When trying to decide on accessory lighting for your car, truck, van, RV, motorcycle, or boat, sometimes it’s difficult to decide what is the best choice for your particular ride. Whether you’ve decided on neon, incandescent, or LED for car lights, there are a few considerations to take into consideration before making a purchase. Here’s a few things that might help you make the right decision:
Interior vehicle lighting is a great way to add style to your ride, and there are a ton of options out there. However, nobody wants to order a light kit that they know nothing about, so it’s important that you look at some details of the product you’re considering.
1. Single Color Or RGB?
Before you ever confirm a purchase, make sure you look carefully at the color of the lights you’re buying. RGB stands for “Red, Blue, Green”, it is a form of LED that makes use of the 3 color spectrum to produce a varying array of hues, and is most often adjustable to give you exactly the color you want for the mood you’re trying to set.
If you’re set on a specific color for your interior however, single color lighting is usually a little more cost effective, and no less impressive.
2. Wire Length
Make sure to double check the specifications on your LED light strip purchase to be certain the wires that run from the light controller to the strips themselves will be long enough to reach to the farthest point you plan on lighting. This is a simple oversight for a lot of people, and nothing is more annoying than mounting your controller under the hood only to find out that you can’t reach the back dash with your lights!
Easiest way to make sure is to grab your tape measure and simply measure from the front wheel well to the back wheel well, then add a couple of feet to the measurement, (to account for various bends and angles when you are running the wires).
In the event that the product isn’t long enough, it is a wise idea to keep a roll of wire around in case you need to splice some extra length onto your lead wires.
This is an important one to look into, as lights inside your wheel wells will be exposed to various stresses that provide ideal conditions for the lights to fail. Moisture, vibration, projectile debris, and temperature all play a big role in how long your lights are going to last you.
If you are primarily a city driver, (only street driving, no dirt roads or mudholes), then you can probably get away with the LED strips, as long as they are in a waterproof coating or casing. The benefit of the strips in the wheel wells is that you will get a more even, full light that will really make your rims stand out.
However, if you often have to drive down the backroads, where dirt and rocks are constantly being slung up into the wheel wells, it’s probably a wise idea to have lights that can handle a little bit of abuse. “Rock Lights” are becoming the answer for this, as they are in a strong, waterproof housing that can be easily mounted to the top of the wheel well.
While they only produce light from a single point, most of the rock lights I’ve seen are still very effective in creating the illusion of a wheel well full of light. Generally, you can only tell the difference if a car with rock lights is sitting next to one with strip lights, and you’d have to know what you were looking for.
Personally, I recommend the LED rock lights over the strips for wheel wells for ANY vehicle, as they still give the effect you’re after, but are much more durable in the long run. (Also easier to clean when they get muddy!)
Underglow Body Kits
Many of the same considerations come into play with the underbody lighting as with the wheel wells, such as the moisture and vibration they will be exposed to. You’ll want to make sure that the kit you end up buying is well waterproofed and shock-resistant.
If you’re trying to save yourself a little money, it’s always an option to buy the naked light strips and use clear shrink wrap to waterproof them yourself, though I don’t recommend it. That’s just a lot of extra work, and if you aren’t quite a professional, it could end up still leaking and shorting out your lights.
Also, considering that there ARE so many different choices for underglow kits now, you’ll want to weigh actual customer reviews on the product you’re considering to see what some pro’s and cons are. I personally prefer Amazon for product reviews, as they have a solid 5-star rating system, and they show verified purchases on the reviews people write to let you know they aren’t company bots just trying to sell you a junk product.
For grille lights, the biggest considerations are temperature, (they will be mounted near a running engine, it gets warm when you’re sitting still), and WIND, (if you’re driving 70 mph, that’s a pretty substantial amount of wind vibration hitting your lights). Due to these stresses, you will want to order heavier-duty light strips for your grille, and make sure they are sealed for waterproofing.
Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, installation of these awesome lights can prove to be a little tricky. Many times, in order to get the lighting strips in a discreet location in the grille, certain parts may need to be removed, either under the hood or on the front.
Keep this in mind before you order your new grille lights, as it can be frustrating to get your lights in the mail only to find out that you have to tear apart your car to install them.
Let’s say you have a really clean engine, and can’t help but think that you need a better light on it than the single factory bulb that came with the car. LED light strips can really make even a stock engine compartment look AWESOME, but yet again, some considerations need to be made.
Just like the grille lights, engine compartment lighting will be exposed to a lot of heat and a lot of vibration. Granted, they probably won’t be turned on while the car is running down the road, but that doesn’t change the fact that your light strips be receiving a lot of stress.
You always want to make sure you’ve got heavy-duty light strips and wiring under the hood, and if you happen to have a cool speaker box in the trunk that needs some lights to really set it off, the same thing applies due to heavy vibration that can weaken electrical connections within the strips.
No Matter Your Tastes, There Are Lights For You!
Regardless what kind of vehicle you drive, if you want something simple to spruce it up, or even just headlights, LED car lights are one of the most powerful and effective ways to achieve it. Whether it’s inside, underneath, in the grille, on the wheels, under the hood or in the trunk, nothing says “Yeah, this is my baby” like LED auto lighting.
If you’re thinking of making a purchase, you always want to make sure that you get the RIGHT lights for the location you’ll be installing them in. If you ever need any help figuring out exactly what you need for your car, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll do my best to help you get the right products.
*Just a side note, I took all these photos in Kissimmee, Florida at a local car show. Thanks to all the participants for giving me the opportunity to get these great shots of your beautiful rides!
If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to drop me a note below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Your feedback is highly important to me! Have a great day!
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