The new ideas of the tuning scene never cease to amaze. Since the emergence of the cheap and very practical LEDs, interior lighting has become a true playground for car fitters. One of the most recent trends in this field is the illuminated door sill. Read below everything you need to know about this practical and stylish feature.
Attractive as well as practical
The door opens and the threshold lights up with a warm, soft light. Apart from being exciting, this has a practical use.
In extreme darkness the illuminated door sill is an orientation aid. Especially when wearing heavy boots or high heels you run the risk of getting caught in the door sill, which can be effectively prevented by illumination.
1. Traditional installation: wiring
The first illuminated door sill was wire-connected to the car’s power circuitry. The lighting’s location constitutes a real challenge. To prevent the cables from interfering with the illumination’s aesthetics, they must be skilfully concealed under the door rubbers and the interior panelling.
Some car owners drill holes in the door sills. We strongly advise against this. Door sills are carrier elements of the car. Every intervention weakens the chassis structure. Furthermore, moisture could penetrate the hole, causing the door sill to rust from the inside out.
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Wired systems have therefore all but disappeared from the market. Only experienced DIY handymen still use them as they value individual concepts. As the tuning scene has discovered this element, nowadays other practical solutions have become available, rendering the use of soldering iron and cable pliers unnecessary.
2. Wireless illuminated door sill plates
Nowadays the trend is moving towards rechargeable door sill plates. These modules convince with their multiple advantages:
– quick installation
– no need for connection to the wiring
– safe, reliable and precise
– high degree of individualisation
These systems, however, have disadvantages as well: the LEDs are fed by a battery which needs recharging. Therefore, the door sill LEDs are to be removed so that the car can be used during charging.
One of the ground-breaking innovations of recent years is the neodymium magnet. This exceptionally strong magnet convinces with its strong adhesion, durability and reliability. When the lighting power of the door sill plate is weakening, the LEDs can simply be removed and charged via USB on the mobile phone charger.
Installation of the LED illuminated door sill
The illuminated door sill plates are supplied as a complete set, containing a detailed installation manual. Practically, the installation steps for the door sill plates are always the same:
1. Cleaning the door sill
- The door sill is cleaned to enable a good hold for the adhesive magnet. After a profound cleaning with water and detergent, degreasing the sill with brake or silicon cleaner is therefore recommended.
- The LEDs’ mounting is “magnet on magnet”. The LED door sill plates must be removed regularly for charging. This procedure prevents scratching the paintwork. First, the holder magnets are attached to the door sill. Most retailers supply double-sided adhesive pads. The corresponding counterparts attach to the holder magnets, in their turn receiving an adhesive pad at the back.
- Now the LED can be carefully positioned. Prior to removing the pads, the door should be opened and shut several times to make sure whether the LED is chafing the door. This should be prevented at all cost. If the LED door sill plate continues to chafe, no other option remains than to look for another, flatter model. Therefore, always check when purchasing if the door sill LED is approved for your car.
- When you have determined the exact position of the LED door sill plate, remove the protective layer from the adhesive pads and press the door sill plate on its intended location. Marking it with a water-proof marker can be practical.
- Ultimately, the magnet switch must be activated, which is invisibly integrated in the LED plating holder. Its exact location can be found in the manual. The supplied magnet is now fixed on the door. Its exact position is very important.
If the connection between door magnet and magnet switch is faulty, two things can happen:
– the LED plate does not function.
– the LED plate lights permanently and quickly loses power.
Working accurately is absolutely necessary at this point. Otherwise you will not enjoy this feature for very long.
LED illuminated door sill plate suppliers
Evidently, the “common suspects” such as Osram already adapted to this theme.
Furthermore, plenty of no-name manufacturers offer a wide supply of illuminated door sill plates. Car manufacturers offer this feature in their accessory program, although the car manufacturers’ solutions are extremely expensive.
Alternatively, LED door sill plates from specialised traders are a very interesting solution. They even offer individual laser engraving, enabling car owners to integrate their own logo or design into the LED door sill plating. These solutions are considerably cheaper than the solutions offered by car manufacturers, which only have the brand logo anyway. With the specialist trader’s supply you can obtain a very attractive and easy-to-install feature for your car at a cheap price.
Foto: ParabolStudio, abitaev, DaManYa, conny.neubert, sonnyd510, Ryan Perrella, Tatchaphol, Alex P. Yeremenko / flickr.com