Footwell lighting in the car is a cheap and effective way of creating a really beautiful atmosphere in your car interior. Today’s technology makes it a simple matter: not only are LEDs, light-emitting diodes economical and cheap, but very durable a well. The modern RYB colour model is invincible when it comes to comfort: RYB LEDs shine in practically any hue. Nevertheless, be careful with signalling colours red, blue and yellow.
Ambience lighting, what’s the use?
LED ambience lighting has no practical use. Those who love their car, however, love to equip it with everything that makes it more appealing. The soft, warm radiance of the footwell lights create a cool as well as a comfortable atmosphere in the car.
Driving by night in a blue floodlit car interior makes travelling more fun. And be honest: the mysteriously changing colour display is bound to enchant an eventual female passenger.
Better off with a complete set
DIY installing of a functioning footwell lighting with LED stripes from the retailer requires some experience. Fortunately, the accessory trade has discovered the trend and offers interesting complete sets with the following components:
1) connection set for the car’s wiring
2) LED lights (strips or bars)
3) remote control
4) installation manual
What is permitted and what is not
|First of all: road traffic regulations do not apply within the car. Nevertheless you are not allowed to change your car into a moving aquarium, scaring other traffic participants with horror show effects. For example, a driver strongly illuminated from below, no matter what lighting colour, always looks eerie and distracts others.|
Least of all the driver himself should be distracted by LED footwell lighting. Therefore the LEDs must be installed in such a way that you cannot directly look into the light source.
Finally, the light intensity is another safety factor and an additional reason for choosing a complete set: the lighting sets available in retail have the permitted intensity. This specifically applies to products of renowned manufacturers such as HELLA or OSRAM.
Cheap suppliers often add a liability waiver to the product description. This is generally unnecessary.
The LED lights should not:
– blind the driver.
– blind other traffic participants.
– simulate a signalling effect (pulsating yellow, red or blue light).
– generate stroboscopic effects.
Furthermore, the following defects should be avoided:
– cables loosely hanging in the footwell.
– wonky contacts or other wire damage.
– use of prohibited lighting (e.g. 500 halogen lamps)
As long as those criteria are met, using footwell lighting is allowed on the road as well.
Installation of LED footwell lights
Most complete sets are supplied with a plug for the 12 Volt on-board power socket. Colloquially this is often referred to as the “cigarette lighter“.
This feature is gradually disappearing from the order lists for new cars. Nevertheless the accessory industry is adapted to this practical, small socket and therefore it is still available in the non-smoking era. However, let’s be honest: the cable spaghetti with the 12 volt plug is anything but practical.
High-grade LED lighting sets therefore have a detailed installation manual. Generally they can be connected to the 12 volt continuous current supply. A remote control or an additional switch operates the intensity or the switching modes of the additional lighting.
Experts can add more comfort:
– immediate activation at opening of the car door.
– soft fade-out after closing the door.
– full lighting intensity when operating the wireless remote control of the car key.
– optional switching on and off during driving.
Further knowledge on car electric systems is required to add these functionalities. A DIY’er should be aware of his limits at this point. Otherwise, modern cars with their sensitive on-board electronics could sustain serious damage. In the worst case, awkward tinkering with the car wiring ends in an inflated airbag, a defective immobiliser or a malfunctioning system control.
If the LED interior lighting does not automatically switches off during driving, an optional off-switch is strongly recommended. Although ambience lighting is not really prohibited, it might prompt a curious constable to further check it on occasion of a police control. Should an installation fault be found, you will probably end up with a fine.
The cheap way to a stylish car
The good thing about LED footwell lighting is the fact that there are only two price ranges: cheap for no-name products and cheap for branded products. Generally, a set from a renowned manufacturer costs less than 50 EUR (± £44), the cheaper version less than 20 EUR (± £18).
Due to the advantageous prices we recommend choosing a branded manufacturer. This avoids a lot of trouble at installation and provides full legal security.
Foto: Volodymyr Krasyuk, Dan Sedran, Alexey Ryazanov, Mihalex, pemastockpic, Jiri Hera, Gazlast, cesar miguel, Cral Q / shutterstock.com