Quick Ways to Improve Your Interior Car Lights

Daylight Saving Time ends this month, which means you’ll be spending more time driving in the dark. You know what we’re talking about: long evening commutes, running errands at twilight, or starting your car before the sun shows up. While you can’t avoid winter’s shorter days, you can make them more comfortable.

One easy way to do that is by upgrading your interior car lights with simple, inexpensive LED lights. You’ll have a more brightly lit cabin for those long nights, which could do wonders for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Here’s what you need to know about choosing and installing LED lights for cars.


Why upgrade to LED lights in my car?

We could go on and on about the benefits of basic LED replacement lights. Here are a few reasons why they’re in all our cars:

  • They produce a more vibrant, clean white light than the standard yellowish incandescent bulbs. (Pretty useful when you’re searching your trunk for that black football cleat or your pup’s favorite chew toy.)
  • LED bulbs also come in a variety of colors and kits that allow you to customize your interior to your needs and style.
  • LEDs have a longer life than incandescent bulbs and run cooler. They also draw less power, which translates to fewer drained batteries because someone left the door ajar.
  • Replacing interior bulbs with LEDs requires no special tools or experience.

How do I upgrade my interior car lights to LED?

You can upgrade your car’s dome, map, glovebox, step, and/or trunk lights. How accessible the bulbs in these areas are depends on your vehicle’s make and model. Many vehicles feature a clear, plastic lens cover held in place by plastic clips and/or a few screws. In that case, use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the screws and gently pry off the lens covers.

In other vehicles the dome and map light bulbs are housed inside a unit held into place with larger metal clips. Removing these units will take a little more time and skill, but a screwdriver will still do the trick. Once you’ve removed the lens covers or light units, replace the incandescent bulbs with LEDs.

For help selecting the correct LED lights for your car, talk to your Advance Auto Parts Team Member. White bulbs are classic and provide the best visibility for these areas, but the choice is yours. If possible, double check that the lights work before replacing the face plates. LED bulbs have positive and negative polarity, like a battery. So if they don’t light up at first, you may need to turn the bulbs around.undefined

How can I step up my LED game?

If you want to further customize your vehicle’s interior lighting, take a look at LED strip kits. LED strip kits bathe your vehicle’s interior in a number of ambient colors, from your floorboards to your trunk space, and are also fun and easy to install. Adhere the LED strips where you want more light, then use the 12V adapter. Or hardwire the kit into your electrical system. Many strip kits also come with a remote that lets you choose from a variety of colors and modes, so you can adjust your lighting to match your state of mind and lend a more luxurious feel to your car’s interior.

Upgrading your car’s interior lighting is a simple and inexpensive way to improve visibility and add panache to your vehicle.

Pro Tips for installation:

  • Replacing interior bulbs with LEDs requires no special tools or experience. Simply follow the instructions in your owner’s manual.
  • LED bulbs have positive and negative sides, like a battery. So if they don’t light up at first, you may need to turn the bulbs around.

Have you installed LED lights in your car? Tell us about your experience in the comments.


  1. Walter Thomas says:

    i need ne fo these for my 1987 Dodge Ram pickup truck……

  2. Tim Tremblay says:

    Car wiring systems are like a bowl of spaghetti and you expect me to figure out how to wire in new led lights? Get real~!

    • Scott Vogelsong says:

      There is absolutely no wiring involved-you purchase the correct LED bulb to replace what you have – unplug the old bulb, plug in the new – you’re done!

  3. Daylight Savings doesn’t arrive — it ends!

  4. Bill from Tenn says:

    ..My 2015 Ford F-150 came with LED interior lights and they are a great improvement over my old trucks lighting. Especially the light in the glove box and overhead console..I wish the headlights were LED instead of the halogen..I will be shopping to upgrade them..Perhaps an article on that subject would help..Thanks.

  5. I still don’t have the led lights on my car but after reading this I might reconsider.

  6. Dave from SC says:

    I have replaced my interior lights with LEDS and can more easily see. Big welcome difference.

  7. Ken Fleisher says:

    LED lights just installed in the trunk of my Honda Civic and Toyota Camry make looking for that missing wheel rim special security socket wrench a breeze. About 5 times as bright as the crummy little factory incandescent bulbs. And the wife says when she loads the groceries in the trunk, it is a pleasure to see where the apples rolled into the fender wells . AND best of all when she leaves the trunk lid open, the battery is not dead the next morning !

    • Hi Ken, I wonder where you got your LEDs that are 5 times brighter than the crummy factory incandescents. I read this article and went right to the Advance website and ordered 6 DE3021s and 4 DE3022s to replace the festoon-style 3.4 and 5W lamps in my courtesy lights and dome lights of my ’97 Odyssey and was dismayed when they lit up just as much as the factory bulbs, only in cool white. They are going back and I’ll have to research getting some that are actually brighter.


    Do they make replacement LED’s for a 1965 Mustang coupe or do I have to change the entire lighting sockets?

  9. I told you so says:

    yeah, just pry,(read: break), the bulb cover w/a screwdriver cuz you swear it has to pop off this way…

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