Guide to buying LED car bulbs
LED car bulbs have become one of the latest novelties to reach our vehicles. Some bulbs that are already part of the original equipment of many vehicles, although they are also gradually being incorporated into traditional vehicles, despite the cost of adapting them. Anyway, whether you are looking for new bulbs for your car or if you want to reform an older vehicle, we leave you the advice of our guide to buy the best LED bulbs for your car, with the necessary guidelines so that your purchase illuminates you as well as possible.
The first thing we have to take into account when buying one of these bulbs is their power. This power varies according to models, so we have different levels and designs regarding this parameter.
Starting with conventional or front lighting bulbs, there are many options we have, famous for including the H designation and a number: H1, H4, H7, etc. This number determines the type of conventional manufacture of the lamp and also the power level of the same, which is around 55 to 60 watts approximately.
However, in LED car models, as in conventional light bulbs, these have a lower level of consumption, around 5 to 10 watts approximately. In this case, the important thing is to verify the equivalent level and the degree of lighting that they offer, which should always meet the necessary standards to see everything clearly, depending on the bulb we are talking about.
Just as important as choosing a good product is that it is approved. Some non-approved LED car bulbs may be cheaper, but they will end up giving us many headaches both in the form of fines and problems when passing the ITV.
This aspect is important when it comes to replacement LED car bulbs for which our vehicle was delivered as standard, but it is even more important when we are doing a reform of our vehicle, in which we are going to be forced to present the homologation documents corresponding, since without them we will not be able to legalize the corresponding reform.
Therefore, when buying good and inexpensive LED car bulbs it is key to have such approval. But it is also essential that it is legal, since many manufacturers of low-cost bulbs “simulate” the approvals, which then are not such and end up causing problems. Spend the time you need to evaluate said approval and its veracity. Saving how much a cheap and poorly approved bulb costs in the end will be a problem.
Each space has its light bulb
One of the advantages of the current market is that there are LED car bulbs for everything. As proof, if we take a look at any comparison of LED bulbs for cars we will see that there are bulbs for lighting, for position lights, turn signals and even for interiors. Therefore, it is essential that we bet on the correct bulb for each place.
Someone will think that we are talking about a truism, but the truth is that some bulbs could be connected in the same place, due to their size and connector. That is why it is essential that we have the correct bulb in each area of the vehicle. Verifying it is as simple as reading its instructions.
In addition to the aforementioned, it is essential to verify that each bulb has the corresponding technical parameters, with regard to the way in which each of them illuminates . As an example, the lights that we use for the license plate must always be white, while the illumination lights can be white or yellow, but never blue. So all these aspects should also take into account when buying suitable bulbs.
As a final step, a little extra for your search, we talk about the importance of refrigeration. LED car bulbs, mainly those for the main headlights, have a high demand operating level that generates a high amount of heat when operating. Failure to evacuate that heat can shorten the life of the bulb.
Therefore, it is essential that the LED car bulb that we choose has an efficient and quality cooling system. It is something in which products often fail us, but given the operating temperatures of the bulbs and also the high temperatures that we usually have in summer, it is key to verify that the bulb ventilates correctly.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: What are the advantages of homologated LED car bulbs?
Approved car bulbs have passed an inspection and control procedure that verifies that their functions are adequate in accordance with what is established by law. This has the advantage that the bulb is safer and that it will not give us problems when passing the ITV, since its adaptation to the regulations is correct. In this regard, it is always advisable to keep the packaging or documents that accompany the bulb, in case there are problems during the inspection process.
Q2: Is it legal to use LED car bulbs for car license plate?
According to the current traffic regulations, there is no reason why LED lights cannot be brought to illuminate the license plate of our vehicle. However, the code does establish certain limitations regarding the type of bulb to be used. Specifically, said bulb must be white, which eliminates those bulbs whose color temperature can tend to blue or yellow. However, this is something that manufacturers have already taken into account when offering their products, so it is not usually a source of problems.
Q3: Can I use car LED bulbs in the car instrument cluster?
