Tricking out your car with eye-catching mods is half the fun of ownership. One way to add unique style and visibility is installing LED lights in the hood. Underhood neon used to be solely show car territory, but modern LEDs make it accessible.
Hood-mounted LEDs can transform the look of your car and make it stand out. But proper selection and installation are key to unlocking benefits rather than problems.
Let’s take a look at executing tasteful LED hood lighting that enhances your ride’s exterior ambiance.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Underhood LED Lights
Adding LED strips or pods in the hood brings several advantages:
- Unique style and custom look not found on any factory vehicle
- Added visibility of engine bay for nighttime shows and cruises
- Highlights and accents exterior paint and body lines
- Modern LEDs are durable, energy efficient, and long-lasting
- Provides distinctive “underglow” accent lighting around the car
- Catch people’s attention and interest wherever you roll up
The lighting possibilities are limited mostly by your imagination. Just avoid overdoing it.
Choosing the Right LED Hood Lights
With so many LED lighting options available, selecting the proper setup involves:
- Matching LED color to vehicle exterior – Consider white, blue, red or RGB multicolor.
- Picking LED strip shape/configuration – Select strips shaped to body contours for a flush fit.
- Determining LED brightness needs – Brighter, higher density LEDs show well in daylight.
- Ensuring weatherproofing – IP65 or higher rating means water resistant for underhood use.
- Getting a 12V system – Most hood lights run on 12V DC and need a compatible transformer.
- Checking vehicle clearance – Measure to ensure lights and wiring clear moving parts.
Best Practices for LED Hood Light Installation
Proper placement and wiring is critical to maximizing LED life, safety and aesthetics:
- Mount strips carefully using automotive-grade double sided tape for paint protection and durability.
- Clean and degrease hood surface thoroughly before applying LED strip adhesive.
- Route wiring cleanly through weatherproof grommets to interior 12V power source.
- Use automotive grade quick disconnects for easy light strip removal if needed.
- Protect and conceal wiring under trim panels or behind bumpers. Avoid wiring dangling loose.
- Confirm LEDs don’t obstruct driver sight lines or vehicle sensors.
Taking the time for a careful, integrated installation prevents headaches down the road.
Wiring LED Hood Lights Safely
Since most hood LEDs draw relatively low current, wiring is straightforward:
- Tap 12V power from interior cabin LED supplies or cigarette lighter ports using appropriate gauge automotive wire.
- Install an inline fuse for safety near the power source.
- Use crimp connections and heat shrink tubing for corrosion resistance and durability.
- Connect a basic on/off dashboard switch to control the lights.
- If desired, use a 12V automotive relay to trigger strips via key fob or door triggers.
- Verify no wires or LED strips contact hot or moving engine components.
Safely routing and securing wiring is key to hood light longevity.
Troubleshooting Common LED Hood Light Problems
While LEDs are reliable, issues can arise:
- If one section doesn’t light, check for damage or a bad connection.
- Flickering is a sign of low voltage or faulty grounds.
- Loose mounting causes vibration that can damage LEDs.
- Exposed wiring leads to shorts and fires – protect and inspect routinely.
Most problems come down to installation, so take care in the beginning.
Achieving the Desired Look with LED Hood Lighting
The possibilities for accenting your ride are endless with LED hood lighting done right. Just use restraint and care. If a little looks great, avoid overdoing it.
Use lighting to accentuate your car’s best features rather than overpower them. With smart LED placement, wiring and color choices, your car will shine brighter than ever.
LED hood lighting can give your car serious nighttime presence when installed properly. Matching the lights to your exterior, protecting wiring, and integrating controls help ensure both form and function. While not strictly necessary, few mods catch the eye quite like tastefully done underhood neon. So take your time, do it right, stay safe, and light up your ride.