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Aftermarket backup sensors?

My wife and I have become huge fans of backup sensors, and each have them on the cars we drive. We are about to buy a used car (a Honda Civic) for out teenage daughter to drive and we’ve come to understand that Honda never made factory backup sensors for the Civic. We think we might like to get an aftermarket set installed when we buy a used Civic.

Does anyone have a experience adding backup sensors to a car where it was not a factory option? Any lessons learned you can pass along?

Many thanks in advance.

Sorry, but I have no experience with the device about which you enquire.

Maybe I’m missing something, but what are “back-up sensors,” and are they standard equipment on certain vehicles?

Next question; what is the size of the vehicle(s) upon which such a thing is standard equipment?

When I “back up” in any vehicle I’ve ever driven, the only “sensor” I’ve ever had has been my eyes, and my ability to perceive the distance between my vehicle and the vehicle behind it.

Is there something else?

If so, wow(!), but why? Can’t you judge the corners on your cars? What are you driving?

And even if your cars are exceptionally large (Bently Mulsanne?), what’s up with the Civic? ANYONE should be able to back up in a Civic, without any help, and not hit whatever might be behind the car. If your daughter can’t do that, perhaps she shouldn’t be driving.

For that matter, if YOU can’t do that, perhaps you shouldn’t be driving.

Many cars come with backup sensors. Some cars are easier to see behind than others, big or small. Few, if any, cars let you see everything behind you that is shorter than the trunk lid height. Some cars also have rear-view cameras. Of course, you can get by without it. But, it is another safety device that does help sometimes. Why be opposed to it?

A high end audio store could probably fix you right up.

I think the sensors may be standard equipment on some more expensive luxury vehicles, but on the Honda Pilot and Honda CRV, with which I have experience, they were options. The sensors use a kind of ‘radar’ to detect objects that are behind you that you may not have seen. It could be that you didn’t see it, as suggested by others, because the item was lower and closer than you can see (the worst case scenario here is “child on tricycle,” but more commonly think “low dark post” at the end of the dimly lit parking space you are backing into, or something similar). Of course, they will also beep when the object is “huge concrete pillar at end of parking space” that you should have seen, perhaps saving you from a jostle or cosmetic damage.

The sensors we have beep at a different pace depending on the distance behind you an object is relative to your car. So at 8 feet you get a beep with a wider interval, that interval shortens when you get to 4 feet, and at 2 feet a solid tone sounds. This can make parking your car up against a wall, or simply parallel parking, easier and more precise.

Like you I drove for years with the eyes only approach, but have found the sensors valuable and convenient. One simple scenario: I sometimes back my CRV up to the garage door of my home. By using the sensors and pulling very slowly to the beginning of the ‘solid tone’ distance, the car comes to rest about 2.5 feet from the garage door. As it turns out, the house provides enough of a rain shadow that at that distance on a rainy day one can open the garage door, then the CRV’s back door (which on the CRV swings to the right, and therefore doesn’t provide it’s own rain cover like a car would where the hatch opens ‘up’), such that I can stand in the garage and unload groceries and the like without standing in the rain. Life changing? No. Convenient? Yes.

If you ever have a chance to drive a car with them, you may like them as well. I once rented a car at National that turned out to have a set.

Some manufacturers, like BMW, also offer sensors in the front, with data from the sensors showing on a small screen in the car that also displays the map when using the navigation system. In the same way, you get a sense of how close your are too each object nearby. Maybe not critical to all drivers, but if you regularly park in a garage with a lot of posts in it, like we had at my former office, or in narrow spaces, you again might find this a nice feature.

For anyone who is interested, when driving cars at Carmax this weekend, I found that they offered an aftermarket solution from Audiovox as an option for $359 installed. I’m not sure, but they could be these:

I am going to seek out a stereo installer, as suggested by oldschool, and see if they will install this or a comparable system (I did not buy a car at Carmax, or I would have had them do it). When I have it done, I’ll update this item.

mcparadise: I hope you appreciate my considered response to your post. I don’t mean to patronize or ridicule you, but to provide a thoughtful answer to your questions. Perhaps you will extend the same courtesy to others in the future.