Replacing bulbs in cars

7hns

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I really hate the yellow standard bulbs that come in most mainstream cars today. In the past I've replaced them with LED...

I've had one or two die which is fine as they are cheap. Is there any risk though of damage to the car or even potentially electrical fire hazard?
 
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-Virgil-

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"LED bulbs" for cars have been widely available for years. In quotes because none of them have been even close to acceptable in terms of safety performance of the lamp they're installed in. Wrong intensity and intensity ratio, wrong light distribution pattern, pathetic output maintenance with prolonged operation in every case; also electrical safety hazards in some cases.

The first legitimate LED retrofit bulbs have recently been released by Philips, in a limited range for limited applications. They work acceptably in some applications, but not in all. Gradually the range will grow and the applications will increase. For the time being, for the most part, the only safe assumption is that any "LED bulb" you're looking at is a safety hazard.

(As for your "hating the yellow" -- are you serious? Adults do not prioritize random notions of fashion over traffic safety.)
 

Alaric Darconville

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I really hate the yellow standard bulbs that come in most mainstream cars today. In the past I've replaced them with LED...
The only "yellow" standard bulbs are those that are yellow (like the 1157NA). Headlamp bulbs, stop and tail bulbs, and even dome light bulbs, are white.

I've had one or two die which is fine as they are cheap. Is there any risk though of damage to the car or even potentially electrical fire hazard?

The real risk of damage is from the collision that a bad light will contribute to-- whether due to premature failure, or failure to work properly (for example, the wrong intensity ratio, poor distribution pattern, etc).

(As for your "hating the yellow" -- are you serious? Adults do not prioritize random notions of fashion over traffic safety.)

Aside from putting themselves and others in danger, people who try to make "fashion statements" with their cars (like trying to match their fog lamps to their factory HID headlamps, or tinting their taillamps, or putting in "switchback" LEDs) end up impressing the wrong people. People who know how vehicle lighting should look and perform are certainly not impressed!
 

7hns

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Guys just to be clear, I'm referring to INTERIOR bulbs. I'm in no way looking for a fashion statement. I'm talking about the dull yellow lights being nearly useless inside the car such as the map lights. Does this change any opinions?

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kingofwylietx

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That does make a difference. Besides the LED replacements you are familiar with, there are other options. I added an LED bus light to my interior, made by SoundOff Signal. Grote and others make similar products. The one I have is SIGNIFICANTLY brighter than any car interior light I've ever seen. Just look for bus, truck, or cargo LED interior lights. I suggest sticking to brand name stuff.

I tied mine mine to the interior light circuit, so it comes on with the others. You would want to find one that is aesthetically pleasing to you.
 

-Virgil-

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OK, yes, that makes a complete difference; thank you for specifying. The main "hazard" with interior bulb swapping is that you can kill a lot of money and time chasing after bulbs that work well enough to leave in place in the long run. The Philips line mentioned above includes some interior-type bulbs, and there are others on the market also.
 

inetdog

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Although a lot of the interior incans operate at a low color temperature, yellowed plastic lenses can contribute too.
Used to be from both upholstery outgassing and tobacco smoke. :)

Sent from my Droid Maxx
 

7hns

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That does make a difference. Besides the LED replacements you are familiar with, there are other options. I added an LED bus light to my interior, made by SoundOff Signal. Grote and others make similar products. The one I have is SIGNIFICANTLY brighter than any car interior light I've ever seen. Just look for bus, truck, or cargo LED interior lights. I suggest sticking to brand name stuff.

I tied mine mine to the interior light circuit, so it comes on with the others. You would want to find one that is aesthetically pleasing to you.

Thanks, but is there any SAFETY hazard in an interior light?
 

Alaric Darconville

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Thanks, but is there any SAFETY hazard in an interior light?

For instrument panel/dashboard lights, they could be distracting if they don't dim down well enough-- or if they start flickering/strobing and are distracting that way. Some of the very cheap stuff with higher-power LEDs *could* be a fire hazard (for example, in an enclosed dome light and left on for a long time).

I've got a 20 or 24-LED 'panel' in my Previa's dome light for the sliding door-- it looks brighter when you look at it directly, but doesn't light up the interior as well as the festoon bulb it replaced-- and it's kindof a moonlight-with-blue-tinge color. I did accidentally leave it on (a passenger didn't close the door properly) for about 4 hours and it seemed to not really be that warm at all, and the battery didn't seem fazed one bit. Your mileage may vary-- that was a DealExtreme special that a friend had an extra of-- maybe the one he put in his wife's car won't work out so well...

