Making your own LED tail lights is a great way to save money and customize your vehicle. Not only are LED taillights more efficient and longer-lasting than traditional filament bulbs, but they can also be fun and add personality to your car or truck.
This article will show you how to make led tail lights using simple materials that you can find at any hardware store. We will also provide tips for choosing the right LEDs for your project. So let’s get started!
8 Advantages of Using Led Tail Lights
1. They are brighter than the stock tail lights.
2. Their light is white instead of red/yellow/orange.
3. No more burnt bulbs! If one bulb goes out with led, the other ones still work fine. So you won’t have to change your tail lights yearly or monthly.
4. They run cooler than regular tail lights.
5. They can be seen better because they’re brighter and whiter.
6. They use less power than regular tail lights, resulting in lower car insurance rates as long as the head/taillights are up to code.
7. They will last longer than regular tail lights.
8. People tend to notice led tail lights more, which is great if you’re into showing off your ride or want more excellent safety for yourself and your family when driving at night!
Materials Needed for the Work:
- Resistors for the lights
- Wire Stripping Tool
- Soldering Iron or Butt Connectors (12V)
- Sand Paper, Grinder, Dremel tool, Etc.
- Light Sockets
- Drilling Machine
- Drill Bits (1/32, 3/32, 1/8)
Step by Step Process: How to Make Led Tail Lights
Step 1: Prepare Your Work Area
Make sure you have all the materials you need before starting. For example, you do not want anything to roll onto your legs if you drop something on your leg, so put a blanket out for yourself to work on and cover it with a towel or old sheet that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Turn off any fans or ACs in your work area. It makes a huge difference. If you are working inside, make sure the windows are closed, and any heat registers are turned off before starting.
You don’t want anything sucking out that hot soldering air or drafty cool air ruining an LED if you drop something on yourself!
Step 2: Prepare the Light Fixture
Remove all lightbulbs from the fixture that you are going to work on. You want a completely dark room if possible, so not having a bright light shining in your eyes makes a huge difference for soldering and seeing what you’re doing.
If you have a fixture plugged into an outlet with nothing attached, cover it with a towel to prevent any little fingers or curious pets from accidentally coming into contact with an AC line.
Step 3: Remove the Tapping Screws
These are the screws that hold the plastic “lenses” onto my light fixture. I used an old flat head screwdriver with most of the tip ground off, which worked very well at not breaking the screws.
If you don’t have a screwdriver that works, try using a pair of pliers to loosen and unscrew the screws gently.
Make sure to hold onto them as they do fall out when they are loosened! You wouldn’t want these rolling across your floor or getting lost if they fall on your leg!
Step 4: Separate the Lens from the Fixture
Turn your lamp upside down and gently but firmly wiggle it back and forth. The lens should come off with a bit of maneuvering.
If you have trouble getting it off, try using pliers to grip one side of the top or bottom of the lens and gently pull up or down while you wiggle the lamp.
The lens should come off pretty quickly and without breaking if you’re gentle and don’t rush it.
Step 5: Finish Prepping Your Light Fixture
You want to remove any metal mount holding the wiring for your bulb in place, but be careful not to damage anything on the fixture.
I used a pair of pliers to hold down a metal spring that holds the bulb in place and then gently pulled up on it until it came out without breaking anything. It just takes a little patience and being careful with how you do things.
Step 6: Get Your Soldering Iron Ready
You will need your soldering iron to be hot enough for this project, so let it warm up before you start. If you are experienced with soldering, you should know how hot your iron needs.
If not, err on the side of caution and let it get hotter than usual, but still able to solder easily. You can always turn it down if it is too hot or wait for it to cool off a bit if it is too cool.
I turn my iron on and let it heat up for about 5 minutes, but I also have a temperature-controlled soldering iron.
If you don’t, the easiest way to adjust the temperature is by turning off your iron when it is hot enough and adjusting the knob while it cools to get it how you want.
Step 7: Solder Your Wire to LED
You want to solder your wire to the flat part of your diode where there is a gap between the two centrepieces. You want to solder the wire as closely as possible to where you cut it.
