How to Wire 12V LED Strip Lights in Car?

Adding LED lights to a car is an excellent way to include some style and color. The 12V LED strip is currently the most popular for using lights in your vehicles, thanks to its durability and a wide range of power usage.

As it’s cheaper than a pair of speakers, it’s also effortless to install one into your car. So without further ado, let’s show you how to wire one into your ride.

Before You Proceed

Make sure to remove any dirt from your LED stripes by rubbing them gently with a washcloth. If your car has a hydraulic jack, it’s recommended to utilize it for better access to the underside of the vehicle. If your vehicle doesn’t have a hydraulic jack, it’s okay.

Setting the LED in Your Vehicle

Set the LED strips underneath the vehicle. It’s recommended to make use of any sort of utility that allows you to attach the LED strips in a more secure way, including bolts, brackets, or other openings. Use zip-ties to procure your LED light.

It’s recommended to use the zip-ties for every 12 inches of the LED strip. Another way is to use a double tape, but it may not be strong enough to securely attach the strip for a long time. Now all that’s left is to wire the lights.

Finding the 12V Accessory Wire

Since we’re using the car battery to power our LED strips, it’s essential to find a wire that will supply the necessary 12V to power the lights. There are two AA batteries in a car, a DC12V battery and a 3.7V rechargeable battery which can be used to power the lights.

To begin with, we need to find out where the battery is using the car manual. Take off the black plastic cover right next to the battery. Then, by removing the terminal end cap, find the pigtail wires coming out. We will use this wire to tap in our strips. The color of the wire does not matter.

Connect the Wire to the Battery

With a wiretap connector, connect the wires of the strip to the pigtail wires. Tap the red wire of the strip in the positive and the black wire in the negative part of the battery terminal.

If the wiring in the rear bumper is not long enough to reach the front, use the extension wires that come with the package.

Using an Accessory Wire to Power Your LEDs

The wires that come with the accessories of the car may be managed to power your strip. The recommended ones are.

  • Behind the car stereo
  • The cigarette lighting socket wiring
  • The fuse box of the vehicle’s interior

For this, you need to use a Digital test meter to check if the output is +12V and enough to supply power to the LED.

CAUTION: it’s recommended to NOT use accessory wires because the simple test resorting to the meter might not indicate the actual potential of the wire. It can then lead to using a lower-voltage wire to the strip and cause your LED to fail permanently. Therefore, it’s recommended to use the battery to power the LED lights.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you connect 12v LED strip lights to a car battery?

There are a few ways to do this, but here's one way:

1. Cut the LED strip light to the desired length and peel off the backing.

2. Twist each end of the LED strip around a connector (or use pliers).

3. Strip about 1/4" of insulation from each wire and twist it around the corresponding connector screws on the battery pack (or use a screwdriver).

4. Close up the battery pack and test your new LED lights!

Do 12V LED light strips need a transformer?

It depends on the wattage of the LED light strip. If the LED light strip is less than or equal to 5 watts, it does not need a transformer. If the LED light strip is greater than 5 watts, it needs a transformer.

Do LED strip lights drain car battery?

LED strip lights are a great way to add some extra light to your car and can be really helpful when trying to change a tire at night. However, one thing you need to be aware of is that they can drain your car battery if you leave them on for too long.

So if you're going to be using your LED strip lights in your car, make sure you turn them off when you're done using them. This will help ensure that your car battery stays charged and ready to go when you need it.

Final Note

The recommended wire to tap your strip is an 18-core wire gauge. To use power from other wires like speaker wires and USBs, you have to consider balancing out the wire gauge to get the necessary amperage.

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