Car interior lighting guide

  • Jul 18, 2012
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Interior lighting has evolved from simple dome lights to map lights to complete interior lighting solutions
Interior mood lighting

The simple dome light inside a car had only one use: to help drivers and passengers get inside the car at night. As demand for better lighting grew, map/reading lights were installed. Today LEDs, fibre optics and neon lights are making the interiors of cars brighter, adding to practicality and also allowing car owners to show off their individual tastes. 

Neon lights

Neon lights are glass tubes or bulbs that contain a combination of neon and other gases that emit an even, bright glow. Neon tubes are made of high strength glass tubes which can be installed under the dash, speakers and other spaces in the car. 

Available in different lengths (the smallest of these are of 30cm and widths, these tubes can be either connected to the lighter port of the car or directly to the electrical wiring. These lights are available in a multitude of colours to suit the taste of the owner. Prices of the 30cm neon tubes range from Rs 700 for the lower quality tawainese imports to Rs 1500 for the imported StreetGlow tubes.

The only drawback with tubes is that they are not flexible.

LED interior lights

LED lights

Popular because they are cheap and can be used in a variety of ways, LED lights are available as tubes, strips and wires. 

LED tubes, just like neon tubes are LED bulbs kept in a glass tube. These can be attached, via superglue, pins or holders on to the underside of the dash, seats and other places as desired. These tubes provide even, bright illumination only limited by their non-flexible nature. 

LED strips are more flexible than the tubes, while being equally bright. These strips can be laid in different shapes, around things like speaker covers or made into custom shapes. Multi-colour strips can be hooked up to the music system in the car and mimic the music; they can also be programmed manually. Most of these strips though are a bit too wide, use LED bulbs which can be seen if looked at closely and do not provide an even spread of light under certain conditions. Prices start at around Rs 200 (for a 30cm strip).

LED wires though are one the best interior lighting accessories available, though a bit costlier than neons or other LED products. They are extremely flexible, are as bright as neons and are available in different pre-set or custom lengths. The other advantage is their width, which is as less .7cm, which allows them to be put in the smallest of gaps besides making them more flexible than LED strips. Prices start at around Rs 2000 (for a 300cm long wire). 

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