You will see two little metal “legs” sticking up from the middle of the diode that is about even and parallel with each other and where they connect to the diode on the bottom is where you want your wire.
Step 8: Test Your Soldering
You should test your soldering job before you solder everything else in place. If the LED turns on, you know it is an efficient connection and can continue.
If not, heat your iron and try re-soldering the wire/diode again until the LED turns on. Don’t give up, and this is not an easy job for anyone to do the first time!
Step 9: Finish Soldering Your Wire to LED
If your lights are working, solder your wire to the LED as close as possible to the connection you just made.
The more surface area touching each other, the better it will be. You can use electrical tape or heat shrink tubing to ensure that no connection is exposed and the wire cannot fray, but it isn’t necessary for this job.
Step 10: Re-Assemble Your Light Fixture
Once you solder your wire to your LED, all you have left to do is put everything back together! This is probably the most important part of soldering.
It can be a dangerous mistake if done incorrectly, and it takes practice to get good at it. I suggest purchasing an adjustable temperature-controlled soldering station.
The thing that makes or breaks a good solder connection is the tip temperature when in contact with the metals being joined, not the temperature of the solder itself. That being said, this isn’t a job you want to have happened in the middle of a piece.
It is best to solder in the right temperature range, which means holding the iron at the correct temperature when in contact with your metals.
Some Helpful Tips and Advice:
Here are some helpful tips to make led tail lights.
1. The LED taillight that you are making will last longer if it’s not exposed to water or harsh weather conditions.
2. If your car is older, check if the exterior lights are 12v or 24v. This project depends on how much power the battery puts out. The higher the voltage, the brighter it will be at night!
3. Putting the LED strip around the entire tail light will make it more visible to other drivers. Just make sure to use enough electrical tape, so you don’t accidentally cut any wires!
4. If you are not satisfied with your first attempt, try again! Build another one or experiment with different ways of putting the LEDs on your car.
5. Use two different color LEDs to make your car look unique! I used Two-Tone to stand out. Waterproof the connections with grease or nail polish.
6. Look for more additional projects you can do to have a cool light show at night!
Is it Possible to Put Led Bulbs in Tail Lights?
Yes, you can easily replace the bulbs inside tail lights with LEDs. Just be sure that your vehicle is compatible with led lights before purchasing any for your tail lights.
If you have a newer model vehicle, this is likely the case. Even so, it’s important to check with a mechanic or dealer before attempting this, as some vehicles may not be compatible with led bulbs in tail lights.
Note that the compatibility only covers the type of bulb and socket used in your vehicle. With this said, you want to order your LED tail lights with the corresponding type of socket.
However, if you are looking for complete universal fitment or even fitment for a specific car model, there will usually be instructions on how to do so.
How Can I Put Led Tail Lights in my Car?
If you want to make your own led tail lights, you need a lot of information on the subject. This is because there are many components involved within this kind of project, and it’s important to know what each one does.
This is why there are several steps needed before attempting this process yourself. First, look at your tail lights to see if they have two filaments going through them. If they do, you could install LEDs in one or both bulbs.
However, if there is only one filament present, you cannot simply put an LED in that light, and it will not work out well for you.
In addition, you need to know which type of bulb is used in your tail lights. If it is an 1156 incandescent, this process will work well for you as the LEDs are directly compatible with those bulbs.
You can also use a non-1156 bulb and replace it with a led light with the same base. After you determine that your vehicle is compatible, purchase some LED lights to use.
If you are interested in making led tail lights, this blog post on how to make led tail lights has provided a simple guide to get started.
It is essential to scrub the surface of your light with a rubber pad or sponge before using any paint. Once you have completed this step, all that’s left is to apply two coats of spray paint and let it dry for 24 hours.
If you are looking for a way to be more environmentally friendly, or if your car is not equipped with LED taillights, then making them yourself might be the best option.
So have fun making some new cool LED tail lights, but remember not to forget about safety!