Best LED Strip Lights for Cars

There are many light sources for our vehicles, but only some can match the best LED strip lights for cars.

Unlike incandescent light sources, they improve visibility and mood while consuming little power. 

However, many LED strip lights promise quality, durability, and reliability, confusing buyers.

In today’s article, we are looking at what to look for to get the best LED strip lights.

Furthermore, we explore the best places to install one in your car. Let’s get rolling. 

What Are LED Strip Lights? 

LED strip lights are flexible circuits with multiple light-emitting diodes that can be one or several colors.

Generally, they vary in color combinations and temperature making them ideal for numerous applications.

Furthermore, you can cut them to custom lengths to fit specific spaces or according to your preference. 

Best LED Strip Lights for Cars Buying Guide

(A van ceiling with LED strip lights)

Before buying LED strip lights for use in or on your car, consider the installation’s application and effect.

Here, we are giving you some tips to help you get your best LED strip lights. 

Number of LED Strips

Before purchasing LED strip lights, ensure a package has the needed number.

Alternatively, buy a strip light long enough to cover the sections you plan on illuminating. 

Number of LEDs per Strip

You can choose standard-density (SD) or high-density (HD) LED strips.

The number of LEDs per strip determines the uniformity of illumination that you will achieve.

HD strips lack dark spots since the LED density is higher than SD strips. 

LED Brightness

If you’re installing LEDs inside your car, we recommend choosing dimmer and warmer LEDs.

Moreover, purchase bright LEDs that guarantee the visibility of up to 100 meters or so for external lights depending on the use. 

Lighting Colors

If you’re buying LED strips to improve your cabin’s mood, buy those with the best colors.

There’s no need to buy one with a single color or with a color combination that you don’t like.   

What to Consider Before Installing LED Strip Lights for Your Car

A man standing beside a car

(A man standing beside a car)

Before installing LED strip lights inside and outside our cars, here’s what to consider.

First, check whether the LED strip lights are compatible with your car’s electrical system.

Generally, go for 12-volt LED strips since most cars run on batteries of a similar capacity. 

Second, consider the brightness level, as bright lights can distract other drivers or cause temporary blindness.

Third, consider the LED strip’s quality for those that guarantee more than 50,000 service hours. 

Fourth, buy LED strips with lights that don’t break the law or are unsuitable for particular car cabins.

Fifth, buy ones that have adhesives for easy installation.

We don’t recommend drilling into your car to install LED strip lights.  

What Determines Your LED Lights Lifespan?

Modern round LED lights on a ceiling

(Modern round LED lights on a ceiling)

LED lights’ lifespans vary depending on factors inherent to the lights or external.

For example, the materials used in manufacturing will go a long way in determining how durable an LED strip is. 

Furthermore, the manufacturing process determines if the lights can work without fail.

LEDs that don’t meet industry standards during testing are bound to fail during use. 

Another determinant is the operating temperature.

LEDs are sensitive to high temperatures as it reduces their lifespans.

Luckily, most users use LEDs in environments with low to medium temperatures, guaranteeing longevity. 

Also, LEDs are sensitive to voltage and current as overdriving them weakens their electrical integrity faster.

If you install LEDs in high humidity, moisture, and dust areas, expect them to degrade more quickly. 

Best Places To Install LED Strip Lights in Cars

Opening a car trunk

(Opening a car trunk)

If you are installing LED strip lights in your car, the best places should be ones that don’t distract the driver or blind the occupants.

For instance, we don’t recommend having bright LED lights on the dashboard or the windscreen.

Here are the best places to install LED strip lights in cars:

  • Behind the seats: Installing warm LED lights is an excellent idea to create a futuristic look that improves your car’s aesthetic value. 
  • In the truck: Install LED strip lights in the trunk to improve visibility while accessing it. 
  • Under the footwells: LED strip lights under the footwell makes it easy to spot items that you drop to the floor.
  • Along door panels
  • Under the dashboard
  • Under the seats
  • In the cup holders

FAQs

Do LED lights cause distractions to drivers?

LED lights can cause distractions to drivers if one aims them poorly or if they are incredibly bright.

LED lights can be very bright, producing a beam of light that may have a blinding effect on other drivers, especially on oncoming traffic. 

Moreover, installing an LED strip in your car’s cabin and in a position that blinds you can cause discomfort.

For example, installing LED lights on the dashboard may distract you and cause temporary blindness. 

Furthermore, LED lights that emit bluish-white light are dangerous to human eyes as they struggle to process the light.

On the other hand, LED lights have different brightness levels, and you need to install them by road safety standards. 

Is it reasonable to install LED lights in a car?

You can install LED lights in a car as long as they don’t violate safety standards and cause distractions to road users.

If you install them in your car, LED lights have several benefits over halogen and incandescent bulbs.

They are durable, energy-efficient, and allow a wide range of customization to suit your preference.

However, we don’t recommend installing multi-color LED lights inside cars as they are distracting.

If you must install LED lights, ensure they are of one color, preferably warm white. 

What color LED lights can you have on your car?

Most federal and national laws state that all lights seen from the front must be amber or white.

All lights visible to road users behind you must be red, amber, or white. 

Therefore, LED lights fall in that classification if you use them to illuminate the road. 

It is also illegal to have red lights on the front of a vehicle other than if it is an emergency vehicle and the country allows it to do so.  

Additionally, if you are installing truck roof lights, avoid the blue and red combination, as it is the one that most police organizations use worldwide. 

How long will an LED strip last on a car battery?

The longevity of a car battery that you use to power an LED strip depends on the battery’s condition and the LED strip’s power consumption.

For example, a 12-volt battery with a 250Ah capacity gives you 3,000W/h (multiply the voltage by ampere hours). 

If you have an LED strip with five LEDs, each consuming 20 watts, the total consumption is 100 watts.

So, to get your battery’s charge lifespan, divide 3000 watt hours by the LED power consumption to get 30 hours. 

Moreover, LEDs consume roughly 0.2 watts, so a one-meter strip with 60 LEDs consumes about 12 watts.

A 250Ah battery will power the LEDs for 250 hours before draining out ((250Ah*12V)/12 watts).  

Conclusion

LED strip lights improve your car’s mood and visibility, especially in areas like the trunk and footwells.

However, it would be best if you were careful to ensure that you don’t break your local and federal laws concerning car lights. 

Moreover, angle the LED strips in ways that don’t distract or cause temporary blindness for other road users.

Moreso, if the lights are bright or of a color that the human eye struggles to process.

Lastly, buy quality LED lights and enjoy more than 50,000 service hours.