How to Wire 12V LED Strip Lights in Car

Here is a quick guide on how to wire 12v LED strip lights in car. I have used thin flexible LED strips and tested the best possible ways to install them. You might not notice the difference while driving but installing LEDs uses less power which saves gas and money, so let’s dive right in.

12v led strip lighting is rapidly becoming one of the most popular methods for using light in vehicles. It’s durable, has a wide range of power usage, and is also fully waterproof. It’s easy to install and easy to hide or show (bright or dimmed).

The only issue that you may worry about when deciding to use this kind of light is how to wire 12v led strip lights in the car. Well, there is no need to worry anymore because I will explain the process in just a moment.

How To Wire 12v Led Strip Lights In Car

It is easy to do. Just get the power from a battery or directly from the car’s electrical system. I would recommend getting the car battery power because that is the most reliable power source. You can do it in the following ways

  • (1) Check the car manual to find out where the battery is. Then, take off the black plastic cover(if there is) right next to it. Next, remove the terminal end cap, and find the pigtail with wires coming out. This is the wire that you’re going to tap into. The wire color doesn’t matter.
  • (2) Get a wiretap connector, and connect it to the pigtail wire. Then, get a wire (any color) from the main battery terminal, and connect the wiretap connector to it, and you’re done.
  • (3) If you want to wire it permanently to the car, you can get a wiretap connector and a wire, cut off the connector, and solder them together. Then, go to the terminal and cap that you unloaded earlier, and open it. Put the wire into the hole and tighten it, and you’re done. Enjoy!

The best way to wire the lights is by using a relay. A relay will help you control the lights with the same switch used to turn your engine on and off. Connect a 12-volt power source to the relay by running a wire from the rear of the vehicle, up to the headlight. Use a fuse to protect the power wires from a short circuit. Next, connect each of the three lights (or more, depending on what you want) to the relay.

For instance, the red light will be connected to the “load” terminal of the relay. Towards the “source” of the relay, you will run another wire to the headlight and connect it to the positive terminal. When the relay receives a 12-volt signal, it will activate and send power to the red led strip light. Connect the black wire to the ground.

High-quality LED lights are more efficient with a 100,000-hour life and low power consumption. LED strip lights are suitable for outdoor and indoor lighting, such as in-car, cabinets, on the cove, and so on.

The way to wire 12v LED strip lights in a car is quite simple, you can use a wire stripper to remove the external insulation of the wires and expose about an inch of wire. Then strip about an inch off of the other end of the wire so that you have about three inches of wire exposed.

Next, use the wire stripper again to expose the wires and then twist the exposed wires together. Do the same thing to the other end of the wire.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If you encounter any issues with your LED strip lights, here are some common problems and their possible solutions:

  1. Lights not turning on:

    • Check the power connection and ensure the wiring is correct.
    • Verify that the fuse is not blown or the power source is functioning.
  2. Inconsistent lighting or flickering:

    • Inspect the wiring connections and make sure they are secure.
    • Check for loose connections or damaged wires.
    • Ensure the power source can supply enough current to the LED strip lights.
  3. Color distortion or uneven brightness:

    • Clean the LED strip lights and remove any dust or debris.
    • Adjust the lighting settings using the provided controls.
    • Replace any faulty LEDs that are causing the issue.

How do you connect 12V LED strip lights to a car battery?

There are many ways to connect the LEDs to a car battery, you should use the wires and connectors to install. You can buy these accessories from an electronics store near you or on the Internet. You can simply splice the wires into the negative and positive terminals on the battery. The problem with this method is that the splices on your wires could corrode and cause a short. It’s a good idea to use heat shrink tubing on the spliced wires to provide extra protection from shorts. You can also use a power distributor to make the installation easier.

How do you power a 12v LED strip?

A 12V power supply can be used to power a 12v LED strip. The 12V power supply can be either plugged into the wall outlet or a 12V battery can be used for this purpose. The 12v LED strip can be easily connected to the power supply with the help of an adapter.

Can you power a 12V LED strip with batteries?

You can use a 12V battery charger to power the LED light strip. The battery charger is a small device used to charge the car battery. A car battery charger has different outputs ranging from 6V to 24V depending on the car model and the make of the charger. You can get a 12V charger if your car is of a higher make. The charger has a wire that needs to be connected to any of the car’s terminals in order for it to start charging the battery.

What is the proper transformer for 12V LED strips?