As long as the corresponding connectivity allows it, in principle there are no more inconveniences when using this type of bulbs. There is also no legal limitation in this regard. What is important is that these LED car bulbs have certain characteristics, since the high brightness of these bulbs can be a problem in dark situations, such as those that occur in the cabin of our vehicle.
Q4: Are there LED car bulbs for position and brake?
LED car bulbs are now being implemented in all parts of the vehicle, so it is already easy to find bulbs for position and brake lights. Anyway, when buying these bulbs it is essential that we buy that they have been designed for each area of the vehicle. Mainly because each bulb has a specific size, type of connector and lighting parameters.
Q5: How can I change the halogen bulbs for car LED bulbs in the car?
The change from halogen bulbs to LED car bulbs in our vehicle is considered a major reform. Therefore, it will require authorization from the ITV after inspection and delivery of the corresponding documentation. At a technical level, the process requires changing the structure of the lighthouse for one that is compatible with each type of light. It is key to remember that the optics of the lighthouse, the area where the light is reflected, varies between the different types of light generated. Hence this obligation arises.
Q6: Can LED car bulbs be put in the car?
LED car bulbs have become an interesting complement for our vehicle, there being no inconvenience to use them legally. However, it is essential that these bulbs are approved, or that they comply with the established legal requirements, regarding connectivity and the brightness they offer, in order to avoid dazzling. A somewhat complex legal process that, for now, is not particularly cheap either.
Q7: Is it advisable to use car LED bulbs for car turn signals?
The LED lights for turn signals are other interesting elements to give a different touch to our vehicle. However, as far as their recommendation is concerned, there is no special approach in this regard. Mainly because this type of light does not consume a large amount of energy and does not make a considerable difference in terms of light generation. Therefore, if you want to change them, there is no problem, but it is not essential or that involves a considerable change.
Q8: Which is better, use halogen or led car bulbs?
The old halogen lights have a lower efficiency than the LED lights, so for the part of the energy consumption and the amount of light generated it is more interesting to have an LED bulb than a halogen one . Additionally, these LED car bulbs also have a longer life than halogen, as they have several light emitters compared to the single filament of halogen. So it’s more interesting to use these LEDs, if possible.
How to install LED car bulbs legally
Given the rise of modern LED technology, many users are wondering if they can use this type of more modern lights legally. Leaving aside the technical aspect, which must always be managed through a specialized workshop that knows what it does, let’s see what is the legal procedure that we must follow to install our LED lights legally in our vehicle. Obviously, this does not affect vehicles that already have LED lights as standard, since they would be legal.
Choosing the lights
The first step is to choose lights that are duly approved, since if they are not, it will be impossible to legalize them. Therefore, the product must be approved, have the corresponding certification and have an adequate quality. Something that automatically discards poor quality bulbs and cheap prices that we find in some establishments. Do not forget that these bulbs must be accompanied by the corresponding certificate of conformity, since you will need it in the rest of the process.
As we have mentioned, in the case of wanting to change from halogen lights to LED lights it is essential to completely change the optics of the vehicle. This involves changing the entire headlight, both the reflector and the bulb. A task for which it is convenient to put yourself in the hands of a workshop specialized in this type of reform. First, because these professionals know how to do everything to avoid inconvenience during assembly. But also for the workshop to issue the corresponding installation certificate, which will be essential for legalization.
Once we have proceeded with the installation, it is necessary to go through a specialized laboratory, which issues the corresponding conformity report. To do this, the laboratory will proceed to check the certificates of the lamp and the installation, as well as to see their status, as an expert opinion. This step is also essential for the legalization of the lights.
Passing the ITV
As a final step, we will have to make an appointment at our ITV station to execute the final legalization of said reform. The technical process has been the same as that of a conventional inspection, the operator proceeding to verify that the installation has been carried out correctly as well as to see that it complies with the technical parameters required for this type of lights. If everything is in order, the station registers the reform in the ITV file and it is officially legalized.
Everything we have discussed mainly affects the front lights of the vehicle, as they are the most important we are talking about. In case you want to change other lights, there won’t be so much problem As shown, in the interior lights there is no problem, as happens with the position, brake or turn signals, as long as they comply with the legal requirements. The same happens with the license plates, although with the exception that they must be white.