Get lit: How you can adorn your automobile with Christmas lights

Lighting your automobile is enjoyable, however test legal guidelines and keep secure.

Alina Bradford/CNET

Every year, the household and I deck out our Ford F-150 with Christmas lights to take part within the vacation gentle parade. Final 12 months, we gained second place in our division, so I do know a bit one thing about adorning autos for the vacation season.

Whether or not you are in a parade, or similar to to indicate off your vacation spirit at your tailgate celebration, you may add lights to your automobile simply… and with out killing your battery. Listed here are some tricks to get you WIP lit this vacation season.

Is it authorized?

Should you’re planning on including lights to your automobile for on a regular basis use, it is in all probability not an awesome thought. It is greater than doubtless unlawful in your space. You may at all times name your native police division to seek out out the legal guidelines in your space, however to be on the secure aspect, solely adorn for occasions the place you may take the decorations off afterward.

When lighting your automobile for a parade or when lighting up a tailgate celebration, you should not have any issues. Police will be extra lenient in these instances, particularly if it is a nighttime gentle parade. Simply be sure to activate the lights after you get to the occasion to be on the secure aspect.

Begin small


Snowflake lights.

Alina Bradford/CNET

Earlier than going all-out, begin with a easy ornament and go from there. I counsel beginning with a wreath you may connect to your automobile’s grill utilizing zip ties. Once you’re completed, the ties will be simply eliminated with out damaging your automobile. Mild the wreath with battery-powered lights as a substitute of the sort you plug in.

The lights include their very own small battery pack. All you have to do is change them on earlier than you exit.You will get battery-powered lights at most dwelling enchancment shops and a few department shops and so they are available quite a lot of shapes and colours. My favourite are those formed like snowflakes. 

Battery-powered lights can be wrapped across the grill for a bit extra bling.

How you can get big-time lit

OK, so perhaps going small is not your fashion. Drenching your automobile in bulbs is a bit more troublesome than simply including a wreath or some battery-powered lights.


First, you are going to want an influence inverter to supply sufficient energy for lights which have a voltage greater than 12V. Most Christmas lights are 110V AC (alternating present). That is no good for automobile use as a result of your automobile can usually solely energy 12V DC (direct present). 

The inverter permits you to use regular Christmas lights by altering the DC present to a useable AC present. All you do is hook it as much as your automobile’s battery by following the producer’s directions, then plug the lights into the inverter.

You will get inverters at your native auto provide retailer or on-line. The Potek 2000W Energy Inverter Three or the Ampeak 1000W Energy Inverter are good decisions.


Now, you are going to wish to connect the lights very well so they do not fall off or drag the bottom. I like to make use of massive zip ties to safe gentle strands to my automobile’s operating boards, mirrors, mattress hooks, grill, bumper and different spots the place a zipper tie can simply be looped.

Some individuals additionally use robust magnets that you would be able to purchase from craft shops for momentary conditions, like a parade. Simply be certain to not drag the magnet throughout your automobile’s end whenever you take away the magnets. At all times pull up on the magnet to keep away from scratches in your automobile’s paint job.

Be secure

Once you’re within the large leagues of lighting, make sure you be secure. Use solely lights rated for outside use and solely use the lights when it is dry outdoors. These 110V AC lights can shock you, and never in a great way.  

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