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 rear lights, brake light and side light bulbs, as well as some internal applications. LED bulbs are the future of automotive lighting with many applications slowly converting to LED. There are currently upgrade LED bulbs for most rear applications including stop/tail, reverse, rear fog and indicators. They are also available for interior and some front applications such as front sidelights, indicators and even front fog lights. Due to the nature of an LED bulb, it is not currently possible to upgrade the main headlights to LED from a standard halogen. There are some cars available now with LED headlights as an option from new (mainly Audi). 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 up to 50,000 hours of life in comparison with a few hundred hours from a filament bulb.
- They can emit a pure white light to give that great styling look, no more yellowness making your lights look underpowered. For some applications, they are also available in other colours and have the same pure light intensity.
- 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.
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). Unfortunately it is impossible to tell if LED bulbs will cause ECU issues with particular vehicles until they are installed. We tend to recommend trying them and if they do cause warning lights and related issues you can always install a resistor or we would be happy to exchange or refund the bulbs. For certain applications, we now have “Canbus” LED bulbs available which are designed to operate with vehicles that have these more sophisticated ECU systems without causing any warning lights.
5. What is an LED Resistor?
A resistor can be installed to enable the correct wattage to be drawn from the LED so that it remains hidden from the ECU. Resistors consist of a small ceramic resistor block with a wire coming out of either end. The wires need scotch locks to attach to the wiring on the bulb holder but these are included in the resistor kit. 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.
Why does my LED not work when fitted in my car?
If you install an LED in your vehicle and it doesn't work there are a few reasons why this could be.
- You may have put the LED in the wrong way. All LEDs are polarised and will only work when installed in the correct orientation. This means you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right. If the LED is put in the wrong way it will not light up and you should simply remove the bulb, turn it around 180 degrees and put it back in. Note: this will only apply to festoon and wedge type LED bulbs.
- If you are experiencing this with an LED bulb other than a festoon or wedge based bulb, then your vehicle may have what is known as reverse polarity. On some cars the wiring is negatively polarised which is the opposite of most cars which have positive polarity. As mentioned above, LEDs are also polarised and will only work in positive polarity. If this is the case then you can change the polarity of your vehicle by swapping the positive and negative wires to the connector over. However we recommend you seek help from a qualified auto electrician when doing this.
- If the LEDs are detected by the ECU due to the lesser wattage (see question 4) then it may cut the current to the bulbs causing them to stop working altogether.
If you have tried turning your LED bulbs around as per the 1st point and they are still not working then please contact us. We are able to test LEDs here to work out if the bulb is faulty or if it is a reverse polarity or ECU issue.
7. 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. This can be easily rectified by installing an LED flasher relay to replace the existing one. They are specifically designed to compensate for the lower resistance and prevent rapid flashing.
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.
Bulbs by Application
Bulbs by Type
LED bulbs use less power, produce whiter light and provide a much longer life than standard bulbs. They are available for sidelights, brake lights, tail lights, internal lighting and fog lights.
Our range of LED bulbs includes white, amber (for indicator bulbs) and red (for tail and brake bulbs), as well as coloured LEDs for internal lighting. They are an ideal compliment to upgraded Xenon or HID headlights, and can instantly change the look of the interior of your car or van.
LEDs run on a much lower wattage than a standard filament bulb and can sometimes cause issues with bulb false failure warnings. Unfortunately it is impossible to tell if LED bulbs will cause issues with a particular vehicle until they are installed. We tend to recommend trying them and if they do cause bulb warnings you can always install a resistor or we would be happy to exchange or refund the bulbs.
Use our bulb finder above to search for the LED bulbs to fit your vehicle, or if you already know what size you need use the menu on the left to see our range. Order today for fast delivery!