Hiring a professional to install an LED light bar on your truck roof is an option. But going that route means spending more money – which is why you may want to take on the project yourself.
Don’t have any experience in wiring? Not a problem. As long as you have basic handyman skills, you should be able to complete the installation. Here at LED Equipped, all of the light bars we sell come with detailed, step-by-step guides that walk you through the process. And if you happen to run into an issue, you can give us a call and our LED lighting specialists will lend a helping hand.
Before you decide to make the installation a do-it-yourself project, however, you likely need to know what you’re in for. Here, we explain the basic steps to installing an LED light bar on a truck roof.
Consider Your Bracket Options
Most LED light bars come with universal mounting brackets, and using them allows for stability in just about any driving situation. If you’re planning to go off-roading, however, you might want to choose specialized mounts, custom-fabricated brackets or vehicle-specific hardware to ensure your onboard lighting is completely secure.
Test Your LED Light Bar
Once you buy a light bar for your truck and you’re ready to begin the installation, your first task is to test it and make sure the bar is working properly.
To do so, connect the LED light bar directly to your truck battery — the red wire goes to the positive terminal, and the black wire goes to the negative terminal. If nothing happens when you turn on the light and you’re certain everything is connected correctly, contact the LED Equipped team for advice.
When you disconnect the light bar, remove the black wire first to reduce the chance of shorting out the battery. And don’t try connecting the bar to an AC power source, as that will damage the light.
Gather the Necessary Tools
After you confirm that your light is operational, make sure that you have the tools to complete the project.
To install an LED light bar on your truck roof, you will need the following:
- Masking tape
- Measuring tape
- A black marker
- A drill and drill bit
- Touch-up paint
- Silicone sealant
- A screwdriver
- Wire strippers
- Crimp-style wiring connectors
- Pliers or a crimping tool
- Electrical tape
- Relay switch or light control box
In regards to the drill bit and screwdriver, we can’t tell you exactly what size you’ll need – that depends upon the LED light and mounting hardware you choose. And if you can’t easily reach to install the light bar on your truck roof, you may need to grab a stepladder or ask a friend to assist you with the installation.
Mark the Mounting Location
Now you’re ready to find the optimal spot to mount the LED light bar on your truck roof.
To decide on an exact mounting location, you must first preassemble the light bar with the brackets. Then, place the bar on the roof of your truck and step back to take a look.
Make sure that drilling won’t damage anything behind the mounting location; if anything is in the way, you’ll need to move the light.
Once you’re satisfied that you have the light bar in the best position, use masking tape to mark the edges. Put a piece of tape under each bracket hole as well and use the marker to identify the exact drilling spots. If your wiring will need to go through the roof, mark the spots where those holes will be drilled, too.
Next, use the measuring tape to make sure the mounting location you have marked is centered on the truck roof. If so, remove the light, detatch the brackets and move on. If not, make adjustments – and don’t forget to correct the drill hole marks.
Drill the Holes for Mounting
Before you grab the drill and mount your LED light bar on your truck roof, you may want to double check your work. By measuring twice and making sure your marks are in the right spots, you can ensure you don’t end up drilling extra holes in your truck roof.
Now, drill a hole at each marked location – and don’t remove the masking tape first, as it will help prevent the paint from flaking. Be careful about how far you drill, too. Once the drill bit tip has gone completely through the roof, pull it back out.
After drilling all of the holes for the mounting brackets and, if applicable, the wiring, remove the masking tape and apply touch-up paint to the exposed metal. This not only helps prevent rust from forming in the area where you mount the LED light bar to your truck roof, but also dulls the edges of the drilled holes to keep the wires from chafing.
Secure the Mounting Brackets
When the touch-up paint is dry, run a small bead of silicone sealant around the edge of each drilled hole. This step, which is particularly important for roof-mounted LED lights, ensures that water won’t leak through the holes.
Now, place your LED light bar on the truck roof in the appropriate spot. Using the screws provided with your mounts and an appropriate screwdriver, attach the bar to the rooftop. Don’t tighten any of the screws until you have them all in place; then go back and make sure they’re all secure.
Be careful not to overtighten the screws. You want a good strong connection, but tightening too much can lead to cracking in the brackets. When you’re done, give the light bar on your truck roof a little shake. If it moves at all, tighten the screws a bit more and try another shake.
Wire the LED Light Bar
The final step to installing an LED light bar on your truck roof is to connect the wiring. But first, you’ll need to choose a spot for your relay switch or light control box. Find a spot that will be easy to access when you’re driving, such as on the center console, next to the steering column or under the radio.
Next, use the wire strippers to reveal about a half-inch of bare wire on the end of each red and black wire. Then, use the wiring connectors to join the wires from your relay switch or control box to those from your light bar, red to red and black to black. Take the pliers and give each connecter a strong squeeze.
Now, connect the wires from your switch or light control box to the fuse included with your light bar. If a fuse wasn’t supplied with the wiring, you’ll need to get one – otherwise, a power surge could damage the switch, control box or your LED light.
Finally, connect the wires coming from the fuse to your truck battery – and remember, the red wire goes to the positive terminal and the black wire goes to the negative terminal. Make sure the wiring is firmly attached, as you don’t want the connections to loosen.
And that’s all there is to it – the only thing left is to turn the light bar on and step back to admire your work!
As you can see, installing an LED light bar on your truck isn’t a challenging task. With the right tools, anyone who’s handy can get the job done safely and easily. And if you purchase your lighting, mounting hardware and relay switch or control box from LED Equipped, you’ll be well-equipped for a successful project outcome.
Visit our website to browse our selection of top-quality LED lighting solutions. Or, if you have questions or want to learn more about installing an LED light bar on your truck roof, contact us today.