Enhancing Aesthetics and Functionality with Automotive LED Strip Lights

You can comfortably enhance your car’s aesthetics with the increasingly popular automotive LED strip lights.

 Over time, car manufacturers have been working on a way to light up vehicles efficiently and cheaply. 

Traditionally, they relied on fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, which consume much power, draining the battery quickly.  

However, as much as they are long-lasting, LED strips require proper installation and maintenance. 

Additionally, you must safeguard them from voltage spikes and over-voltage when the battery supplies an excess voltage. 

Luckily, we cover all those issues in today’s piece. Read on to find out how to make the best out of your automotive LED strip lights.  

How to Eliminate Voltage Spikes in Automotive LED Strip Lights

(A voltage regulator)

Voltage spikes usually happen in automobiles that rely on the alternator to charge the battery. 

When it occurs, it forces the battery to supply a higher voltage to the LED strips leading to faster degradation and thermal runaway. 

We have two options to eliminate voltage spikes in car LED stripes. First, you can wire a 120-ohm resistor between the battery and the 12V LED strip. 

Its role is to dampen the excess voltage from the spikes, ranging from 24V to 50V. 

Second, a popular option would be installing a voltage regulator, such as the LM317, between the battery and the LED strip. Its role is to control over-voltage and voltage spikes. 

Best Places to Install Automotive LED Strip Lights

Car with colored ambient LED backlight

(Car with colored ambient LED backlight)

You should install LED strip lights in places that don’t interfere with your driving or the vision of other road users.

 For instance, it’s illegal in most countries to install LED strip lights in positions that may cause eye discomfort or temporary blindness

Furthermore, you cannot install red LEDs on the front of your car as the rules dictate that red lights should be at the back.

 Here, we give you the best legal places to install your automotive LED strips. 

  • Along door panels
  • Inside wheel wells
  • Along the exterior, including along the grill and under the side skirts
  • In the engine bay
  • In the trunk
  • Under the seats
  • Under the dashboard 

How to Install Automotive LED Strip Lights

An LED strip with a dimmer power supply

(An LED strip with a dimmer power supply)

We recommend LED strips with adhesives for attaching to the car’s body for automotive installation.

Additionally, you’ll need zip ties, wire cutters, a wrench, and a cross driver. Here are the steps to follow:

Locate the Mounting Spots

Inspect your vehicle for appropriate mounting spots like brackets, bolts, or other openings to attach the LED strips.

 Normally, it’s advisable to use a zip tie every 10 to 15 inches of the LED strip to secure it firmly. It is also the case even when the strip has an adhesive back. 

Route Your Wires to The Module Box

The LED module box encloses multiple LED chips for lighting applications. After securing the LED strips, route your wires toward the module enclosure, ensuring they don’t run over hot surfaces. 

Additionally, automobile LED strips are thin, meaning you shouldn’t run them over sharp edges. 

Connect to The Battery

The next step involves connecting the LED strip lights to the 12V or 24V car battery. 

Moreover, connect the red wire to the battery’s positive terminal while the black one to the negative lead. If you connect the wires poorly, you risk damaging your LED strip.

Check The Module Box

The best place to install your module box is close to the battery and fuse box. You don’t want to install it in any location that generates too much heat, like the radiator or engine.

 Likewise, avoid securing it close to locations that get wet, as water may short-circuit the wires within it.

The Benefits of LED Technology in Automotive Strip Lighting

An LED inside a channel diffuser

(An LED inside a channel diffuser)

LED technology is revolutionalizing automotive lighting in many regions globally. 

Over time, vehicle manufacturers have been working to reduce energy consumption in automobiles.

 And one way they are succeeding in doing so is by adopting LED technology. Here are the benefits of LED lighting:

Energy Efficient

LED strip lights convert as much as 90 percent of incoming power to light energy. 

On the other hand, traditional light sources like fluorescent lamps convert less than 20 percent to light energy. 

Consequently, LED lights won’t drain your battery fast, even if you use them for long periods. 

Long Lasting

LEDs have long lifespans, with high-quality ones lasting as long as 100,000 hours.

 In other words, you can use an LED for an average of 8 hours daily and be comfortable that it can last more than 30 years.

Easy to Install

You don’t need much technical know-how to install LED strips, especially if they have adhesive backs. 

Moreover, you can attach them to your car’s body using clamps and zip ties. 

More Lumens Per Watt

LED strip lights have a 90 to 95 percent efficiency meaning that a 5-watt one uses most of the power to generate light energy.

 Conversely, traditional light sources would have to use a lot of watts to generate light of similar intensity. 

Better Heat Management

LED strip lights generate little heat energy compared to incandescent and fluorescent lights. 

Therefore, you won’t need to use the AC with the LED strip lights on, making them efficient at saving battery power.  


What voltage are car LED strips?

Car LED strips rely on the batteries’ direct current (DC) power to illuminate. They mainly operate on 12V, with some operating on 24V DC.

 However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t power 12V LEDs with a 24V battery as you will damage it. 

A good thing about doing so is that the LEDs will be brighter shortly.

 After that, the LEDs will start overheating due to a large influence of electric voltage. 

Consequently, you may even reduce their lifespans significantly. 

On the other hand, you shouldn’t power a 24V LED with a 12V battery, as the voltage requirements of both systems are different. 

In such a case, the 24V LED strips will be dimmer; in some cases, LEDs may flicker when the power gets low.   

Is any LED strip light okay for a car?

Some LED strip lights are okay for illuminating a car, while others are not. 

Generally, car LED strips are energy efficient since they shouldn’t drain excessive power from the batteries.

 Additionally, they shouldn’t be excessively bright to the point of causing temporary blindness and discomfort.  

Moreover, always buy a LED strip for car use, not indoor and outdoor.

 Generally, LED manufacturers fine-tune the car LEDs for use in smaller spaces such as the footwells and the trunk. 

Some also give you control over brightness, color changes, and music synchronization. 

Do LED strip lights drain a car battery?

LED strip lights use battery power to create extra ambiance around your car. 

Therefore, they drain the battery slowly with a 5 to 20-watt LED light strip lasting 20 to 70 hours before the power source runs out. 

However, the duration it takes to drain the battery depends on its state and the power consumption of the LED strip.

 A higher-rated strip, say 20W, will drain a battery faster than a 10W one. 

Moreover, a brand-new battery may last longer than an older one when you use them to power car LED strips.


There are many ways to illuminate your car, but nothing beats the aesthetics of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). 

Generally, LEDs for automobile use have different features to suit the application. 

For example, if you install them in the wheel well, we recommend ones with an IP68 rating. 

In other words, they are dust- and waterproof, making them appropriate for outdoor use. 

You can opt for multi-color LEDs or those you can synchronize to your music player for indoor use.