Interior Car Lights Upgrades


January 7th, 2020

One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve the quality of the interior of your vehicle is to add LED lights. LED Lights, also referred to as Light Emitting Diode lights, use a one-directional method of lighting that is commonly used in vehicles. In addition to the unique and customized look that LED lights add to your interior, they also offer many additional advantages. You can use this guide to upgrade your own vehicle's interior lights to discover those advantages for yourself.

Benefits of Equipping LED Lights in Your Vehicle

Of course, LED lights add a unique appeal to your vehicle, but there are also other advantages to equipping them. These are just a few of the benefits of having LED lights in your vehicle:

  • Long-lasting: LED lights emit less energy, which means that they tend to last longer than other types of lights. This means you can go much longer in between having to replace them. In fact, many LED lights will stay brightly lit for a minimum of 15,000 hours.
  • Functionality: If you have ever tried to find an item you dropped at night, you will understand how LED lights are beneficial. LED lights are much brighter when compared to other types of interior cabin lights, allowing you to see more areas of your vehicle. LED lights also offer clearer visibility than when compared to other types of interior lights.
  • Price point: LED lights have become more the norm, meaning the price of them has also fallen. In fact, the price of LED lights often makes them an easy decision, especially because they last much longer than other interior lights.
  • Customization: If you are the type of car enthusiast who prefers to show off your individual style, then you will enjoy the ability to choose from multiple colors with LED lights. You can also equip LED lights into any area of your vehicle. Want more light in the backseat? Want more light above your head? You can use LED lights to meet both your functionality and design needs. Many drivers also enjoy that LED lights create a type of ambient lighting that can relax and destress your commute.

LED lights come in different types including bulbs or even light strips, meaning you can create a design that works for your vehicle. You can install LED lights into the darkest corners and crevices of your vehicle, improving the overlook look of your interior.


How to Upgrade Your Interior Car Lights

Upgrading your interior car lights to LED ones not only offers many benefits, but is also fairly easy to do. You can easily upgrade your vehicle's interior lights with the following steps:

  • Choose the lights you want to upgrade: Different vehicles come with different lights in different locations, so there isn't a generic list of lights you can change out. It can be helpful to evaluate the interior of your vehicle and take note of the lights you want to change out. If you want to add lighting to new places, it will require additional steps and tools. Create a drawing of your intended project and go from there.
  • Choose your ideal LED lights: Once you have determined the lights that you want to replace in your interior, you will want to choose the LED lights that you will replace them with. Make sure the LED lights you choose are made for the type of light and connection you are replacing. You will also want to make sure that your LED lights are compatible with your type of vehicle and the location in your vehicle in which you intend to equip them.
  • Remove the lighting cover: Interior lights will almost always have a lighting cover. You will want to remove this cover, being careful not to damage it. The process of removing the cover will depend on the make and model of your vehicle, but in most cases, it just requires that you twist or pop it off to remove it.
  • Install the LED bulb: Once you have removed the cover and bulb, you can replace it with the newly purchased LED bulb. Make sure the metal pins match up and then turn the bulb until it lights up. If it doesn't immediately light up, you might need to twist it even further. LED bulbs work like a battery with a positive and negative side and each side needs to match up. Once they do, you can replace the bulb cover.

Equipping LED lights in the interior of your vehicle is one of the best and easiest ways to upgrade the look of your interior. When you replace existing bulbs, you don't need any extra tools and you can typically complete the project in 30 minutes or less. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, you might be able to buy an LED kit for the specific area of your vehicle that you are attempting to upgrade.

How to Install New Interior LED Lights

In addition to replacing bulbs in the interior of your vehicle with LED lights, you might also want to add LED lights in new locations that are not already lit. Installing lights to the interior that does not involve replacing a bulb requires a few extra steps. While your vehicle's dome light is already connected to the power and will work when you replace the bulb, this is not the case for lights that you add to the driver's door or outside of the glove box. LED lights under the dash are also a common choice. Fortunately, because LED lights don't use a lot of power, you can usually connect them to your vehicle's fuses. You can install new interior LED lights with the following steps:

