In this article, we're going to look at probably one of the most overlooked forms of automotive innovation: the car light bulb. Even for many hardcore car enthusiasts, light bulbs aren't exactly on the top of their vehicle upgrade list, even though you could argue that it should be.
Automotive lighting has come a long way since the days of incandescent light bulbs. Sure, you can still pick up incandescent bulbs for your headlights these days, but those types stand alongside more efficient and powerful options. They include Xenon and Halogen bulbs, as well as the focus of this article, LED light bulbs.
For the rest of this article, we're only going to look at the LED light bulbs. Why? Because even with this one type of automotive light bulb, there are plenty of innovative approaches you can take to improve the lighting inside and around your car.
As usual, let's start with the basics first.
Advantages of Automotive LEDs
I won't go into too many details about LEDs, because that could fill up a whole article in itself. Instead, let's focus on the benefits of these Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) so that we're all on the same page before we look at how to improve them in your vehicle.
LEDs offer loads of uses and benefits over incandescent and other light bulbs. Here are the reasons why LEDs are on top of our list:
- They have the most extended lifespan, at about 50,000 operating hours (Halogen is 500 hours, Xenon is 2,500 hours).
- They're more efficient in terms of lighting and energy use.
- Automotive LEDs do not overheat, and they're usually waterproof (e.g. for headlights and tail lamps).
Aside from those stated above, automotive LEDs have unique properties that allow you to be much more creative with your car lighting. Namely:
- Automotive LEDs come in all sorts of colours, with some multicolour ones that can even change colours with the push of a button.
- They come in a variety of shapes, too, such as regular bulbs, halo, spider-shaped, running lights, long strips, and such.
- LEDs are so easy to install. You can fix them almost anywhere – around your accessories, under the exterior body, or along the ceiling perimeter.
Do you see the pattern here? LEDs offer you loads of options and flexibility. You can get custom LED lights for cars in almost any form you want. The only limit to the innovation would be your imagination!
Innovative Approaches to LED Car Lights
As you can see, LED lights are already innovative in themselves. Still, there are plenty of creative ways you can use LED lights for cars. Let's begin with the most obvious places you'd use LED car lights exterior, which is for the headlights, tail lamps, and turn signals.
Headlights, Tail Lamps, and Turn Signals
Typically, you can already find automotive LED bulbs in the headlights, tail lamps and turn signals of newer models today. Many newer makes and models already use LEDs as a standard feature.
Still, if you're driving an older car, it's not that hard to buy LED upgrades that you can retrofit into your vehicle.
As mentioned earlier, LED lights are brighter and more efficient, plus they're waterproof, and they never overheat. All of these are useful properties when you're using LEDs for these general purposes.
Interior Mood Lighting
Now, here's one innovative way you can use LED lighting that's impossible with other types of bulbs – interior mood lighting. Remember: LEDs come in all sorts of colours, with some even being multi-coloured. Imagine being able to change the colour of your interior lighting based on your mood.
Switch it to blue if you're feeling cool, or switch it to red if you're feeling a little romantic. Very few people have LED lighting for the interior of their vehicle, so you'll stand out no matter what mood you're feeling.
Typically, you could run LED lights on the lower half of the interior like under the glove compartment and all around the floor.
Ceiling LED Lights
Suppose you do a lot of work in your car, or you need the interior to be well-lit for whatever reason. Instead of installing LED lights on the bottom of the interior to create mood lighting, you can install them on the ceiling just as easily.
There are two ways you can go about this. Cars already have ceiling lights that you can replace with LED light bulbs. That should make the existing light brighter.
As an alternative, you could also install something like an LED strip to light up the interior space in whatever colour you prefer.
Here's something truly innovative. If you drive a pickup truck or any other kind of ute, you could light up the bed in the back by installing exterior LED lights! Just imagine the range of uses you could get out of that.
If you're working on any kind of job site at night or in gloomy weather, a well-lit truck bed with bright LED lighting will make it safer and easier to work around. Whether you're loading or unloading stuff, you'll be able to see everything on it even in low-light conditions thanks to those LEDs.
Or, just like mentioned previously with the interior, you could get multi-coloured lights to match it to whatever mood you're feeling.
Check Local Laws!
But wait! Before you start getting too innovative with your use of LED lights on your car, be sure to check with local laws first. As you know, different states and territories across Australia may have slightly different regulations regarding automotive lighting, especially on the exterior of the vehicle.
So, double-check to make sure you won't get pulled over because of your LED lights.
If you're looking for LED or other lighting solutions for your car, be sure to check out Carpart.com.au. From the classifieds, you'll see lights and other car parts up for sale from all across the country. Or, you could submit a request through the Parts Finder to search for the perfect lights to use on your car.
By Ray Hasbollah