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Technical Why I hate LED taillights

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Reidy, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 200


    There is currently a post on hotrod safety. LED tail lights have been mentioned as a good safety feature. They may be for the driver.

    I might be the only one here that hates them. Particularly at night when they are on 4WD at eye level, when you are behind them and they have their indicator on and their foot on the brake. It takes a while to be able to see again. Some are so bright that it makes it hard to drive behind.

    In Australia our design rules had a maximum wattage for tail lights to avoid this problem. As LED are low watts but some as bright as a strobe light this rule is invalid.

    So please if you are going to install LED Taillights that also double as runway lighting, think about the person behind you.

    Thanks, end of rant.

    47chevycoupe, norms30a, rc57 and 23 others like this.
  2. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 4,582


    I'm thinking of installing them one day in my '32 5W. They will be mounted under the car facing the pavement with the intent of creating a bright glow so the cars behind me can notice the strangeness and hopefully my car, especially on a rainy night get occasionally here on the "wet coast"...
  3. Gary Addcox
    Joined: Aug 28, 2009
    Posts: 2,472

    Gary Addcox

    Well, I have to take exception with your opinion concerning small taillights, Australia. One drizzly day on the way to a rodrun, I almost "mounted" my buddy's '34 coupe because his '39 taillights were located down near the fender bottoms and weren't visible for any distance. I "think" LEDs might have helped a bit. Just an opinion. I totally agree with you about the brightness when vehicles with huge taillights are equipped with them. Those appear to be running with a foot on the brake pedal.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
    chryslerfan55, Hnstray, clem and 3 others like this.
  4. Reidy
    Joined: May 13, 2016
    Posts: 200


    Gary, I never used the word small, there is a good reason for that. The design rules stipulate a minimum size, minimum height. and viewing angles. They also have a maximum wattage. Without all of the details the lights being down low may not have been allowed in Australia and most likely contributed to their poor visibility.

    chryslerfan55 and 61Cruiser like this.

  5. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,414


    Incredible difference on my car trailer. I wouldn't go back to regular bulbs.
  6. chevyfordman
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,158


    My old 40 sedan was almost rear ended more then once in the daytime and LED's solved that problem. The car was converted to 12 volts also and all I could think of to make the assembly reflect more. But I can understand your problem also, no easy answers either.
    chryslerfan55, Hnstray, joel and 5 others like this.
  7. At least they may trigger a "stomp on the brake pedal fast" response when they are right up your clacker and looking at their phone.
    Hnstray, joel, 1Nimrod and 4 others like this.
  8. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 18,031


    How about just using halogen bulbs and painting the buckets white? Did wonders for my car and doesn't look like a new Honda.
  9. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,693


    On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are the smoked taillight lenses that you can't hardly tell when the driver in front of you puts on the brakes unless you're looking at them when the brake lights light up! :mad: I just about tagged a pickup a couple weeks ago and I don't think I was exactly asleep at the wheel when it happened.

  10. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 942

    Bob Lowry

    Anyone ever sat behind a Cadillac Escalade that has LED tail light strips that are at least 3 feet long?
    Talk about a blinding light!
    Texas57, 1Nimrod, jimmy six and 3 others like this.
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 4,245


    Illegal in many states, as are plastic license plate covers, blue dots, flame throwers, etc.
  12. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 928


    The worst ones are the extra LED driving lights that people leave on all the time and blind oncoming traffic, and refuse to turn them off.
  13. Paint the inside of the taillight bucket shiny white. Makes a big difference even with a traditional 1157 bulb.
  14. fortynut
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,038


    Those pesky ass bright lights are what I told the nice officer was the reason I had on my sunglasses that night. And, of course he had a wonderful answer. "If they're too bright, maybe you're following too close?"
  15. Model A Vette
    Joined: Mar 8, 2002
    Posts: 1,072

    Model A Vette

    As an aside
    When '39 tail light are mounted on other than a '39 they tend to "point at the stars".
    The only solution I have seen is to mount them frenched with the bucket mounted so that lense is mounted vertcally.
    i.rant likes this.
  16. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,905

    from Colorado

    I don't think that it's fair to compare LED lights in a Model A tail light to those in an new F-150. I modified a light for hitch receivers to that is LED as well as LED '53 Ford tail lights.
  17. v8flat44
    Joined: Nov 13, 2017
    Posts: 1,008


    I got some that were supposed to be for 6 V pos ground.....totally worthless. Then got some "higher candella" regulsr bulbs from Macs....they were wired in much junk......
    1Nimrod likes this.
  18. WB69
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,857


