How To Add LED Strips Underneath Your Car
There are a lot of people who invest in after purchase modifications in the car. And one of the most common ways for people to present their cars with a unique aura is by having colored lights beneath the car, especially as a person drives at night.
As the LED technology has expanded, these kits have become a lot cheaper and there’s an option for different colors. Depending upon the kit type, installation of these kits is as easy as sticking the LEDs on the car with tape and then plugging everything in. Or there are kits that require extensive drilling to plug them in.
Keeping this in mind, you are recommended to use a kit that makes use of LED strips as compared to tube kits. The double sided tape on the LED strip can allow a person to have more options about where to mount the lights, which lets you have an ease of access in working with the LED strips. However, in the case of tube lights, the typical option is of drilling holes to mount the lights, thus limiting the options beneath the car.
Mostly, LED kits are designed in a similar way, with 2-4 lights, a junction box which distributes the power to the lights as well as control box that’s mounted in the cabin for turning the lights on-off easily.
This article will help guide you about installing a neon light kit underneath your car.
Note: Before you install the LED kit on your car, read the instructions properly and then plug everything to an outside electrical source. Check the LED lights so you know that the lights work before you set on the process of installing it. It’s better to ensure that the LED kit isn’t defective before installing it.
Installing the LED lights
- Double sided automotive tape
- Heat gun
- Heat shrink tubing
- Jack stands
- Silicone Sealant
- Soldering iron
- Wire stripper
- Wire cutter
- Zip Ties
A person may have to refer to the LED kit’s instruction manuals for understanding the correct size of the drill bit required for the mounting brackets.
Not all the above-mentioned tools will be required depending upon the type of the LED kit purchased. Since most LED kits have the connectors preinstalled on the wires, so a person only has to plug everything together. If one has to buy the kit for making the connections, then heat gun, heat shrink tubing, solder, soldering iron, wire strippers and wire cutters.
Step 1: Disconnect the battery’s negative terminal since the battery needs to be off when a person is plugging into the junction box as well as other cables into the car’s power.
Step 2: On a flat(level) surface, jack can be used for lifting the car and then jack stands can be placed for holding the car as you or someone else works underneath.
It’s better to lift all the four corners of the corner so that a person has plenty of space for moving around.
Step 3: Using a light, try to look for some secure mounting locations.
Depending on the car, the mounting locations vary, however, in general, a flat surface is required to accommodate the entire length of the LED light.
Mark the spots you choose using a marker.
Warning: It is important that a person doesn’t end up drilling in something that’s important when making the hole. The inside of the pinch weld generally works well, but just keep the LED lights at a distance from the wheels. Also, ensure that the LED lights aren’t near heat as well as any moving part like the exhaust, driveshaft or suspension.
When using a double side adhesive tape for securing the lights, make sure that the surface where you are applying it, isn’t dirty. Putting the tape on a dirty surface can lead to the strength of the adhesive decreasing and then cause the light to fall while the car is in motion, thus causing damage to it.
Step 4: After a survey has been done over where to mount the LED lights, make use of a drill for making holes to hold the mounting brackets in place.
If only tape is being used, then apply a strip of double adhesive tape to the entire length of the LEDs.
Step 5: Screw in the mounting brackets into the just drilled holes. Also, make sure to tighten them to ensure that LED lights are secured properly and won’t move around.
Step 6: Install the lights into the mounting brackets. You can use zip ties on all the brackets for keeping the LED lights secure. Furthermore, orient the lights in such a way that cables are going to the vehicle’s front so there is plenty of slack while hooking everything up.
if you use tape to attach the LED lights, put it on a clean, dry surface and apply pressure to the full strip so it sticks uniformly.
Step 7: Repeat the same process for all the lights included. Try aligning them symmetrically for having the lights at identical spots beneath the sides of your car.
Installing the junction box
Step 1: For installing the junction box, locate an area away from heat and moving parts, just like you did for LED strips. Generally, the battery is a good spot for mounting the box so that junction box is closer to the power source.
Step 2: Use zip ties for securing any loose cables and keeping them from movement and heating or interfering with any other car part. Since the cables have to be plugged in the junction box, make sure you route them in such a way that it ends up near to the chosen mounting spot of the junction box.
Step 3: Before applying the double adhesive tape, make sure that the surface is clean as well as dry. Making use of the tap means that the box can be repositioned when necessary and is usually safer than drilling the parts under the hood.
Step 4: Connect the LED lights to the junction box by plugging in all the LED strips power cables in the junction box. Make use of a thin layer of silicone sealant for help protecting the circuit from the water.
If there is a need to solder the connections, put a bit of heat shrink tubing on the cable before soldering them together. A little bit of silicone sealant will help protect these connections too.
Step 5: Now, connect the power cable for the whole system. The steps for connecting the power cable will be dependent on how a light kit has been designed.
Some type of LED kits get directly hooked into the battery of the car using an inline fuse for the protection of the circuit. This type is likely to have the power go into the junction box and hence, once can simply connect.
However, if the light kit gets its power through a fuse box, then one is likely to wait till the control box is setup for connecting the power.
If this is the likely case, skip the step for now till the control box is setup.
Installing the control box
Step 1: Most cars have a dedicated hole that connects the car’s interior to the engine compartment. The first step is to find that.
There is a rubber grommet for protecting the interiors from dust as well as noise. There is also a hole in the grommet where cable can be stuck through. If there’s no hole, then one can create their own hole. Although it is important to ensure that it’s big enough for the connector to pass through it and making sure that anything important isn’t drilled by mistake.
Step 2: Run the connector through the hole and then replace the grommet so that now there’s a connection from inside the interior cabin to the junction box that’s under the hood.
Step 3: Find a place for mounting the control box. However, keep it at an arm’s distance maximum so that it’s easy to turn it on/off. Finally, secure it using double adhesive tape so it’s held stably.
If the connection wasn’t made earlier(power cable not plugged), then plug now. Make sure you read the manual to know the right fuse required.
Step 4: Find a location that’s good for the ground cable. Usually, any unpainted metal beneath the car is a good source for grounding. Additionally, a hole can be drilled too, if there’s no bolt to latch it to.
Step 5: Make all the other necessary connections. Based on the kit that has been bought, there might be a need for some other connections, and hence, follow the due instructions given for making sure that everything’s properly setup.
A common feature that can be used is an antenna so a person can change the color of the light while outside the car.
Step 6: Make sure all the connections are tightly done and secured properly as well as the control and junction box are held up sturdily.
Step 7: After all the above steps, now the battery can be hooked up again. Hence, connect the negative cable to the battery finally for restoring the electrical power to the car.
Step 8: Now try on the lights to check they work as intended. Make sure to check all the functions and modes of the light.