An LED light bar is an auxiliary electrical light fixture that is used to enhance visibility while driving. The device consists of several LED light bulbs strategically designed to illuminate a dark road and ease driver comfort with long-distance vision. Several SUVs, off-road Cars and emergency vehicles use light bars as an effective light source for motorists. This article answers the question of what is LED light bar and how to install it.
What is an LED light bar?
As outdoor excursions increase in popularity, more drivers are taking long road trips to explore new places. Of course, you can’t rely on street lighting in remote corners or on off-road tracks. The stock headlight assembly could prove inadequate in certain low-light situations requiring a powerful set of bulbs to help you drive. A light bar with LED bulbs is the perfect accessory for off-road vehicles and for Indian roads that need extra illumination to tackle.
LED light bars are a set of lights that are assembled in a horizontal crossbar assembly. With the help of mounting brackets and clips, you could secure an LED light bar on the front bumper, roof or just above the windshield. A quick search on internet car accessory stores online will return numerous Led light bars at a range of price points, sizes, specifications and designs.
LED light bars come in handy during inclement weather when rain and fog tend to obscure driver visibility. Fog lights and auxiliary lamps need to be more powerful to cut through a thunderstorm on the highway. Light bars can be used at a campsite or while hunting to locate the gear and navigate the surroundings. Prices for good quality light bars range from about Rs.3000-5000 and usually come with all the brackets and mounting fixtures to install the accessory on your vehicle.
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Steps to install an LED light bar on your car
After knowing how useful an LED light bar can be, you need to learn how to install one on your vehicle. These accessories can be installed quickly using a few hand tools in the comfort of your garage.
Prepare the car
You need to disconnect the car battery before installing any electrical device on your car. Keep the wiring harness laid out on your garage floor along with the light bar, relay, fuses and control switches in the correct order.
Decide on the mounting position
Choose a spot on the front bumper or roof of the car. Mark the positions of the mounting brackets with a piece of masking tape.
Use a drill to make holes in the body panel or use special clips to secure the bracket. Attach the necessary bolts and nuts and run the wiring through them in a concealed fashion.
Set the switch in place
Run the wires through the firewall into the dashboard or centre console to connect the switch. The control switch should be in an easily accessible spot while driving.
Connect the wiring
The light bar will come with a red and black wire which you connect to the positive and negative terminals of the battery. Use a tie to group the wires and secure it to the inside of the engine bay.
Add the relay and fuse
Use a relay switch and appropriate fuse to prevent short circuits and to save the LED light bar from damage due to power surges. Hook up the light bar to the wiring harness and adjust the angle for proper light beam focus.
Test the light bar
Once you have completed all these steps, turn on the car and test the light bar. It should switch on when you flip the on/off switch. Remember to switch the light bar off when you exit the car otherwise it may drain the battery.
Also read: Different types of car batteries
LED light bars are a useful addition to your vehicle. They can be used on a dark stretch of road, while off-roading in emergencies or just to add a stylish look to your SUV.
Adding auxiliary lights can be a safety regulation in certain states as it can hamper vision for oncoming motorists. So, check with local authorities before installing aftermarket light bars.
Take precautions when handling electrical equipment. Use insulated gloves and disconnect power sources before starting work on your car.
It is no secret that LED light bars make your driving that much easier. Go ahead and install these snazzy devices for your next road tour or camping excursion.
Have a look at other such interesting articles on the Carorbis blog. You may like to read about Restore Headlights At Home and a Guide To Everything You Should Know About Light Bars.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How install LED light bar?
Ans. Disconnect the car battery before working on the electrical systems of a vehicle. Install the wiring harness and place the light bar in the desired position, either on the bumper or on the roof of the car. Use mounting brackets (you may have to drill some holes for harnessing bolts) for the LED light bar and connect them to the control switch.
Q2. Are light bars worth it?
Ans. Light bars enhance your vision in low-light situations during night-time driving or in the absence of street lights. An LED light bar allows you to see oncoming vehicles, obstacles on the road, and a clear view through the windshield. These devices are a good safety investment especially if you tour the highways or less travelled roads often.
Q3. Why use a relay on a light bar?
Ans. A relay is used to reduce the high current flowing from the battery and convert it to a low current setting that is suitable for the LED light bar. A surge in voltage can cause damage to the sensitive LED bulbs designed to work at a constant low voltage, yet provide high brightness.
Q4. Why do I need a relay for LED lights?
Ans. Without a relay, the LED light bulb will not handle a high current from the electrical supply. You may risk blowing an LED because these bulbs work at a low voltage. It is a good idea to use a fuse in this electrical circuit to save the light bar in case there is a power surge.
Q5. How to mount light bar?