    And running the fog lights 24/7. Makes a lot of sense to dim the bright lights to have 2 dims and then 2 fog lights come on. Seems just as bright to me. If it isn't foggy, turn off the damn fog lights!
  19. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,805


    YES!! These damn bright driving/fog lights likely cause more accidents then they prevent. It makes me want to shine a green laser pointer into their eyes.
    chryslerfan55, Uribe, 1Nimrod and 5 others like this.
  20. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,179

    Joe H

    I am converting my '37 Chevy soon, they have about 6 square inches of lens each, so even good bulbs are not that bright. When compared to 50 or 60 square inches of light on modern cars, mine are really small. I
  21. You're not the only one, Steve. I TOTALLY AGREE!!!

    I might add the same about blue LED headlights. It looks like I just got flashed by a TIG welder without a welding helmet after encountering them, and it takes a while to refocus. How safe is that?

    Even OT digital dashboards with blue or red lights (which we don't talk about here), everything is a blur. Traditional dash lighting is just fine.

    In the shop when I look at a car's gloss paint (especially dark colors), all I see is the LED light fixture reflecting from the ceiling. I have a hard time finding the body lines. I may be getting old, but I don't even need glasses, except for reading and these stupid computers.

    I HATE LED LIGHTS OF ALL KINDS, PERIOD! Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program... :cool:
  22. I know! I often thought about putting some LED cowl lights on the '32 and give them a taste of their own medicine!
  23. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,272

    Blue One
    from Alberta


    I really don’t like LEDs in tail lights on hot rods.
    They look really out of place. Initially I had some LED equipped lenses in my 37 Ford tail lights on my RPU.

    They looked awful and they weren’t as bright as they should have been.

    So I ordered some quality red glass lenses and painted the inside of the buckets bright white.

    I then installed Sylvania Silverstar 1157 bulbs. :cool:

    EA8616C2-066E-4EB6-9C33-7FC3C55546AC.jpeg 67160E77-A003-4CBE-A782-7C8A2C3A458E.jpeg
  24. I don't have a problem with the taillights, it's those super bright headlights that bother me, they will blind you. HRP
    Texas57, The37Kid, norms30a and 11 others like this.
  25. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 5,151


    1157L I believe is the Long-life version of the bulb, have used them in rear panel A's, w/'39 lights over 40+ years.
  26. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,350

    from Oregon

    LED taillights don't bother me in most older cars as they've got much smaller light housings usually. The newer cars with their massive LED arrays are very bright, and I wish they were restricted, as they're so bright they've gone from a safety feature to unsafe because of the light levels.
    I've got LED lights I made up to go inside the running lights and turnsignals on my coupe, and my Austin, and I love them. They're bright enough, without being blinding. I also converted my original headlamp reflectors to Halogen sockets, and then put LED headlamps in them. I looked around and found that LED headlamps are not just one brightness. You have the choice of a lot of different light levels, so you don't have to choose those extremely bright LED's like so many rice rockets use. Mine are not any brighter than a standard halogen, or sealed beam headlight.
  27. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 5,548

    from Berry, AL

    Size and placement all figure in to being seen. Most older cars tail lights mounted lower than what we are accustomed to seeing now, and were much smaller. That's where a third brake light mounted higher up helps to be seen. My factory brake light on my Lincoln is dead center of the trunk, right at hood level on most cars, so it's easily seen. Some Plymouths and Dodges used a brake light in the same spot. They hadn't figured out how to put both brake and turn signal lights on the same bulb yet, so instead of dual bulb tail lights, the brake light went on the trunk. I'm running regular 1157 bulbs in the tails/ts, and a 1156 in the brake light but in new sockets, plenty bright. Old sockets and dark housings make for dim lights.
  28. There is a simpler reason to dislike LED lights at least on this board. They are just not traditional which is the focus of this board. LOL
  29. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 1,149


    Unfortunately, getting rear-ended by a cellphone using teeter, is now "traditional"...

    nunattax, Hnstray, neverdun and 7 others like this.
  30. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,212

    jimmy six

    I bought halogen seal beams and taillights for my 56 right after I bought it. Great front and rear especially with the replacement chrome taillight housings.
    I put LEDs in the backup lights which really helped backing the car into the garage.
    I agree with high bright headlights behind. When one is coming up I just move over to the right and stop if necessary by the curb and let them by... too old to get pissed off any more. I also have the courtesy any respect to turn off my headlights at night when waiting at a signal driving my stock height F-150 when behind a small car. I usually get a wave.

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