LED Footwell lighting can be done DIY amazingly cheap, especially considering dealerships like to charge as much as $400 for it.
Required tools/parts (if buying uncut LED strips):
- Soldering iron (and preferably some experience)
- Spare wires to use between strips
- (Optional) Wire connectors to be able to easily disconnect portions of lighting and wires
People are always posting their car mods online, so it’s very easy to find How-to’s for your specific vehicle. I found one particularly great post on the Camaro5 forums by “AUS10BMX”, here, that was very useful for help with installation.
- Get some LED strip from eBay for about $10, in whatever color you prefer, or even RGB for around $20.
These strips come in long strands that have to be manually cut and soldered to wires and connectors. Pre-cut and wired strips can be found for a little extra cost, but you don’t get nearly as much length of lighting.
- Find wiring harness to wire LEDs into, as well as a “ground” connection.
This is the most important part. For newer cars, there will be a wiring harness under the driver’s side dash which will include the dome light power wire, which is the direct power line for the dome light. The details can be found by Googling your vehicle model and “dome light wire” or “dome light wire tap”. By plugging into this power source, we don’t need to worry about turning our LED lighting off and on, as it just does so whenever the dome light does, primarily when the doors open and close. For older cars, this may take more effort, as the dome light wire may be routed somewhere entirely different.
- Measure lengths for strips under dashboard and spaces between where wires will have to be routed.
Keep in mind, the space between the driver’s side footwell and passenger’s side sometimes has a hole or just a snap-on cover that can be opened to route wires through. This,obviously, is useful for hiding the wires and making the exact length of the wire cuts less important.
- Cut strips to length to fit under dashboard on each side.
For me, this was about 11 inches.
- Solder wires (and optionally, connectors) onto cut LED strips.
This is, of course, the most difficult and time-consuming part. Using bulk LED strips, the wires and connectors will have to be hand-soldered and installed. As mentioned, if it’s worthwhile to you, you can get pre-wired LED strip at slightly higher cost. eBay and Amazon have a massive selection of “footwell LED strip” ranging from $10-$30.
- Install it!
Use the adhesive on the back side of the strips and plug the wires into their places. I also reinforced the adhesive with clear packaging tape over it.
For more specific details, consult the Googles! I’m sure someone in the world has done it for your particular car. For my specific build, I wish I had taken more pictures, but the linked post by AUS10BMX has all the necessary info. I’ll try to get an Instructable posted, but until then, there is a very detailed Instructable by “ecellingsworth” that my be useful, here.