Ans. It is better to mount the LED light bulb higher up on the vehicle to provide better illumination of the road while driving. Many SUVs owners mount the light bar on the roof. Simple brackets with drilled holes can secure the light bar to the vehicle body. Mounting the light bar on the bumper may provide only a narrow light beam and hamper long-distance vision.
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Q6. How to mount LED light bar without drilling?
Ans. You can use a roof-mounted rack to install LED light bars without drilling holes in the metal body panels. Roof rails are common on most vehicles and mounting brackets can be placed on them with simple nuts and bolts to secure them in position. Drilling holes is not advisable as it compromises the structural integrity of the body panel.
Q7. Which LED light bar is the brightest?
Ans. Usually, a white LED light will provide the brightest illumination as it closely resembles the colour of sunlight. Some brands that have extremely bright light bars include Vision X, Hella, Nilight LEDs, Rigidhorse and Zmoon. These lights are suitable for cars, SUVs, boats, off-road work and heavy vehicles. A power rating of 120 watts is sufficient for most applications.
Q8. Which LED light bar is best?
Ans. LED lights with a power rating of up to 400 watts are bright enough to use on vehicles in off-road applications and on long road trips. Consult with your local road authorities for the maximum brightness allowed on vehicles as they may cause inconvenience to oncoming traffic in cities. KC HiLites is a popular brand among SUV owners for its durability and clear illumination.
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Q9. Do LED lights run out of battery?
Ans. LED lights will not drain the car battery because they don’t consume a large amount of power while the engine is running. LED lights consume half the power of halogen bulbs while offering the same level of brightness. The car’s alternator will recharge the battery as power is consumed so you don’t have to worry about a flat battery on the road.
Q10. What relay is used for LED light bar?
Ans. Relays are just electrical switches that convert a high voltage to a low voltage that can be supplied to the LED light bar. Without a relay, you may risk overloading the circuit and damaging the LED light bar. Any electrical circuit that uses about 40 amps will need a relay for safe operation.
Q11. How to wire led light bar without relay?
Ans. You can use a fuse in the circuit if you want to wire the LED light bar without a relay. Connect a suitably rated fuse between the battery and the control switch. If there is a sudden surge in the electrical system, the fuse will blow out and break the circuit before any damage to the LED light bar can occur. The fuse can then be replaced to get the Light Bar operational again.
Q12. How to wire LED light bar to high beam?
Ans. Purchase a piggyback connector for the fuse that operates the headlight beams and connect it to the electrical circuit for the installed LED light bar. Whenever you switch on the high beam on your factory headlights, it draws power and operates the LED light bar. This saves you the trouble of having an extra switch exclusively for the LED light bar.
Q13. How to test LED light bar with battery?
Ans. Wire the electrical circuit from the battery to an LED light bar using a relay switch and a suitable fuse between the components. When you power it up to test the LED light bar, the fuse and relay will protect the components from power surges. You should test the connections before you install the LED light bar in the vehicle to avoid issues while driving.
Q14. How to repair LED light bar?
Ans. LEDs will usually have to replace if they get damaged. If you notice that your light bar is not working, try charging or replacing the car battery. A low voltage in the circuit can cause dimming of the LEDs or you will see an alternating light pattern. Basically, the LEDs are not getting enough power to illuminate.
Q15. How many amps fuse for LED light bar?
Ans. In electrical circuits, you need to determine the power rating and divide it by the voltage input to find out the current rating of the fuse. So, for a 1000-watt circuit with an input voltage of 240 volts, you will need a 1000 / 240 = 4.16-ampere fuse to safeguard the circuit from power surges.
Q16. How many watts is a good LED light bar?
Ans. Good LED light bars have low wattage and high lumen (brightness capacity). Standard LED light bars have a power rating of 120 watts, while some other light bars may be in the range of 240 to 300 watts.
Q17. How much does it cost to install LED light bar?
Ans. LED light bars can be purchased for around Rs.5000 from a reputed brand like Hella. There are cheaper LED light bars available, however, you cannot rely on these accessories as they may fail without warning leaving you without a proper view of the road.
Q18. Why do LED light bars need a relay?
Ans. Relays are used on LED light bars that draw a large current and voltage. The relay will protect the electrical circuit and LED bulbs from damage in the case of a power surge. If your light bar is rated at 40 amps or above, you should install a relay.
Q19. Who makes the brightest light bar?
Ans. Vision X is a brand of LED light bars that are known for high levels of illumination. They are known as the brightest LED light bars in the world and are used on vehicles such as Ford SUVs.
Q20. How long will LED light bar last on battery?
Ans. If the engine is not running, and the LED light bar is drawing power directly from the car battery, it should last for around 1- 2 hours before draining out of energy. This also depends on the light bar rating and car battery capacity.
Q21. Are cheap LED light bars any good?
Ans. You should avoid cheap LED light bars as they will not be bright enough and there are chances of them failing after a short while of continuous use.