Car Decorating: Spotlights

Car decorating can be easy and fun. Learn how to fit spotlights to your car legally and safely and avoid the hassles.

Spotlights are a useful addition to your car. They will provide a clearly defined patch of light on the road. The narrow beam of the spotlight has a very long range. It is best used to light up the road ahead of the headlight main beam. Another option is driving lights, which give a much broader, more even spread of light than do spotlights. These are used as supplements to the normal beam lights. They are usually positioned so as to illuminate the areas of the road that the headlights do not light up.

Before you fit an extra pair of lights to your car, check to see if the generator can cope with the extra load. Check also to make sure that the battery and terminals are in good order. There are also legal considerations to abide by. Both lights must be mounted symmetrically at least 24 inches and no more than 42 inches from the ground. In addition the lights must be no more than 16 inches from the side of the car.

When you have selected your lights follow these steps to install them on your vehicle:

(1) With your light kit will come a set of clamps. Assemble the clamp as per the written instructions provided. Slide the clamp over the rear top lip of the bumper placing it in accordance with the legal requirements. Tighten the bolts to hold the clamp in place.

(2) Fit the light's mounting bolt to the clamp. Keeping the light pointed straight ahead, do up the nut tightly.

(3) Fit the light's mounting bolt to the clamp. Keeping the light pointed straight ahead, do up the nut tightly.

(4) You are now ready to wire up the lights. You want the lights to only come on with the main beam. To achieve this you will need to create a relay. The operating part of the relay is connected to the headlight main beam wiring and to a switch on the dash.

(5) Secure the relay to the body - work with a self tapping screw. Run a wire from one of the operating terminals of the relay to the headlight main beam wire and connect it with a Scotchlock connector. Lead another wire from the other operating terminal to the dash. Wire up one of the remaining terminals of the lights.

(6) Strip the last half inch of insulation from the power wire of each light, then feed them through the radiator grille. Twist the bared ends together, and fit them into an in-line crimped connector. Fit the wire from the relay into the other end of the connector, then use crimping pliers to secure the \connector.

(7) Find the wire you ran from the relay to the dash, and crimp a spade connector to it. Push the wire onto one of the switch terminals. Fit a connector and lead a wire from the other terminal to a convenient bolt or screw which is earthed.

(8) Drill a hole in the dash and fit the switch to it, making sure it's straight.

(9) Run a wire from the remaining terminal on the relay to a point which is live all the time, such as at the solenoid, the fuse box or even the battery terminal. Connect an in-line fuse-holder into the wire using suitable crimp connectors, and fit a fuse of the specified rating into the fuse holder.

Be sure to follow these steps carefully to ensure that your lights are properly wired. And remember, too, to always disconnect the battery earth terminal before you start work on your car electrics. That way you will prevent a short circuit.

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