Where To Mount Radar Detector To Ensure Best Performance

If you’re driving a vehicle of your own you should be aware of radar detectors, especially if you don’t like to get pulled up for speeding tickets. A radar detector will help you become more aware of speeding violations while you focus on the road. 

A radar detector will also make you aware of any obstacle on the road which might be producing radar waves like law-enforcement authorities, construction areas, as well as EMTs meant for providing assistance to other drivers on the road. However, not much people know where to mount radar detectors to ensure best performance. This post aims to help you to find out.

This gadget works by identifying any invisible radar wave present in the environment that can measure the speed of your automobile. 

When these radio waves have been detected by the radar detector, you’ll be provided with audio as well as visual notification to help you decide your subsequent action (for instance, whether you ought to accelerate or not). 


Why the Mounting Location Matters?

where to mount radar detector

The place where the radar detector is mounted will play a crucial role in terms of its performance. In case the question arises in your mind: “Do radar detectors need line of sight?” the answer is yes. It is a fact that these devices do function by a line of sight which implies that it ought to be capable of “viewing” the signal for easy identification. 

However, any obstacle on the way can block, reduce or even deflect the laser beam or the incoming signal so the detector is not able to see it. It is perhaps important to point the device in the signal’s direction for easy detection. This is applicable more in case of a radar signal rather than laser beam. The reason for this is while laser beam is usually quite narrow, the radar signals are typically broad in nature.

It is important to bear in mind that the detector will not be able to inform you about the location of the signal in case it cannot locate it properly. Consequently, you should make it a point to position the detector appropriately so as to enhance its efficiency.


Mounting Radar Detector on the Windshield

Preferred Height for Radar Identification 

Generally speaking, the performance of the device will be enhanced by mounting it at a higher elevation. Although, it will not make a huge difference experts are of the view that a higher placement will enable the detector to detect radar waves more efficiently in case anything like vehicles are obstructing the signal.

Preferred Height for Laser Identification

I think that it will be a better idea to mount the device at a lower elevation on the windshield which will help enhance its performance significantly. The reason for this is it will be much closer to the headlights as well as the grill area and we all know that laser is nothing but a thin as well as small beam of light. 

Nevertheless, despite mounting the detector at a lower elevation and in case the device goes off while the vehicle is captured by the traffic camera the officer has already recorded his speed before the driver gets alerted by the detector, which fails the mission.

For this reason, I believe that it will be a sensible idea to make use of a laser jammer so as to combat laser as well as enhance the efficiency of the radar detector significantly in terms of identifying radar.

Windshield VS Grill

Apart from these 2 above-mentioned mounting locations, we can even custom install it at any place in the vehicle’s grill. This would be my ideal option in case you prefer to go for a concealed and clean installation. 

For instance, my vehicle features a windshield that obstructs the signal making it difficult to pass through conveniently. Next, I am going to highlight some conventional windshield mounting locations.


Where to Mount Radar Detector for Best Results - The Comparisons

Now, let us find out the best places to mount a radar detector for best results. In fact, you need to consider several aspects in case you are thinking of the preferred location for mounting the detector. Below, we will discuss the process as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each location.

1. Mounting the Detector Low on the Windshield

Pros

  • It will be possible for me to run a power cable to my cigarette lighter down my dashboard without obstructing my visibility

  • I can be assured of an easy as well as convenient mounting location
  • It will appear much better on the camera in case I would like to make any YouTube video. Plus, I can also mount a GoPro very easily on top of it while watching the road as well as the RD in front of me
  • The best location when it comes to laser detection

Cons

  • In case I run a power cable down my dashboard, it will not look attractive. Additionally, it can also obstruct the display as well as stereo buttons

  • Reduced range in terms of radar detection
  • Thieves will be able to view the detector very easily in case I leave it on the windshield of my vehicle when it is parked
  • The wipers of my car can also obscure laser and radar signals
  • There is also the possibility of suction cup mount (these are actually marks left on the windshield after removal of the mount) which can be too inviting for the thieves out there
  • In case my windshield is angled steeply, there is a possibility of the detector to be much ahead of me which will make it difficult to alter the settings, access the mute button, and even mount and dismount the detector as and when required