  • Collect tools: Installing LED lights to your fusebox will require a few tools. Before you head out to your car and begin installing your LED lights, you will want to ensure that you have the necessary tools available. The location and type of LED lights that you use will dictate the type of tools needed. If you plan on just changing out a few light bulbs, then you won't need any tools. However, if you want to equip new LED lights, then you will need automotive wiring, wire strippers, electrical tape, and zip ties. The use of a soldering iron will also be useful.
  • Locate the fuse box: The location of your fuse box will depend on your make and model of the vehicle. Typically, the fuse box is either in or near the dashboard. You can identify the exact location in your owner's manual.
  • Plan the location of your lights: You will want to plan where you will equip the LED lights. This ensures that you have the right size or length of lighting needed for the area.
  • Choose how/when you want the lights to activate: When you connect your LED lights to the fusebox, you can choose one of two lighting choices. The first option will activate your lights with the headlights. The second will activate them with the vehicle. The first choice requires that you identify the fuse that is connected to your interior lights. The second choice requires that you connect it to either the ignition or radio fuse.
  • Splice the wire into your chosen fuse: Whichever wire you choose and locate, you will then splice into that wire. You will need to locate the hot side of the wire which you can do with a fuse probe. Make sure you splice the backside of the wire with the connector. This ensures that your wiring is protected.
  • Ground your wires: You will need to choose a grounding point. Many people will choose the firewall of the vehicle. Remove one of the bolts, connect the wire under the bolt, and then tighten it.
  • Equip an inline fuse: For added safety, you will want to add another inline fuse and connect it to the fusebox.
  • Connect LED lights: Now that you have completed the wiring, it is time to connect the LED lights. Connect the wire that reaches the fusebox with the LED lights. Splice these wires together and then add additional wiring to add new LED strips. Run the wires through the dashboard and then connect them.
  • Mount LED lights: After you have tested that your LED lights are working, it is time to mount them. You should have already decided where they will go and measured for their length. You can adhere the LED strips with a few methods including zip ties, screws, or adhesive.

Not all LED strips require power. Some work on solar power and will illuminate without going through the process of connecting them to your vehicle's fuses. The process that you choose entirely depends on the type of LED lights you want to use when you want them to activate, and where you want to equip them.

Troubleshooting LED Problems

Ideally, your new LED lights will work the minute you install them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. You may need to troubleshoot to identify the problem. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you troubleshoot your new LED lights:

  • Hyperflash: Hyperflash occurs when your vehicle has a bulb out. You will likely notice hyperflash right after replacing the bulbs and your vehicle will quickly flash the turn signals or hazard lights to inform you. If this occurs right after you equip LED lights, it doesn't necessarily mean that the bulb is out. Instead, it means that the LED light is using much less power and your vehicle is registering it as a blown bulb. You may need to try a resistor kit to correct the problem.
  • Twist in a different direction: If you twisted the bulb in and it isn't lighting up, it could be that the polarities are not matching up. Try twisting it in a different direction or removing it and trying again. In most cases, this will correct the problem.
  • Bulbs not working: There can be a few things to blame if your replaced LED light is not working. It is always a possibility that the LED lights you are attempting to equip are not compatible with your vehicle make and model. The issue could also be with the quality of light itself. Avoid cheap LED lights and always buy from a trusted, reputable seller.
  • Begin with easier installation: Some lights are easier to install including the dome or glove box light. Begin with these easier lights and then work your way up to connecting LED lights to the fusebox. This will give you a chance to learn how to troubleshoot common LED problems.

Creating Your Ideal LED Design

The design options are really endless when it comes to equipping LED lights in the interior of your vehicle. You can drop some bright red lights in the glove box to make it easier to locate your vehicle's registration. Swap out the car's dome light for a bright white LED for clearer visibility. Most vehicles offer you the ability to change out the following lights:

  • Dome lighting.
  • Mood/ambient lighting.
  • Vanity lighting.
  • Glove box lighting.
  • Visor lighting.

You might decide to replace all of these lights or just a few. Additionally, you can use traditional LED lights or you can opt for a bold color. Many of today's LED lights also allow you to utilize cool features like the ability to connect your LED lights to your phone. Using your phone, you can activate, deactivate, or even change the movement of your LED lights. LED lights also come with different features like dimming controls and color-changing features. 

The best way to create your ideal interior look is to plan ahead. Consider which colors, types of LED lights, and locations before collecting the necessary tools. Then, do your research and make sure you have the best LED lights. When you choose the best LED lights and other vehicle parts from BMW of South Atlanta, you will have a brand new interior equipped with LED lights that are longer-lasting, efficient, improve visibility and immediately improve the look of your vehicle.