Choosing LED Bulbs for a Custom Car

It’s becoming dark outside. You’re driving home from the auto show, and let’s face it: your headlights aren’t doing their job as well as they could. Park lights, taillights, and even your dash lights are all a little dim. This is an all-too-common problem that is easily remedied.

By upgrading to an LED (Light Emitting Diode) system, you will not only improve your vehicle’s visibility in low-light settings, but you will also lower overall power consumption, as LEDs draw only 2 volts compared to the 12 volts of most typical filament bulbs. LEDs also have a much longer lifespan than traditional bulbs, sometimes lasting up to 100,000 hours. A single LED is not very bright, but when several are placed on a base, such as this 1157 type socket setup, you will notice a significant boost in illumination and visibility.

Choosing LED Bulbs for a Custom Car

Here are a few things to bear in mind:

First and foremost, because LEDs only use a tenth of the power of the preceding bulb, a resistor is necessary. Hagan Dummy Load Resistors were ideal for the job. If you skip this step, your LEDs will not survive long, and you may cause other problems in the electrical system. Next, unlike typical filament lamps, LEDs are not rated in watts. The disparity in light projection would result in a nearly non-existent rating. In a normal filament bulb, light is emitted from all around the filament, but an LED emits light only from the end and not from the sides.

Use an LED that is the same color as the tail light lens to ensure that the most light is passed through the lens. While we’re on the subject of lenses, another advantage of LEDs is their lack of heat generation. Traditional filament bulbs generate heat, and if they are too close to the plastic lens found on the majority of classics, discoloration or even melting can result.

Finally, when you refit the LEDs in your turn signals/hazards, they may not operate. If this occurs, you will need to install an LED-specific flasher, which is available at any parts store in either a 2-prong or a 3-prong configuration.