How to Install LED Dash Lights

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Are you thinking about installing dash lights and need some assistance? How about LED dash lights? Do you know how to install LED dash lights into your vehicle? If not, you’ve come to the right place! We are going to help make sure that you know all of the basic information required to successfully place new dash lights into your vehicle, including a list of proper tools you should have to get the job done.

However, we’re also going to go above and beyond! We’re going to educate you on the importance of dash lights, specifically LED dash lights, as well as why you should always ensure your dash lights are working properly and why you must listen to them.

About Dash Lights—Are You Paying Attention To Them?

Imagine having a talking car, okay? A car that speaks to you, tells you when something is wrong, or when it needs something. Seems funny, maybe even a little far-fetched, right? Not exactly. If you really think about it, you do have a talking automobile. Your vehicle does talk to you, and it used dash lights to do so. The question is, though, are you listening to your car?

You may feel as if dash lights are annoying. You may have even found a way to outright ignore them, forget they’re even there. This is a terrible idea for many reasons. Basically, when your dash lights illuminate—regardless of what the light is—your car is speaking to you. It’s telling you that something is wrong, so you had better listen or you could have a real problem on your hands.

Chances are, even if you’re not overly into cars, you know the basic dash lights and what they mean. You know when your car is telling you that you need gas, or to check the air pressure of your tires. Yet, there are many more dash light alerts, alerts that you are probably not aware of unless you’ve read your car owner’s manual cover to cover. And let’s be honest . . . have you?

The following are a list of dash lights that could come on at any given time:

  • Check Engine or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL)
  • Coolant Temp Warning
  • Oil Pressure Warning
  • Service Vehicle Soon
  • Brake System
  • ABS Light
  • Cruise Control
  • Security Alert
  • Traction Control or ESP
  • Overdrive Light
  • Washer Fluid Reminder
  • Battery/Charging Alert
  • Transmission Temperature
  • Oil Change Reminder
  • TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)
  • Reduced Power Warning
  • Gas Cap
  • ESP Fault
  • Lamp Out
  • Door Ajar
  • Airbag Fault
  • Fog Lamp
  • DPF Light (Diesel)
  • DEF Light (Diesel)
  • Glow Plug (Diesel)

Now, as you can see, there are a few dash light indicators that are only applicable if you drive a diesel vehicle. Therefore, if you do not, please do not worry about the last three dash warning lights listed above.

Additionally, some warning signs are more important than others. For example, if your gas cap is off, or your car is telling you that you need more windshield washer fluid, your car can still be driven—these are not emergency warning signs. These are also problems that you can handle yourself. Just make sure not to ignore them and actually take care of them, sooner rather than later.

However, there are some very important warning signs that should always be dealt with immediately, such as brake system, service vehicle soon, and airbag fault. Depending on your knowledge and understanding of cars, you may have to take your vehicle to a professional to get serviced. Do not put this task off, but make sure to handle it immediately. You should not be driving your car on the road when it needs to be serviced, especially when the service in question is something serious, as dealing with airbags or the engine.

Remember, you’re not only putting yourself at risk but other drivers and passengers on the road, too. Therefore, safety should always come first. If your car is talking to you, listen to it and take the time to either fix it yourself or have it looked at professionally.

LED Dash Lights—There Is a Difference

Not everyone makes the decision to add LED dash lights to their vehicle. Though the task may seem difficult—it’s not, and there are many benefits offered when using LED lights versus regular dash lights. To start, LED lights are easier to maintain. That in itself should be enough to make the switch, right? Who doesn’t want to make their lives easier?

Specifically, halogen bulbs (which are typically used in the dash of vehicles), don’t last very long. On average, these bulbs last about 5000 hours. However, LED bulbs last much longer. In fact, LED lights have been known to last a couple of years due to their solid state, that’s about three times as long as halogen bulbs! Therefore, LED dash lights do not have to be replaced as often as other, typical dash lights.

LED lights are also more efficient and offer better quality than other types of bulbs. LED lights convert 80 percent of their energy into direct lighting, ultimately giving you a stronger light. These lights make seeing much easier too, allowing your dash to be brighter and clearer.

How To Install LED Dash Lights

Now for the part, you’ve been waiting to read! You should have a firmer understanding of the importance of dash lights, as well as why switching to LED dash looks could potentially be in your best interest. Are convinced to make the switch? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s possible that many people reading this article aren’t too knowledgeable about cars or car parts. Therefore, it may seem difficult to install LED dash lights. In this case, it may be in your best interest to find a professional—someone who has experience both with vehicles and dash lights. Finding the right person should not be too difficult. A good place to start your search would be with the local mechanic.

