Whether you’re after added peace of mind during close-quarters maneuvering of your car or truck or you share a vehicle with a younger or less-experienced driver, options are nearly limitless when it comes to electronic products that help prevent accidental dings, scrapes, and accidents during parking.
More new vehicles than ever arrive from the factory with some form of parking assist system, but many models still do not—and the older the vehicle you drive, the less likely it is to have any sort of parking-assist tech on board.
Below, we’ll look at several aftermarket parking assist systems available to easily add protection and assistance when it’s time to park your car, truck, or crossover. Most of the products listed here are designed for easy retrofit to just about any vehicle for relatively cheap. If you want to learn more about parking sensors, use the table of contents to navigate.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Pick: EKYLIN Reverse Backup Radar System
- 2. Striker Adjustable Garage Parking Sensor
- 3. Accfly Rear View Camera with Parking Sensors
- 4. ePath 8-Sensor System
- 5. Frostory Car Parking Sensor System
- What is a Parking Sensor?
- How does a Parking Sensor Work?
- Can I Add Parking Sensors to my Car?
- What Kind Of Parking System do I Need?
- Professional Help?
1. Editor's Pick: EKYLIN Reverse Backup Radar System
Simple, affordable and easy to install, the EKYLIN reverse backup radar system is ideal for shoppers after added parking protection without the fuss of more complex or pricier systems. Four radar sensors are included, as is a system computer module and visual display unit. The external bumper-mounted parking sensors are available in a variety of popular colors for discreet installation via an included hole-saw.
Sensors connect to the system computer module, which can be hidden beneath the dashboard or under a seat. The visual display is connected to the same module before being mounted in a location where the driver can easily monitor their proximity to nearby objects as they park.
Owner reviews are generally positive, and many note that the installation instructions are easy to understand and comprehensive. Some owners have reported receiving the incorrect color for their sensors though, so check the packaging when your system arrives. You’ll also want to determine if the EKYLIN Reverse Backup Radar System includes long enough sensor wiring for your specific application before attempting an install.
2. Striker Adjustable Garage Parking Sensor
Here’s a great product for helping drivers to park their vehicle in tight quarters at home — particularly in a smaller garage. This parking sensor is mounted to the wall in your garage, not your vehicle. It’s ideal for those who have no trouble parking while they’re out and about, but who may need extra help in avoiding bumping the rear wall of their home garage.
The Striker Adjustable Garage Parking Sensor mounts to the wall of your garage in minutes with included Velcro and double-sided tape. The unit includes a small sensor module that’s connected to an LED light.
After installation, owners simply park the vehicle where they want it, position the sensor at bumper level, and install the light where it’s visible from the driver’s seat. From then on, upon entering the garage, a green light tells them its safe to proceed, a yellow light tells them to slow down, and a red light tells them to stop at their pre-defined safe distance from the garage wall.
With adjustability between 6 inches and 6 feet, and built-in courtesy walkway lighting installed, this compact product packs a great set of features for shoppers who only need parking assistance at home.
Some owner reviews suggest that the Velcro mounting tabs may be insufficient, and some have used other more secure ways of mounting the sensor and light.
3. Accfly Rear View Camera with Parking Sensors
Affordable, high-tech, and feature rich, this product from Accfly provides optimal confidence in close-quarters maneuvering at an affordable price. Combining visual and audible warnings, it features a backup camera display embedded into a rearview mirror. When drivers engage reverse gear, they benefit from a wide-angle view out the rear of their vehicle displayed on the hidden screen in the rearview mirror. At the rear of the vehicle, the camera module is small enough for discreet mounting and features night-vision capability.
Radar sensors tie into the system, providing audible proximity alerts and an on-screen distance display that helps drivers park even more precisely. Owner reviews note that the included rearview mirror is of high quality, and that instructions are clear and concise.
All wiring and connectors are included with the kit, though professional installation is worth consideration as this advanced system features multiple components that need to be installed, wired up, and connected to the system’s computer brain. Owners that have self-installed this product report that it takes about an hour with proper tools and know-how.
4. ePath 8-Sensor System
For full forward and rear-facing parking assistance at an affordable price, consider the ePath 8-Sensor Parking system with display monitor. The 8 included sensors are highly waterproof, mounted into the vehicle’s bumper (four in front, four in the rear), and connected to a central module that outputs to a dash-mounted display. Unlike many other parking sensor systems, this 8-sensor system provides proximity detection from both the front and rear of the vehicle.
