Do you want to learn how to install LED spotlights? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We have all of the information you need to complete the job! Better yet, we’ve put together a guide that details interesting facts about LED spotlights, too. Here, you will find everything you need to know about installing spotlights and more!
How to Install Spotlights: A Helpful Guide
Before you can learn about installing LED spotlights, we think it’s important to share some basic information regarding spotlights in general.
For example, did you know that LED stands for “light emitting diode” and successfully turns electricity into the light? Though LED lights can be found just about anywhere, and used for just about anything, they are frequently found in (or on) vehicles. Further, an increasing amount of automakers are replacing incandescent light bulbs, and instead putting LED lights in for both exterior and interior purposes.
These LED spotlights offer a wide variety of benefits over incandescent lights, a few of which include: resistance to vibrations, lasting the life of the vehicle, lighting up quicker than incandescent bulbs, and are extremely compact.
LEDs generally operate at 80 percent efficiency, while regular or incandescent bulbs operate at about 20 percent efficiency. Further, LEDs have a lifespan of about 50,000 hours, while halogen bulbs have an average lifespan of 5,000 hours. LED lights have many functions, and are perfect for tail lights, turn signals, and roof lights. Off-roading lights and light bars are extremely popular, too.
Another great quality offered by LED lights is that they extremely durable. Particularly, these lights have no filament to burn out or parts to break. Therefore, there won’t be a need to replace them as often as traditional lights. This means you can ultimately save time and money by making the decision to switch to LED lights.
Due to the fact that LED spotlights can be installed in a variety of ways and locations, unique applications are created for assistance. Remember, these lights are perfect for increasing your visibility on and off the road, especially in dark areas and low light conditions.
First things first, you need to consider mounting locations. Yet, the initial step of installing all LED lights will be a safety issue: Always be sure to disconnect the car battery, otherwise, there is a high risk of injury or an accident. In order to achieve this, open the hood of the vehicle and with a wrench, look for the nut and black ground cable on the negative terminal of the battery. Be sure to pull the black ground cable off to avoid it coming into contact with the terminal and tuck it to the side of the battery.
Once done, you’ll be ready for the next step: the mounting location. Choose a location that works best for you. Generally speaking, some common locations people tend to do are the vehicle roof or side mirror. Choosing this location is important, as you will need to have the location picked out in order to cut the proper lengths of wire needed for the project. One important thing to note, too, if you decide to place a light on the roof of your vehicle, you will have to drill through it. This could lead to leaking.
Next, you need to find a spot for the switch. Specifically, you may decide to get a switch to place in your vehicle in order to turn the spotlight on and off. This would definitely be convenient for you. Depending on the spotlight, the switch could be on the light which won’t require any wiring. Yet, choosing to wire the light on a switch on your dashboard may require more installation.
If you have a spotlight that lacks an electrical relay, it is necessary for you to install one. Reason being, most spotlights should run through a relay before wiring to a power source. More times than not, you can find a relay at your local automotive store. Once purchased, mount the relay inside your engine, somewhere along the body of the vehicle would be best.
A few tips to consider when mounting the relay: Heat can damage it, so avoid placing the part too close to the exhaust manifold. You can essentially use anything to help you mount, anything safe and reliable, including double-sided tape, adhesive, or a drill bit.
Now, place a short black wire from the relay to a bolt on the body of the vehicle. Of course, the wire doesn’t have to be black, but this is recommended for aesthetic purposes. Loop the wire while loosening the bolt and loop the wire directly below the head. To finish, Twist the wire by wrapping it around itself to keep the bolt nice and tight in place. Finally, tighten the bolt again.
You will now need an in-line fuse holder. Once you have this piece, connect it to relay. Make sure there is a fuse in the fuse holder strong enough to accommodate the spotlight. On the positive terminal of the battery, run the wire from the fuse holder. Proceed to run a wire from the relay and connect it to the positive post. Again, there are many ways to connect the wiring, but soldering the wire is the most effective.