Some time ago, Daniel Stern mentioned some LED festoon replacements that he got from the UK; I'll scour my emails with him to see if he ever gave them the thumbs up, or the finger.
 

alpg88

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in last 10 years or so my family leased\returned pbly 7 cars, all were leased for 3 years, not a single car had any bulb burn out during lease term. neither interior nor exterior.
in the same period of time, i used pbly few dozens led bulbs meant for cars, 9 out of 10 times, they failed within a year. and i was not using them in cars, with line voltage spikes. it was smooth battery or AC transformed power.

everytime someone says, " want leds in my car cuz they don't burn out, and don't need to be changed" i lol, sometimes i lmao.
 

7hns

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I am not sure everyone here is understanding my question. I do not want them for longevity or anything. I am simply looking to replace 2-3 lights that are currently standard halogen bulbs. Basically a cargo light, and a light over either rear door (like a map light).

I could not care less if I need to spend $3 a few times to replace a bulb. I am also not asking about safety as far as distraction, as the lights are only on when the doors/hatch is open, or when someone manually activates one. I am just trying to find out if there is a tangible safety hazard, such as explosion, fire, electrical damage, etc.
 

alpg88

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i had many such bulbs fail but none exploded or caught on fire. as for electrical damage to your car, anything is possible.
 

Alaric Darconville

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I am not sure everyone here is understanding my question. I do not want them for longevity or anything. I am simply looking to replace 2-3 lights that are currently standard halogen bulbs. Basically a cargo light, and a light over either rear door (like a map light).

Do you know the bulb designations or their trade numbers? Many of the miniature bulbs such as the DE3175 (festoon) are *not* halogen, so if there is a halogen version to move to, that might give you an upgrade. For the W5W, Osram's #2886 would be a possible upgrade path. 6W, 85lm.

You say you couldn't care less if you need to keep replacing bulbs-- one of the main points of LED lights is that they should last for years and years and years. If I wanted something to burn out quickly, I'd replace all my 15A fuses with 5A fuses and just replace them more often. An LED bulb series with a history of failing is certainly poorly designed or poorly made, or both. I'd say that's already a setup for the electrical fire or release of hazardous burning metal smoke into the cabin.
 

kingofwylietx

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As far as safety is concerned, I would be incredibly surprised if adding LED cargo lights creates any safety issue. I've done it on my last 2 vehicles, no problems. It just adds a ton more light, which seems to be what you are trying to achieve.
 

7hns

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As far as safety is concerned, I would be incredibly surprised if adding LED cargo lights creates any safety issue. I've done it on my last 2 vehicles, no problems. It just adds a ton more light, which seems to be what you are trying to achieve.

This is EXACTLY what I'm trying to achieve but for obvious reasons am concerned about the things lighting on fire, smoking, blowing up, etc.
 

fishx65

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No problems at all replacing interior bulbs with brighter leds. It ran me around $25.00 to switch my 2011 Ford Edge to all leds including the puddle lamps. Much brighter and whiter. Just did the dome on a new MKX and was surprised to find that the factory bulbs had blue tinted glass.
 

kingofwylietx

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This is EXACTLY what I'm trying to achieve but for obvious reasons am concerned about the things lighting on fire, smoking, blowing up, etc.

Im not sure why adding a couple of LED cargo lights would cause fire, smoke or blow anything up......unless you added a whole, whole, bunch of them. Their current draw is quite low.

Most, if not all, LATE MODEL modern cars have systems in place to kill any circuit that draws more power than is allowed...per the manufacturers preset limits. Plus, your interior light circuit shouldn't be operating at the jagged edge of glowing red unless you have done other mods we are not aware of. You mentioned installing LEDs in the factory housings, this should actually give you additional (available) capacity. You still have fuses protecting the system from the factory. They should be designed to blow before you are able to draw enough current to cause a real problem.

You have not listed your exact vehicle or which lights you may want to install (or the quantity of said lights). No one here is going to give you a blanket guarantee that there is absolutely no risk of any danger in doing any modification to your vehicle. In the US, they would be worried that you would do something wrong/stupid......cause a fire...and try to sue them. It's the reality of today's society. Sad, but reality.

Adding a few of the style lights I recommended should pose no danger.
 
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