LEDs for head, tail and turn signal lights
LED lights for cars come in many shapes and sizes. LEDs are great for tail light and turn signals. They’re also beginning to be used for headlamps, although that application presents some problems. LEDs produce a fair amount of heat at the base of the diode, as opposed to traditional incandescents, which emit the light forward as infrared radiation.
If you’re thinking of replacing your turn signals, tail or parking lights with LEDs, you should be aware of a few things. For one, use an LED that’s the same color as the lens. A red lens, for instance, will filter out all but the red part of the spectrum, so most of the light from a red LED will get through. If you used a white LED with a red lens, the lens would filter out most of the light.
Issues with standard flashers
The flasher units used to make incandescent light bulbs turn on and off, as with turn signal lights, won’t work properly with LEDs due to their lower voltage draw. LEDs used for turn signals require an electronic flasher, which are usually available from the LED retailer, or at an auto parts store. You can also use a load resistor to simulate the voltage draw of an incandescent bulb.
While LEDs are not as bright as incandescents overall, they have many advantages. LEDs are solid state, so they’re much more durable and longer lasting. They also turn on and off faster, and come in a wide variety of colors.
To replace your current car lights with LEDs, find the bulb type and model that you currently have and cross-reference to find a suitable LED replacement. LEDs come with standard bayonet and dual contact bases, and empty sockets and adapter kits are also available.
Beyond functional lights
If you’re not looking to replace your turn signals or tail lights, and are more interested in dressing up your car with decorative lights, there are a wide variety of LEDs available. The most popular are light bars and strips, colored dashboard lights, dome lights, door handle lights and under-car LED lights. LEDs are ideal for this type of lighting since they’re very small and unobtrusive, and can be easily installed in small spaces.
There’s no question LEDs will gain more and more traction in car lighting. Their durability, efficiency and wide spectrum of colors make them ideal for all kinds of applications. Before purchasing though, be sure to check compatibility with your current lights.