Car modification is one of the common trends for car enthusiasts. It is like an extension of what they express about their personality. Aside from being sassy, it shows that this is how they love and care for their vehicle. One example of modifying one’s car is creating lightings, either exterior, interior, or both. Lightings create a unique environment and feel to the one driving and riding in it. However, some states only allow car modification, and others don’t. You can check first with your state if it is okay to have an aftersale modification in your car, given that you are in a free state. Installing under-dash lighting is easy, especially for a DIYer like you.
In modifying your dash with LED light strips, there are steps you need to follow to be successful on your project. These will be the things that you will need.
What to Do
Check and gather all your materials and supplies first. Make sure that you have them on hand before starting. It is to let you work your project go smoothly without looking for a missing part, and these are:
- LED light strips
- Inline fuse (recommended 10amp)
- 16-18 Gauge wiring (automotive – 5 to 10 feet in length “red and black”)
- Multimeter and Wire strippers
- Black electrical tape and zip ties
- Solder and soldering iron (this is optional)
Finding Fuse Box. When you already located your fuse box, usually it is located under the dash in the driver’s side. Then, with the help of your car’s owner’s manual for a guide check to see the fuses and which is used for.
Decide where to wire your LED lights, whether you want it attached in your headlights or your ignition. The choice is yours, and here’s how to wire your lights either way.
If you will going to attach them in your headlights, in your fuse box, find the fuse that is controlling the interior lights. Look something that looks like that. For easy identification, these wires can be labeled as well, depending on what type they provide the power.
Wiring your lights that come together with your car is easier than of the headlight. You have two options on which fuse you will going to wire your lights. You have your radio or ignition. Whenever you wire your lights that the radio is on or the car is running, so does your lights will turn on.
Either of the ways you have chosen, they both need to splice the wires to the fuse. With the help of your multimeter, locate the hot side of the fuse. Thus, this is to check and detect the voltage of the fuse. Make sure when splicing your wires into the fuse, it must not have voltage in it. Also, your car must be in ON-position when doing this procedure. At the back of your fusebox, wires are coming out, and in that location, you will going to splice your wire inlining with a wire connector. Take note that you have to wire at the dead side (no voltage) of the fuse – this is for extra protection against fire.
Next is your ground wire. You need to locate a good spot, which is under your dash – your firewall. This firewall is a separator between your engine and the car’s interior. Once you have your location, find those spots with bolts. Loosen the bolts and slide the connect below the bolt to create your ground. Make sure that your bolt is tightly secured back down.
Next is your circuit added with the inline fuse for the red wire connected to the fuse – this is for additional safety. Your inline fuse must be close as possible to the fuse box (where it is connected).
Now, it is the connection between the wire you connected to the fuse box and the wire connected as the ground of the first two LED lights. Add another wire to connect the next LED strips. Once done with the tight connections of the wires over the other side of the dash, you can connect the other strip.
Before you make your final adjustment, test your lights first. If you have trouble in lighting with your LEDs, here are some troubleshooting you need:
If the lights are not turning on, check the fuse and all connections if they are tightly attached.
If only one light is working, check your strip connections.
When everything is okay, it is time to mount your lights. Make sure that your lights are not visible, and only its glow is visible. Before mounting your strips, clean all surfaces your lights will get attached to. Then secure your light strips using zip ties aside from the adhesive attached at the back of the lights. Thus, this is to prevent it from falling off.
When all is well and secured, your DIY car modification is done now. Take note that the adhesives from the lights might lose its stickiness in a matter of time. Zip ties can be used if you mount your lights into the wirings hidden underneath your dash. If you place your lights at the smooth surface of your under the dash, you might need to have a stronger adhesive.