2. Mounting the Detector at a Higher Elevation by the Rear View Mirror

Pros

  • Best way to detect radar

  • Appropriate mounting location
  • Clean and convenient installation
  • I can reach the detector easily
  • There is no possibility of any unattractive cable running down my windshield or dashboard when hardwired
  • The location where the detector is installed will make it very difficult for any thieves to locate it

Cons

  • Initially I might have to work a bit harder especially if I prefer using any hardwire cable for a clean installation

  • In case I do not hardwire, an unattractive power cable will be running right up to the windshield
  • There will be a reduction in laser detection abilities due to the fact that the position of the RD is far from the headlights as well as the grill area
  • In case I like to make any YouTube video it will be difficult for me to mount a camera for viewing the display provided by the detector (for this reason, I usually tend to mount the detector high in real life and low while making YouTube videos) 

3. Mounting the Detector in the Middle of the Windshield

We are often recommended by the manufacturers of radar detectors to mount the device at the center of the windshield which will help to find a middle ground between the low and high mounting options. 

At times, the question arises in mind on whether the manufactures are suggesting us to do this to ensure that everybody will be able to locate their product. However, some states in the US may have strict law forbidding any attachment of electronic devices to the windshield.

Pros

  • Mounting the device at the center of the windshield will make it more accessible than if I would’ve mounted it at the lower elevation near the wipers

Cons

  • It will block my visibility

  • I will not be able to perform a clean installation
  • The center of the windshield is a compromised location when it comes to laser as well as radar detection
  • Can be visible to the thieves

4. Mounting the Detector Beneath the Rearview Mirror

I have seen these types of mounting positions in those states where it is not legal to mount electronic appliances (such as radar detectors, phone mounts, GPS, and so on) to the windshield of any vehicle.

Otherwise, it will also be usable for those individuals who like to go for a cleaner installation or those who do not like to work with suction tubes that will stop functioning in the long run.

Pros

  • Mounting the device under the rear view mirror would be a fantastic option in case it is not legitimate to mount it to a windshield with suction cups

  • There is no reason for me to be concerned about suction cups failing to deliver the goods in the due course of time
  • The installation will be clean as well as professional looking
  • It will be possible for me to power my RD directly from my powered RVM

Cons

  • I would need to shell out more money for an additional mount

  • My visibility can be partly blocked by the detector, especially if my vehicle is compact in size
  • Needs additional installation (although it might not be that difficult)

5. Custom Installed Remote Mount in the Grill

There is another option for me in case I do not want to mount anything on my windshield at all. In that case, I can go for a remote mount detector which can be custom installed in the grill area. Although this process can be somewhat pricey and might require assistance from the experts, it would result in a cleaner looking installation. 

Moreover, I’ve come across some vehicles featuring windshields which do not allow radar signals to pass through them. These types of windshields can be those which feature metallic coatings or which are heated windshields.

Pros

  • This option will be a sensible one in case my windshield blocks the normal operation of a detector

  • There are facilities for concealed installations
  • No mounts or radar detector on the windshield
  • Thieves will not be able to view the detector whatsoever
  • It will be possible for me to integrate the detector along with a laser jammer as well

Cons

  • Remote radar detectors can be more costly as compared to windshield mounts

  • It has to be installed professionally which might cost you money as well as time
  • I can do the installation on my own, but it will take time as well
  • It will be more difficult for me to upgrade or modify any system


Final Thought

After going through this article on where to mount radar detector, it must be now clear to you whether you should mount radar detector high or low. The ideal spot will depend on your vehicle’s design including the height as well as the length of the hood. However, in general, it will be prudent to mount the detector at a low elevation either from the dashboard or the windshield.

And in case it happens to be a dash mount it will be sensible to come closer to the windshield so as to optimize the line of sight while minimizing any obtrusive obstructions as well.

Despite the fact that mounting the detector at a lower level is going to make the radar range short, it will not matter much given that it will help to enhance laser detection to a great extent. Apart from this, make sure not to allow the detector to point upward or downward.

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