The proper transformer for 12V LED strips is a 12V LED driver or power supply. LED strips require a constant and stable source of voltage to operate effectively and safely. Here are some key considerations when selecting the proper transformer for 12V LED strips:

  1. Output Voltage: The transformer should provide a regulated output voltage of 12V DC (Direct Current). This ensures that the LED strips receive the correct voltage for optimal performance.

  2. Wattage Capacity: Determine the total wattage of your LED strips by multiplying the wattage per meter of the LED strip by the total length in meters. Choose a transformer with a wattage capacity that is equal to or slightly higher than the calculated wattage to ensure it can handle the power requirements of the LED strips.

  3. Current Rating: LED strips have a specified current requirement per meter. To calculate the total current, multiply the current per meter by the total length in meters. Ensure that the transformer’s current rating is equal to or higher than the calculated total current to avoid overloading the transformer.

  4. Dimmable or Non-Dimmable: Determine if you need the LED strips to be dimmable. If so, choose a dimmable LED driver that is compatible with your dimming system.

  5. Safety and Certifications: Look for transformers that are certified and comply with safety standards, such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or CE (Conformité Européene) certification. This ensures that the transformer meets the necessary safety requirements.

  6. Quality and Reliability: Select a transformer from a reputable manufacturer to ensure reliability and longevity. Quality transformers often have built-in protection features, such as short circuit protection, overload protection, and thermal protection.

  7. Connectivity: Check the type of connectors or wiring options provided by the transformer and ensure compatibility with your LED strip’s connectors.


What is the difference between 12V and 24V LED lights?

When it comes to LED lighting, you’ll often come across options that are designed to operate at either 12V or 24V. Understanding the difference between these two voltage options can help you make an informed decision when choosing LED lights for your specific needs. Let’s compare 12V and 24V LED lights in a table for easy reference:

 12V LED Lights24V LED Lights
Voltage12 volts24 volts
ApplicationsAutomotive lighting, home lighting, smaller installationsCommercial lighting, larger installations, long-distance power transmission
Power ConsumptionLower power consumption compared to 24V lightsHigher power consumption compared to 12V lights
WiringThinner wires are sufficient due to the lower voltageThicker wires are required to handle higher voltage
CompatibilityCompatible with most vehicles and low-power applicationsCompatible with specific commercial lighting systems and high-power applications
BrightnessCan provide sufficient brightness for most residential and automotive applicationsSuitable for applications that require higher brightness levels
EfficiencySlightly less efficient compared to 24V lightsMore efficient due to lower current draw
Voltage DropMore susceptible to voltage drop over longer wire lengthsLess susceptible to voltage drop, making them suitable for longer wire runs
SafetyLower voltage offers a marginally higher level of safetyRequires proper insulation and precautions due to higher voltage

It’s important to note that the choice between 12V and 24V LED lights depends on the specific requirements of your lighting project. Consider factors such as the scale of the installation, power consumption, brightness needs, and compatibility with existing systems. Always consult the manufacturer’s specifications and guidelines to ensure the proper voltage is used for your LED lighting setup.


Wiring 12V LED strip lights in your car can transform its interior, adding a touch of personalization and style. By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this article, you can create a stunning lighting setup that enhances the overall ambiance and sets your car apart. Enjoy the vibrant and customizable lighting experience as you hit the road with style and flair.



Can I install LED strip lights in my car if I have limited technical knowledge?

Absolutely! Wiring LED strip lights in a car is a relatively straightforward process. Just follow the instructions carefully, and if you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to seek assistance from a professional.

How do I choose the right length of LED strip lights for my car?

Measure the areas where you plan to install the LED strip lights and choose a length that matches or is slightly longer than your measurements. Remember that you can always trim or cut the LED strip lights if needed.

Are LED strip lights compatible with all car models?

Yes, LED strip lights are compatible with most car models. However, it’s essential to check the voltage requirements and ensure that your car’s electrical system can handle the additional load.

Can I install multiple sets of LED strip lights in my car?

Yes, you can install multiple sets of LED strip lights in your car. Just make sure to plan the wiring carefully and distribute the power load evenly to avoid overloading the electrical circuits.

Can I use LED strip lights in other areas of my car, such as the exterior or engine bay?

While LED strip lights are primarily designed for the car’s interior, there are specific models that are suitable for exterior or engine bay use. However, always check the product specifications and ensure they are rated for the intended application before installation.

Can I power a 12V LED strip with a USB?

Yes. A single USB can power a very weak LED strip. Many of the USB ports found on computers are capable of supplying a high current to power an LED strip. This high current is needed to power LEDs. Connect the red wire of the USB to the positive of the battery and the negative of the battery to the negative of the LED strip.