How to Pimp Your Ride with LED Strip Lights
Posted by Birddog Lighting on Jul 4th 2018
Unfortunately, it’s too late to apply for the MTV show “Pimp My Ride” but you can still keep your ride looking bangin. It doesn’t cost much and all you’ll need is some led strip lights and elbow grease.
Well… elbow grease and some knowledge of cars, electrical systems, or a willingness to spend time learning about them on youtube. Since we like to show you what our lights can do, we thought we’d add this cool tutorial to our projects page.
Read the tutorial below and then let us know if you’re going to take a wack at it!
What You’ll Need
The Lights: Obviously you’re going to need lights for this project, but what type? Retailers carry a lot of choices and they don’t look like Christmas light strings anymore.
Instead, they are a flat wire with square-looking LED lights about a half inch apart (or more, it depends). They come in different colors, different warmths of white, volts, and lengths.
For outdoor projects, we like “RGB Color Changing Chasing LED Strip Light – 12 Volt – High Output Outdoor Use” lights. These bad ass babies have green, blue, red, cyan, purple, yellow, white color options.
Along with solid colors of the above, they offer a three LED chasing option, which looks exactly as it sounds. The colors (three different) chase loop on a track.
This looks SUPER cool when you’re at car clubs or parked to show off. If that option is a little too much for you, you can choose their slow fade option which is more subtle but just as fun. Watch this video to see all the options.
Once you have your lights picked out (the fun part) you’ll need
-Female Power Connector
-RGB Controller Connector
-12 volt 6 Amp Standard Power Supply
-Weatherproof heat tape
If you buy the above lights, the kit comes with everything but the weatherizing aspects and wire/tape!
Decide Where LED Strip Lights Are Going
The easiest place to install LED lights is inside your car, since you won’t need to waterproof or heatproof anything. It looks cool, your passengers will love it, and if you drive for ride service, it could really make you stand out!
Where you put them inside your car depends on its design. If you have an overhang console over your media center, that’s a great place to stick a small strip.
If you have roof interior fabric that you don’t mind messing with, run some strip lights around the edges. Put the fabric back and you’ll have a subtle but cool effect.
If you’re like us, your car is either show-it-off clean or a total mess. Either way, placing LED strip lights under the seats looks cool. If you’re the latter, it can help you find rouge items in the dark.
Yes, you can use our LED light strips outside, but it will take a little more work. Though the lights themselves are for outdoor use, the electrical casings need protection from the elements.
For your convenience, we have a silicone sealant to add on to your purchase.
The best places to put your led lights on the outside of your car? On the bottom of your body kit of course!
This looks especially cool if you have a lifted truck or SUV with foot rails.
We also love them around license plates, front or back, but only if you’re a good driver!
Finally, if you have the room, think about putting led light strips in your tire wells. Mounting them in the inner body of your wheel well gives your car a space-ship like look.
Things to Think About: Cutting
Cutting electrical equipment is something to be careful about. Our lights (and others) can only be cut at specific intervals. Learn more below.
First off, never cut lights or any electrical supplies while they’re plugged into a power source.
When you’re cutting the length of lights you want, look for four small copper dots with a cut line. ONLY cut on the cut line.
If your strip doesn’t have four dots but instead copper ovals, cut immediately in the center of the copper. Any adult-grade scissors should work.
Things to Think About: Heat
Though LED lights are much lower heat than normal bulbs, they get hot when turned on in their spool. Please, unravel them before you turn them on.
If you don’t, it could cause damage our warranty won’t cover.
Things to Think About: Moisture
Our outdoor lights aren’t perfect, but they try hard! While the light casings themselves can handle some splashing, the connections need to be covered.
Things to Think About: Mounting
Our strips come with a 3M mounting strip on the back so you don’t have to mess with glue or tape. We want to make your life easier!
Before you mount, make sure you wipe down whatever surface with ISO alcohol or plain water. Let the area dry and give it a dry wipe to get rid of any dust.
Once the area is cleaned and prepped, peel the backing off the light strip as you apply. Pulling and pressing as you go will keep the strip from getting air bubbles.
Learn more about lighting mounting with our official directions.
Pimping Your Ride
Now that you know the basics of pimping your ride with led strip lights, all that’s missing is early 00’s rapper Xzibit.
If you want to channel the MTV Pimp My Ride vibe, listen to Xzibit on Spotify while you’re installing your new lights!
Get all your project supplies here.