Now, if you choose to mount a switch, make sure you run a wire from the last open post on the relay. This will allow for the switch to cut the power to the spotlight. Do not run the wire through anything that may melt or break it.
You are now ready to drill mounting holes for the spotlight. You should the tools which were likely supplied to you with the spotlight mounting kit. By choosing to place the light on your rearview mirror you won’t need to weatherproof. Yet, if you intend to place the light on the roof of your vehicle, because leaking can occur, you will need to place silicone all around the holes and bolt the light, which creates a waterproof seal. Or, it is possible that the kit came with a strip of weather-proofing material.
Finally, secure the switch on your dashboard in place by drilling a hole through the trim and sliding the switch through it from behind. Once completed, only the switch will be visible. Make sure the switch is in an easily accessible place. A button will mount the same way as a switch. A switch will need its own ground and power source to properly function.
Once you find the fuse box on the driver’s side, find a fuse that turns on an electronic device (i.e. the radio or headlights). Remove the fuse and insert an “add-a-circuit” or standard blade fuse holder that you can connect the wire from the switch. This will ensure that the spotlight doesn’t work when the vehicle is not running, saving you power.
Lastly, clean up everything and secure the wiring. Then, test your new spotlight and make sure it’s working properly.
Choosing the Right Light
Now, when it comes to choosing the right light, there are many different factors to consider, including the following:
- Beam Pattern
- LED Color
Size is one of the most important features to consider if you are thinking about adding an LED light to your vehicle. The larger the LED light, the more bulbs you’ll have, meaning the more light that will illuminate from this new piece. LED spotlights range in size from 4 inches to 50 inches. The larger the light, the more you can expect to pay.
When it comes to choosing the shape of your LED spotlight, you need to decide which shape appeals to you and your needs most. There are no real advantages to the various shapes available. It’s more of an issue about aesthetics and your personal preference.
The beam pattern of an LED light refers to how wide of a beam the light will produce. Spot beam patterns are narrow but reach a wide distance. Flood beam patterns offer a wide beam. A combination beam pattern combines both, offering a spot and flood beam pattern. Before you choose a beam pattern, it will be best to consider exactly why you want an LED light, and exactly what you plan on using it for.
Perhaps one of the more fun features to consider, different LED colors may have certain advantages over others. Again, the light color will ultimately be a factor of how and where you plan on using the light. For example, white light is the brightest and is best for any and every type of driving. However, the amber light is best for driving when there are low visibility conditions, such as fog. Blue, red, and green colors are frequently chosen for emergency vehicles, and therefore, more attention-grabbing. These latter lights are generally just used for emergency vehicles, not the everyday drive.
When choosing an LED spotlight for your car, truck, or vehicle, you should always choose an option that is safe and legal. Every state has different laws in terms of what is “allowed” on the road when concerning LED lights. It is recommended that you stop by your local Department of Motor Vehicles to gain a better understanding of what type of light you’re allowed to use, and how you’re allowed to use it.
While LED lights offer a wide variety of incentives, they can be impairing to other drivers on the road. Therefore, always make sure you are conscious and considerate of your surroundings and others.
LED Light Manufacturers
There are literally hundreds of manufacturers who produce LED lights. The best thing you can do for yourself is to see the product in person, but also read customer reviews regarding the product. Every individual who is considering purchasing LED lights has a different agenda or need for the lights. Therefore, you need to think about what you want, and then go for it.
Finding the Right Light for You
Before you can consider installing your new LED light, you need to ensure you get the right product for your wants and needs. Only then, should you explore your installation options.
If you are comfortable around a vehicle and using tools and such, then you should have no issues doing the work yourself.
If you are not comfortable handling the installation process yourself, then it is recommended you take your vehicle and LED light to a professional. Check your local town for automobile shops that can take care of the work. You should be able to find a reasonably priced option that is convenient for your needs. Regardless, for safety issues, as well as making sure nothing damaging occurs, don’t work on your car if you’re unable to.
Most importantly, enjoy your new LED spotlights! And congratulations on your purchase and new product.