Where Is the Best Place to Mount a Radar Detector?by Andrew Rothmund
Choosing the right mounting location can make the difference between a working radar detector and a faulty one. The consequences of the latter can be expensive. Choosing the best method for your budget is key to fully utilizing your radar detector.
Low Windshield Mounting
This is the most common place to mount your radar detector -- right above where the middle of your dashboard meets the middle of your windshield. An advantage is that the radar detector's power cord doesn't have to travel through your line of sight. However, most radar detector manufacturers recommending mounting as high as possible, so the detector can better pick up radar signals. This type of mounting always utilizes suction cups -- they allow for easy removal, but can sometimes come unstuck when the temperature changes.
High Windshield Mounting
If you mount your radar detector high up, near the top of your windshield, it will have a better "view" of the surroundings. However, you will have to run the power cord up through your line of sight, which may be dangerous, or even illegal in some communities.
Some radar detector manufacturers sell mounts that slip onto your sun visors. These mounts have been more or less discontinued, though, because most cars have tinting on the top part of the windshield, making it more difficult for the radar detector to pick up signals. Also, running a cord up to your visor may be a serious safety and comfort issue.
It's possible to buy and install mounts that secure directly to your dashboard. Most of the time this requires disassembly of your front console and some drilling. This will provide your radar detector with a decent view of the road, and will also eliminate the need for those sometimes-pesky suction cups.
Having a dealer or auto shop add a hardwire is usually the cleanest, safest and most effective way of mounting your radar detector. It may cost in the $100 range, depending on your car, but you can have a power cord exiting the liner surrounding the windshield anywhere you like. This allows you to mount the radar detector up high, where it can "see" best, and eliminates the need of the sight-blocking power cord. Also, if desired, you can have the radar detector turn off with the car. That way you'll never forget to plug it in before driving, or need to unplug it when you're not.
People who want the most hidden and seamless installation will spend hundreds of dollars to have a custom body shop integrate the radar detector directly into the car's environment. Many people have a custom readout installed directly behind the steering wheel, with the sensors installed in the grille of the car. This usually requires custom-made parts and hours of labor. It is the most advantageous installation method, albeit the most expensive.