your backup camera screen. It can also occur for any number of other reasons. If your screen doesn’t have power, you won’t be able to get a picture to show up on it without fixing this situation. You’ll need to get a professional to help you restore power to your backup camera screen ASAP.

Condensation Has Damaged Your Backup Camera Screen

In some rare instances, condensation might be able to work its way inside your backup camera screen and cause trouble. As you might imagine, you shouldn’t ever mix electronics and moisture and expect things to go well. If you have reason to believe that your backup camera screen might have condensation in it, it might be damaged beyond repair, and you might need to replace it.

Troubleshooting a Black Backup Camera Screen

As you can see, there are all kinds of potential problems that can leave you wondering, “Why is my backup camera not working?” Here’s what you should do to try to get to the bottom of the issue:

  • Inspect your backup camera lens for any signs of damage.
  • Clean your backup camera lens.
  • See if you can tighten up the connections between your backup camera lens and screen.
  • Read the owner’s manual for your vehicle for additional information on troubleshooting backup camera issues.

You’re also more than welcome to drive your car down to a local car dealership to have your backup camera system looked at. A trained technician should be able to pinpoint the problem with your backup camera and repair it.

Having Trouble With Your Backup Camera? Let Us Help You

If your backup camera isn’t working in your car, truck, or SUV, it might be difficult for you to figure out the reason why. If you aren’t able to diagnose the issue, Cochran Cars is here to help you. Our service center can lend you a hand and make sure your backup camera is working when you drive your vehicle off our lot.

Cochran Cars in Youngstown, Ohio, can also provide you with many other auto repair and maintenance services. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your vehicle.


Reverse camera by Josh McConnell is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0

Posted in General, Service