1. What is an LED?
An LED is a Light Emitting Diode which by nature, emits light in a very small band of wavelengths, producing strongly coloured and highly focussed light. First seen on new cars a few years ago, there are now LED upgrade bulbs available as replacements for most applications with the exception of headlights. LED bulbs are the future of automotive lighting with many applications slowly converting to LED as standard. Due to the nature of an LED bulb, it is not currently possible to upgrade the headlights to LED from a standard halogen as they don’t have any form of beam pattern or light projection. There are some cars available now with LED headlights as an option from new and we expect more and more vehicles to adopt LED technology as time goes on.
2. Why should I choose an LED over a filament bulb?
- They have a much longer lifespan than a standard filament bulb.
- They emit a much purer light than a filament bulb and the colour is a lot crisper
- They generate a great deal less heat than a filament bulb.
- They also run on a much lower wattage than a standard bulb and therefore consume less power.
- They are vibration resistant as there is no filament to break, so great for off road cars
3. Will they fit in place of my existing bulbs?
Providing the LED is the same fitting as the bulb you are looking to replace then yes the LEDs will be a direct replacement and will fit in the same way. Please use our bulb finder applications to determine which LED bulbs are available for your vehicle.
4. Will LEDs affect my car's ECU system?
Due to the fact that LEDs run on a much lower wattage, and have a lower resistance than a standard filament bulb, they can sometimes cause issues with the ECU (on board electronic control unit). Newer vehicles have much more sophisticated ECU systems which are designed to monitor many of the applications in the car including the bulbs. If the ECU detects the reduced resistance or lower power drawn by an LED bulb it presumes a bulb is out. When this happens a bulb warning light will usually appear on the dashboard and can also be coupled with flickering (as the ECU is sending electrical pulses to the bulb) or no life from the LED at all (due to the current being cut).
5. What is a Canbus LED?
These LED’s have an inbuilt resistor to get around the vehicles ECU system and essentially fools the vehicle into thinking the correct wattage is getting to the bulb and therefore stops warning lights from showing up on the dash, flickering and the flashing too quickly of indicators.
6. What is an External LED Resistor?
Sometimes an external resistor can be used to enable the correct wattage to be drawn from the LED so that it remains hidden from the ECU. External resistors consist of a small ceramic resistor block with a wire coming out of either end and is rated at 10W 10ohm. The wires need scotch locks to attach to the wiring on the bulb holder but these are included in the resistor kit. Our resistors come with a wiring diagram, the block needs to be placed parallel to the bulb with one wire attaching to the positive cable and one to the earth. No soldering is required as we supply scotch locks for easy installation. Please be mindful that resistors get very hot so would need to be placed in a well ventilated area and away from any hotspots or components that would be damaged by heat.
7. Why does my LED not work when fitted in my car?
There could be one of 2 reasons for this.
If you are not getting ANY life from the bulb at all it will be a polarity issue and this can be resolved in 2 ways depending on what type of bulb you have.
If you have a wedge based bulb or a festoon bulb (tubular bulb with a metal contact each end) you can turn these bulbs round 180 degrees. This will switch the polarity on the bulb and allow it to light. If however you have a bayonet bulb, you may have to swap the 2 wires going into the bulb holder round so the live and earth are swapped and again this will allow the bulb to work.
If the bulb flickers or does not function correctly this might be due to the cars ECU system trying to stop power getting to the bulb due to the lower wattage these run at. If this is the case you would either need the canbus bulbs or an external resistor to resolve this.
8. Why does my LED indicator bulb flash quickly?
Your vehicle is fitted with a flasher relay that controls the rate that the indicator and side repeater bulbs flash at. When a normal filament bulb has blown or is about to blow the check management system in the car detects a change in resistance and tells the relay to increase flashing speed. This is how the car alerts you to a faulty indicator bulb. As mentioned above, LEDs have a lower resistance, and on some cars the check management system detects this and assumes a bulb is out. It then causes the rapid flashing that you may see on upgrading to LED indicators. There are a couple of fixes to this. You can upgrade the LED bulb to a canbus one that has an inbuilt resistor, you can install an external resistor OR we do have LED flasher units available on our website that replace your standard one.
9. Why does my LED bulb still light up when the lights and engine are off?
This is due to the residual energy running through the vehicle. Because LED bulbs run on a much lower wattage, on some cars there can be just enough residual energy to light them. Some may only light up very dimly but some can be at full brightness. This residual energy will however disperse after about half an hour to an hour. It is perfectly normal and all cars have this residual energy just after the vehicles engine has been turned off and will not cause any damage to the car or the bulbs. As this is just residual energy left in the cars circuits, it is not drawing any power from the battery so you won't end up with a flat battery.
10. What colour LED should I choose?
We would alway recommend the same colour LED as the lens so if the lens is Red for a break light a Red LED would be better as sometimes when putting a White LED behind a Red lens it can come through as a little pink.
11. Are LEDs road legal?
LED bulbs are not strictly road legal as they are different lighting system to what the vehicle has been set up with and therefore cannot be E marked. In terms of an MOT though they should pass with no problems, as long as the colour for the application is correct ie white for side lights, red for brake lights etc.