Real-time distance alerts from both front and rear provide audible and on-screen warnings via the back-lit LED display. Special anti-interference circuitry prevents false alarms and improves accuracy. The external sensors are available in 3 colors for discreet looks, though professional installation is advised for most applications since drilling and wiring connections are required.
The system automatically engages rear-facing detection when reverse gear is engaged, and forward obstacle detection is engaged whenever the vehicle brakes—though the system stays silent until an obstacle is detected.
5. Frostory Car Parking Sensor System
The Frostory parking sensor system is one of the more affordable kits on our list, but it’s also one of the more basic. The sensors are available in four different colors: black, gray, red, and white, which is nice if you want something that matches the exterior of your car. Expect this kit to detect obstacles up to 8.2 feet away with its water-resistant sensors that can operate in nearly any weather condition.
It’s a basic package that’s easy to install with audible beeps that get progressively more repetitive as you near an object.
Owners do complain about the product’s poor instruction manuals and for truck owners, the wiring may be a bit short, so you’ll have to get creative with installation. The included hole saw is also designed for plastic bumpers, so if you’re needing to cut metal, you’ll have to get something else for the job.
What is a Parking Sensor?
Parking sensors are one part of a wide range of parking assist systems available to today’s drivers. Generally, parking sensors or parking assist systems use camera or radar-based information to alert drivers when they’re closing in on an object they may not be able to see while parking— like a tall curb, a lamppost, shopping cart, a nearby bicycle or scooter, or another parked car. Using lights, sounds, a camera-driven image, or some combination of the above, parking sensors give drivers an extra set of electronic eyes that’s constantly watching the vehicle’s surroundings to help maintain full situational awareness at all times.
Some parking sensor systems solely use radar transmitters, others use cameras, and others still use a combination of the two.
How does a Parking Sensor Work?
Parking sensors take many shapes and sizes, and numerous models pack added functionality and enhanced features to help keep drivers, their vehicles, and their surroundings safe. In simple terms, most parking sensor systems emit invisible radar waves, which reflect off of nearby objects and back to the sensors. The reflection of these radar signals is analyzed in the system’s computer brain, which helps generate a three-dimensional view of the vehicle’s surroundings. Analysis of the signals allows the system to quickly determine the proximity of nearby objects, and an alert is issued as the vehicle gets closer to a detected obstacle. With most systems, a sequence of audible or visual signals helps drivers quickly visualize where the object is, and how close it is.
Typically, a parking sensor system has two parts: the sensors, and the driver interface. Sensors are usually mounted to the vehicle’s exterior or in a location where they have a clear view outward, and the interface is within the driver’s line of sight—typically suction-mounted to the windscreen, attached to the dashboard, or fixed just beneath the rearview mirror. Other solutions are available—with some parking sensor systems even replacing the vehicle’s rearview mirror for a cleaner look.
Can I Add Parking Sensors to my Car?
The simple answer is yes, since many manufacturers have developed clever ways to enable quick, seamless and discreet installation of the parking sensor components to virtually all vehicles. Just do your homework first. Check online owner’s forums for ideas on how to install a parking sensor system to your specific vehicle, and check with the system manufacturer to ensure that the system will fit properly and is fully compatible with your car or truck.
Can the system be installed discreetly so it’s hardly visible from the exterior? Where will the interface and display (if applicable) be located, and how will it be powered? Is any drilling or wiring required? Should you consider professional installation? These are just some of the important questions to ask before you decide which parking system is right for you.
What Kind Of Parking System do I Need?
The answer to this question depends on many factors — though we’d recommend setting a price limit and reading product descriptions and reviews of the parking sensor system options within that price range. Generally, going for top-of-the-line is best: if it’s in your budget, many high-end systems have added functionalities that provide a higher degree of protection from close-quarters impacts. A system that combines both camera and radar sensing is best for most drivers, as it provides a more detailed view of the vehicle’s surroundings.
On the other side of the spectrum, simpler systems are highly affordable, easier to install, and often require minimal wiring or hassle for installation. Some fixed systems are even available for mounting in your garage or parking space, not the vehicle itself, making it easier to avoid bumps when trying to park a large vehicle into a small home or cottage garage.
Use caution when planning to install your parking sensor system. Any system that requires modification or splicing into existing vehicle wiring should be installed by a professional for maximum peace of mind. Same goes with any system that requires drilling into the vehicle’s bumpers for installation of the parking sensors or wiring.
Follow all instructions carefully, and be sure that all wiring connections and fasteners are secure and soundly installed. If in doubt, a professional install shop can handle the job for you quickly, helping ensure a long and worry-free life from your product.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.
Photo credit: CC7 / Shutterstock.com