Hey guys! Welcome back to Visual Tech Reviews. Today I am going to be showing you step by step on how to install led lights in your car interior to turn on with your engine! It is actually pretty easy, you just need an hour or less depending on how handy you claim yourself to be, and how complicated your car is. The lights I am going to be using are from LEDGlow that I bought for a nice price at Walmart in which you can check out my awesome review of them by clicking here.
Walmart has variety of collection of LED lights which makes easy for you in selection. Also the return policy at Walmart makes you more easy to return or exchange the items if any damage or you did not like it anymore. Before you return any item check out Walmart electronics return policy for easy returns. Anyways, Let’s get right to it.
1. Securing your LED Lights
I personally zip tied my led lights to anything that doesn’t move and feels sturdy as you can see in the picture here. You want to find a good place where they won’t be messed with or have a danger of the wires getting pulled (can happen if you don’t think about that when you are placing the lights under your front seats to have lighting in the back seats). Make sure you will have enough wire length to go from wherever you want your LED tubes to be to reach the lighting control box.
Carefully tuck all the wiring under your carpet mats or anywhere that is secure and hidden. Take a walk around the car and see if you can see any wires poking out from the led lights themselves. You want to make it look as professional as you can. Once all your lighting tubes are set into place, and you have your control box where you want it. We need to get started on where you will connect the power source.
2. Locate your 12V Power Source.
Now this is the main ingredient to getting your lights to turn on with your engine. Look for your fuse box inside your vehicle. If you don’t know what a fuse box is, it is basically multiple small pieces of metal strips inside plastic coverings that protect your car from getting too much electricity at one moment. So if too much voltage or current goes through your fuse, it will break since it is a thin piece of metal, thus protecting whatever is connected through the fuse. I suggest opening another tab in google and typing your car make and model along with the words ‘fuse box location’. This should be a quick way to find out where yours is.
If your fuse box is located under your driver dash, you are in luck and wiring your lights will be extra easy. However, if your fuse box is located under your hood (Like my car), it will just take a bit more work, that’s all.
Your fuse box may have a cover on it like mine, so if you can’t find it, look for some covered looking boxes that has a cover which can easily be removed. It shouldn’t be that hard to find.
3. Wiring your LED control box to your Fuse Box
After you know where your fuse box is, you may be wondering ‘How am I going to get the wires needed from my control box to my fuse box?’ Depending on where exactly your fuse box is, let me explain how to get it wired up.
Fuse Box Located Inside your Cabin (Car Interior) Already:
If your fuse box is already inside your vehicle, then like I mentioned before you are in luck. Most of the times your fuse box will not have a cover if it is inside your cabin, and If your fuse box does not have a cover over all of your fuses… move on to step 4!
However, if your fuse box does have a cover, you have two options. You can either just leave the cover off since it is in your cabin and shouldn’t really get wet or filthy depending on how clean you keep your car. OR you can make a very small hole to allow your wire to pass through your cover. Which I did, but in my case, I pretty much had to because I couldn’t leave my cover off due to it being under my car hood. See the next picture below to see the slight hole I made to allow wiring to pass through.
In the picture above you can see I drilled a hole just small enough to fit any wires I want into my fuse box cover to be able to reach any fuse.
Fuse Box IS NOT Located Inside your Cabin (Car Interior) Already:
Ah well this kinda sucks doesn’t it? Don’t worry, it isn’t too bad getting it wired up. So I am going to assume your fuse box is under your hood like mine. What you are essentially going to have to do is find a way to get from the inside of your car (cabin) to under your hood (engine bay). Look around for any possible openings there may be including in your car door, under your pedals, on your passenger side foot well, etc.
I just spent some time on google finding where there was any openings from my cabin to my engine bay. Luckily I found a forum from someone trying to do the same thing as me and wire interior led lights on a Dodge Avenger. I found a small rubber grommet on my drivers side, behind my pedals that leads to my engine bay. I made a very small X shaped cut into the grommet to allow me to pull the wires though to be able to get to my fuse box. You can see the pictures below.
You might have to spend more than just 10 minutes looking for a way to get your wires under your hood, but where there is a will, there is a way!
4. Find which Fuse turns on with Engine
This is where you will have to do some fun experimenting. What you will do is test all the 10 amp fuses, and see which fuse supplies electricity only when the ignition is on. I connected the positive wire to into the fuse slot opening along with the fuse inserted, and the negative wire to any bolt or screw on the car for ground. Here is what I suggest to do:
1. Look online or in your car manual which 10 amp fuse is activated with ignition. For example, if you have heated seats that only work when the car is turned on, then your manual would say something like “Heated Seats – Fuse 5A – Ignition” to where 5A is the location of the fuse within your fuse box.
2. Look for a bolt or screw that is connected to your car frame to connect your negative wire that is nearby your fuse box. You want to make sure that the bolt does indeed supply negative power (ground) to your lights so don’t fully attach them yet. You can hold the wire up to the bolt while testing multiple fuses, at least that is what I did carefully. If all the fuses you test don’t work at all, then maybe your bolt isn’t supplying ground power so you can just try another one nearby. Remember that you need positive power AND ground (negative) power in order for the lights to work.
See the photo below to show that I found a simple bolt near my fuse box that gave me ground for all my cool electrical projects. (As you can see I have more than one wire attached to this bolt due to myself also having a light bar in my car grille)
3. Take out fuses and start testing them, but only test fuses with small amps (10 Amps and 15 Amps). Even thought your LED light kit contains a fuse (Worst comes to worst your light kit fuse would blow) just be safe by connecting your lights to a smaller fuse amp amount. To test them, simply grab a 10 amp fuse and remove it from its slotted opening location. You then put the positive wire into that slot, and push the wire in by re inserting the fuse back into its location there. Now you should have the wire somewhat secure ‘squished’ under the fuse, so while holding your ground up to a nearby bolt, see if your lights turn on when you turn your ignition on (start your engine).
4. If your lights turn on while your car is off, that means there is always electricity running through that fuse, so don’t use that one. It would drain your battery out. Keep testing all the fuses until you find the one. It shouldn’t take too long to figure it out.
5. Securely Connect your Lights for Long Term Use
This is the final step. So you know which fuse you are going to use, have your wires all tucked away, and ready for securing your wiring to your desired fuse. Although you could essentially stick your positive LED wire wrapped around your inserted fuse, which is what I did at first for a while, this is what I Strongly recommend if you want to do things properly:
Buy a very cheap fuse adapter like this one. Plug the adapter into the fuse location you want to use, wire your positive LED wire to the adapter as well as reinsert your fuse from your car into the adapter. Everything is a lot more secure this way instead of just squishing your wire inside your fuse outlets, along with your fuse sitting on top of it. See the picture below for an example of how the adapter is used
After you have secured your positive wire, as well as your ground wire under or around your desired bolt that supplies grounding for your lights… You are done! Close your fuse box cover if needed, close your hood, and test them out to make sure everything works just great. Now you got your self some awesome feeling interior lights.
If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or advice, feel free to leave a comment or email me personally. I will get back to you as soon as I can, have fun!