Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs have become increasingly popular across the globe for a variety of different applications. In fact, in 2020, LED lights are expected to make up about 61% of the global lighting market.
But, LED bulbs can be used for much more than just household lighting. They have been rising in popularity for vehicles across the globe, too, and for good reason!
Automotive LED lights use about 85% less energy than traditional halogen bulbs. They’re also brighter, more durable, and tend to be cheaper, even if you’re installing aftermarket LED headlights or using a LED light kit. Leading brands for LED lights including Baja Designs, Rigid Industries and Vision-X have built their product offerings on the quality of this lighting choice and it’s ever increasing popularity.
So, what different types of LED lights can you get for your car, and how can they benefit you? If you’re new to the world of LED but you’re interested in making your car look better and use less energy, keep reading for your official introduction to LEDs.
LED Lights Can Cover Your Whole Vehicle
When you first think about LED lights for your car, you’re probably considering your headlights, and that’s a great place to start. LED headlights are about 90% more efficient than traditional bulbs. As a result, they generate less heat, so they last longer. LEDs can feel like a bit of an investment up front. But, when you consider how much energy you’re saving and how long they’ll last, they typically end up being cheaper than halogen bulbs.
Another great thing about LED headlights is that they tend to be smaller than their traditional counterparts. That allows you to get creative with your LED lights, so you can use different colors and design. If you’re putting your own car together or using aftermarket parts, utilizing your creative freedom with LED lights is a quick and easy way to let your personality come through.
Because LED lights tend to be smaller, you can use them just about anywhere on the car where lighting is involved, including:
- Tail lights
- Turn signals
- Roof lights
- Pickup beds
- Fog Lights/Fog Pocket Area
- A-Pillar/Ditch Lights
LEDs make a world of difference when used in off-road lights and light bars. They’re also great as fog lights because they tend to be brighter, so you can pierce through thick fog on a hazy morning – and your vehicle will look stylish while doing it.
A Rainbow of Colors
In addition to using LED lights all over your car, you can choose from a variety of colors that simply aren’t offered with traditional bulbs. Again, LED allows for a lot of creative freedom.
There are even color changing LEDs made for cars, trucks, and off-road vehicles. These are typically known as “RGB” (Red-Green-Blue) LEDs. These lights change color at varying speeds based on the amount of voltage that goes through them. You can use different colored lights in a variety of ways, and even have them set up to function differently. For example, your turn signal light might flash green, while your tail lights might be blue.
LED Accessory Lights
Want to get really creative and you’re ready to do a little DIY-ing on your vehicle? Check out LED underbody lights, strips, and tubes. Underbody lights are a great way to give your car an otherworldly look. Plus, because you can choose from different colors, installing LEDs beneath your car can really show off your personality and sense of style, especially when you’re driving at night. You’ll get an almost ethereal glow that will definitely draw attention to your vehicle, no matter where you take it.
Should You Choose LEDs For Your Car?
We’ve already talked about some of the benefits of LEDs, but if you’ve been looking into them for a while, it’s important to know exactly what you can expect. So, think about your needs and wants. LEDs allow for a lot of creativity, so if customizing & improving your vehicle is important to you, they are definitely an ideal solution.
In addition to being more energy efficient, they also power up to full brightness almost immediately. HIDs and halogen bulbs don’t do that. They take a short period of time to “heat up” and get bright. So, LEDs are actually safer, and more usable. Drivers behind you will have enough time to react to your tail lights because they will turn on immediately. Even those few seconds can make a big difference.
Finally, we should note that LEDs – even aftermarket kits – aren’t obnoxious or annoying, and they have often been stereotyped as such due to drivers who use them improperly. In reality, LEDs actually aren’t as blinding as other lights, including HIDs. However, make sure you’re aware of the road legal status of the lighting equipment you purchase; if you plan to run them on the road, make sure you purchase an “SAE” or “diffused” pattern light that is road legal. As long as you buy the correct lights and use them in the correct situations, you don’t have to worry about offending anyone else on the road, or your lights being so bright that other drivers can’t see. That’s an unfortunate myth that needs to be put to rest.
If you had to consider any potential drawbacks to car LED lights, the biggest one would likely be the cost. But, again, if you plan on having your LEDs installed for a long time, they will pay for themselves with how long they last. Many new cars actually come with LED lights, so you don’t have to worry about replacing them yourself.
But, if you do want to change out the lights in your existing vehicle, be sure to look over your local laws before you do. Some areas have regulations on aftermarket lights, and only let you use specific sizes and colors. But, if your location allows total freedom with LED lights, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to what you can do.
As you can see, you can use LED lighting just about anywhere on the exterior or interior of your car – including underneath it. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your installations, using different colors and types of LEDs to bring your car to a whole new level. Do your research on the best kits for your car depending on the brightness, sizes, and colors you’re looking for, and you’ll be riding in style in no time.