Man talking(L+r), Mechanic working on engine(c)

4 PM production/Shutterstock @thetoplessmechanic/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘I’m not doing anything sketchy’: Mechanic calls out driver for leaving cabin camera on during repair. Is that legal?

‘I’m a tech, I disconnect every time.’


Stacy Fernandez


No offense to the good mechanics out there, but a lot of people don’t trust mechanics right away.

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Instead, customers worry the mechanic will make them pay for a service they didn’t need, overcharge them, or purposefully damage the car to drum up more business.

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Are in-vehicle cameras the solution to preventing this trickery? People are divided.

While backup cameras to help with parking have become standard in many new vehicles, some drivers have taken to adding their own additional surveillance on their car in the form of dash cams and cabin cameras.

A dash cam is usually mounted on a car’s dashboard or rearview mirror and continuously records the outside view of the road. They’re helpful in the case that you get into an accident and need evidence of what happened. One will run you about $40 to $150.

Cabin cameras on the other hand record what’s happening on the inside of a car. While this can also be helpful in the case of an accident, it tends to be used more by taxi and rideshare drivers for their own security. One will run you about $100 to $200.

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Popular TikTok mechanic Jose Lazo (@thetoplessmechanic), says mechanics might have mixed reactions when they see one of these while doing a repair.

“Nowadays, almost every technician has ran into this problem already. Every car nowadays usually has a camera that at least faces outwards. Most even now record inside to who’s driving and what’s going on inside,” Lazo says in a viral clip.

But he wonders if mechanics should be allowed to disconnect these cameras during repairs so that they can get some privacy.

“And if you’re a customer, how would you feel if the technician that was servicing your vehicle or performed a service disconnected your camera?” he asks.

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It turns out that some customers really look back at footage of their mechanics working on their cars. There’s a whole subset of YouTube videos to prove it when you search up “mechanic caught on dash cam.” These videos include a mechanic taking a joyride in a customer’s vehicle, one allegedly breaking a customer’s car, and another internationally delaying service.

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And on the issue of legality, while you’re allowed to record on public property, like the road, vehicle owners technically need permission to record inside the shop since it’s private property, ShopOwnerMag explained. This is especially applicable if the cam records audio since laws vary from state to state about whether you need the person’s consent to record their voice.

The TikTok video that sparked this debate has hundreds of thousands of views and nearly 3,000 comments.

@thetoplessmechanic What do you do? #technician #shop #mechanic #repair #fyp #camera #greenscreen ♬ original sound – The Topless Mechanic
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“I’m a tech I disconnect every time. The shop talk is not for customers,” a person pointed out.

“If you’re unhooking the camera so you can do your job without being watched. I probably wouldn’t use you again. I’ve had things missing from dealerships and tow truck drivers before,” a driver wrote.

“My camera saved me buying 4 new tires because when the tech drove my car he hit a brick in the road causing the sidewall of a tire to separate, they tried to blame it on me, I showed camera footage,” a commenter shared.

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“I don’t care if it is there or not. I don’t touch it unless the repair requires it. Might make faces at it from time to time,” a mechanic said.

The Daily Dot reached out to Lazo for comment via Instagram direct message.

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