How-to Guide For Installing LED Strips Underneath Your Car
Posted by Birddog Lighting on May 28th 2017
LED strips underneath your car?
Yes, there is such a thing.
Instead of going into the mechanics to get an accessories upgrade, why not do it yourself?
You save a few extra dollars. Not to mention, your car will look pretty sleek.
Not sure how to install the LED lights?
Don’t worry about it. We’re here to help you out.
Read on to learn how to install LED strips underneath your car – and, why you don’t need to shill out your hard-earned cash.
Color and Effect
First, you need to decide on the color and brightness level.
If you have just made the switch from regular lighting to LED, LED lights are not one and the same.
In fact, the incandescent and florescent (CFL) wattage is worlds apart from the LED wattage.
Most of the time, LED lights don’t even go by watts, but lumens.
So, you’ll want to look at a conversion chart if you have a specific wattage in mind.
What you need to know about color
Like with the watts, LED lights (and the LED strips) aren’t in the same colors as incandescent and CFL lighting.
In general, “warm white” and “soft white” are safe bets. These will be in the 3000 Kelvin (K) range.
However, for a car, you may want to go for a more vibrant and fun effect.
In that case, go towards the 5000 K) range for cool blues.
Or why not consider a light green or pink?
No matter what color you end up buying, always make sure the packaging says “colored.”
Otherwise, you risk getting LED strips you may not like.
Adhesive or No Adhesive
A lot of the LED strips come with adhesive. The adhesive helps the lights stick to the underneath of your car.
However, some people aren’t a fan.
If you’re one of them, consider getting several zip ties instead. So, the ties will hold the lights in place.
Like with the adhesive, some LED strips come with a button switch. Essentially, after installing the strips, you’d press the switch and the lights would go on.
Some people are a fan of these. Others aren’t.
Nonetheless, it’s best to decide on this before installation.
Test the LED Strips
It’s a bummer when you install your strips and, when you try to turn them on, they don’t work.
To prevent this from happening, test the strips out before installation.
That way, if they’re a bust you can return them. No biggie.
Don’t leave the batter terminal on
Before you install your LED strips, disconnect the negative battery terminal.
In case you don’t know, you have two terminals on your car battery: negative and positive.
You’ve probably come across them if you’ve needed to jump-start your car.
Anyways, turn that bad boy off.
This ensures there’s no unexpected “surprises” when you install the strips.
(On that note, you’ll also want to turn off your engine as well.)
Check the underneath of the car
You’re going to want to plan where you install the LED strips.
Not doing this means more time spent squished underneath your car. Not comfortable.
To bypass this, look for secure ridges to lay the LED lights.
Normally, this is the perimeter. Or, in other words, the frame or fenders of the car.
If you have a truck, you can attach the LED lights to the edges of the bed.
You’re also going to want to choose a spot for the module box.
The module box is where the wired from the LED strips connect to.
Note that you’ll want a spot AWAY from the engine and radiator.
This would cause considerable heat damage. That would mean more time and money for you.
Clean the Surface
Clean the underneath of your car. This especially applies to where you’re going to install the strips.
You don’t need specialized car cleaner to do this. Some warm water, soap, and a few rags will do.
Not doing this could affect the adhesive. You’d risk the LED strips disconnecting from the adhesive.
Not to mention, the grime could affect the aesthetic impact.
Play it safe and clean it.
Install the strips
Once the underneath is dried, it’s time to install the strips.
Lay the strips where you want them. Since this is the underneath of your car and because of gravity, you’ll want to attach the lights with zip ties as you do this.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to use one zip tie for every 12 inches of lighting.
After doing this you can add the adhesive.
For double support, you may want to keep the zip ties in place.
This is recommended.
If not, cut the zip ties off. Be careful to not bother the adhesive too much. You don’t want to affect the support.
Or, if you don’t have adhesive, you’re done after attaching the zip ties.
Route the wires
You’re going to need to route the wires. Doing this will allow the lights to turn on.
It’s best to route them to the module box, located in the engine bay.
After that, you’re done!
Questions and Concerns
After installation, there’s very little maintenance. Generally, LED lights last 30,000 to 50,000 hours.
So, if you wanted to leave the strips on during your commute. And your commute is 2 hours each way. That’s 7,500 to 12,500 hours before you’ll have to switch the lights out. So, 312.5 to 520.8 days.
Unfortunately, when the LED lights do go out, you may need to switch out the strips for new ones.
The good news though is that, by now, you’re a pro at this!
Besides that, periodically check the underneath of your car for any broken zip ties. If you do find one, replace it.
Also, for the best aesthetic effects, keep the underneath of your car clean.
This will deter grime buildup smudging the lights.
For more questions and concerns about LED strips, contact us. We’re happy to help! Also, you may find your answer in another one of our blogs!