However, if you feel as if you’re up for the task yourself, then this guide can help you.

First, you’ll need some tools! Below is a list of recommended tools you’ll need to successfully put LED dash lights into your vehicle:

  • Standard Phillips Screwdriver
  • Precision Screwdriver Set
  • Leatherman
  • Vise Grip Pliers
  • Multimeter
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Alligator Clips
  • Four Ultra High Brightness White LEDs

First, get ready to do some disassembling. You will need to get to the back of the instrument panel, so disassembling or disconnecting some wires may be necessary. Ultimately, the type of vehicle you’re working on will determine how you will need to prepare for the task.

Next, locate either the bulbs that have burned out or the bulbs that you want to remove and replace with LED lights. Depending on what you want or need to replace, you may need more LED bulbs than what is mentioned above. You will need to analyze how these bulbs work, or more importantly, where the power is coming from exactly. You will find two metal pieces that touch the copper of the circuit board on either side of the holes that send power to the bulbs.

The next step will require the use of a multimeter, as mentioned above. It is recommended that you use 14 volts as a base. Testing for voltage is a vital step, so take this one seriously.

Get your LED lights ready! It doesn’t matter where you get your lights from—thrift shop, local automotive store, online, etc. The significant thing to remember here is to purchase lights that are right for your particular vehicle. The make and model of your car will affect the types of LED dash lights you need, so be aware.

Then, once you have the right LED lights, you can hook them up with the resistors, and do a little more testing, You want to make sure your new dash lights work before actually getting out on the road. When hooking your lights up with resistors, make sure not to blow a fuse.

Once all cleared, solder the resistors to the LEDs and put heat shrink over it. Again, do some quick testing. Make sure the lights work, that they look good, and that you’re completely satisfied with the job.

Finally, replace all of the pieces to your dashboard, clear your tools, and congratulate yourself on a job well done!

How to Get Assistance

You may not be overly into cars, but still have a knack for putting things together or at least good at following directions. Therefore, you should know that there are plenty of resources available if you want to try and replace your dash lights all on your own.

For starters, there are plenty of videos online that will not only completely walk you through the installation process but show you step by step instructions on how to install dash lights. With a little bit of research, you may even be able to find your specific car that is being worked on, or a make and model similar to your car.

You can also find photographs online showing the process in great detail, from finding the right tools to purchasing the right lights, and finally, how a finished dashboard should look once LED lights have been added.

The point is to not be so intimidated by dash lights and adding them to your dashboard. Think of it as a science project, or even putting a puzzle together. Regardless, if you need help, know that it’s out there. Never be afraid to ask or seek assistance with your LED dash lights.

Are You Ready for LED Dash Lights?

As you can understand more now, dash lights are very important, even necessary when it comes to promoting safety on the road. Therefore, always be mindful of your dash lights, whether they’re LED or not.

Though, now that you know more about LED lights, it may be time to place them into your vehicle. We’ve listed the various benefits to having LED lights, but the main one (arguably so) could be that they last longer—and for multiple reasons.

First, the obvious reason is money. If LED dash lights last longer than regular lights, then you obviously will be spending less money on replacement lights. Depending on how long you have the vehicle in question, you may never have to replace dashboard lights.

However, the other, more important reason is safety. LED dash lights could ultimately be safer than regular lights. Not only are LED lights brighter and easier to see, but again, they last longer.

Honestly, how many people actually replace their dash lights as soon as they go out? More often than not, this is a tedious task that either gets ignored or forgotten about, sometimes until it’s too late. Remember, you need your dashboard lights, and you need to listen to them. Paying attention to your dashboard lights could prevent an accident. Yet, how can you pay attention to them if they’re not working?

Therefore, because LED dash lights last longer, chances of them burning out and not getting replaced becomes less likely. Every time you get behind the wheel, your main priority should be safety. Making the switch to LED dash lights could ultimately help keep everyone safer on the road.

If you’re still unsure about LED dash lights, then ask yourself why. Why do you think LED dash lights would be a bad idea? Or maybe even a hassle? Do you think they’re too expensive, or that they would be too hard to put into your dashboard? Whatever possible con you can come up with, chances are, there is a pro to counterbalance it.

It’s definitely understandable: Car maintenance is not fun. The task is even more tedious when it comes to something like dashboard lights. Putting air in the tires, or getting an oil change is routine. But taking apart your dash and replacing the lights? Though, it is vital to understand that the task doesn’t have to be hard. Simply put, don’t make it harder than what it has to be. Use your resources, and get the job done.

Are you ready to switch to LED dash lights? Don’t delay, and stop putting the task off! Find the right lights, get the right tools and materials, and start the process. You’ll be done in no time.

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