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Recently, my friend went through the process of replacing most of the incandescent bulbs in my car with led tail light bulbs . Why did he do this? Mainly because it would reduce the risk of someone tailgating his car led bulbs.
Why should we care about this?
When you tap the brake pedal of your car, it turns off an electrical switch that sends current through the brake light. The tungsten filament heats up and after about a tenth of a second the brake light comes on. If you replace the incandescent bulb with an LED bulb, the brake light will come on immediately.
How far did the car behind you, speeding along at 70 miles per hour, travel in a tenth of a second? Turns out, about ten feet. So, if you replace your incandescent brake lights with LED lights, you might avoid some crashes where some inattentive driver rear-ends your car behind you. You've given the inattentive driver behind you an extra ten feet to deal with the situation.
There is also a physiological perceptual aspect to this. It turns out that the human visual cortex is optimized to detect the first derivative of the brightness of things (calculus again!) . A brake light that comes on instantly is easier for the visual cortex to notice than one that gradually goes from off to on in a tenth of a second, because the magnitude of the first derivative is greater. Look at the brake lights on a few cars the next time you drive and you will understand this. You can immediately pick out the cars that have LED brake lights. It's just much more noticeable than the incandescent brake lights.
I did this by studying the owner's manual for my car and writing down all the bulb types. Then I went to Amazon and ordered the LED equivalents. Notice carefully that some bulbs are red and some are yellow.
Yes, you can go to your local auto parts store and try to find these LED bulbs. When I tried, I found that no single store had all the bulbs I needed, and even traveling around to three different local stores, I couldn't find them all. I figured that mail order was the best way to go.
If you tackle this project when the time comes to actually unplug the old incandescent bulbs and insert the new LED bulbs, here are a few tips.
Replacement LED bulb
The first step is to open the trunk and remove the bezel to prepare the area. Loosen the screws and then remove the taillight. Check the housing for moisture or corrosion. Open the housing accurately and be keen on the details.
Now that the LED tail light bar is exposed, you need to remove the old light bar and replace it with a new one. Check that the electronic connections are working, then test the lights. If they work as expected, you can seal the housing and you're good to go.
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