The 9 Best Underbody Underglow Kits
There are few more affordable ways to add a touch of panache to your vehicle than by installing an LED kit under its body. Whether you choose a system that pulses in time to the beat of your music or you opt for a more demure setup that emits a steady glow, underglow lighting will certainly make your vehicle stand out. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best underbody underglow kit on Amazon.
Getting The Glow
Additional wiring can also be leveraged by an LED underglow kit to allow it to respond to your car's sound system or engine RPM.
Regardless of how it's used or perceived, there is no denying that light is synonomous with power. Depending on its color, light can even be used to personify the qualities of good and evil. In his quest to reach the final level of becoming a martial arts master, for example, the fictional character of Leroy Green unlocks the mystical power of a body-surrounding, sublime golden glow, empowering him to defeat the bad guy in Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon. Okay, I admit that this movie was really cool to me back in the 80s, so no judgments. That said, this example shows that a "glow" can mean much more than just light coming from a lamp. It personifies a sense of being, power, and control. A great way to embody these very same qualities when behind the wheel is by outfitting your vehicle with an underbody underglow kit.
Also known as ground effects lighting, the underbody underglow kit is an aftermarket aesthetic customization consisting of a series of lights attached to a car's chassis, allowing for illumination of the ground below. Underglow lighting is broken up into two main categories, neon and light-emitting diode technology. While neon ground effects lighting has the advantage of being extra-bright on the road, its tubing is quite fragile. This makes neon underglow kits ideal for installation on automobiles that aren't driven on rough terrain, as even slight bumps can potentially damage their tubing. Installing a neon underglow kit usually involves wiring a transformer into a vehicle and bolting the lighting assembly directly to the car's chassis. Certain neon underglow kits are also compatible with specialized modules that, when wired into a car's audio system, allow the lights to change according to the type of music being played.
By contrast, LED underglow kits are sturdier, more compact, and significantly more durable than their neon-based counterparts. LEDs are a type of solid-state lighting that make use of semiconductors to generate light as opposed to super-heated gas inside a glass tube. Many LED underglow kits are vibration-resistant and more energy-efficient than neon kits. They are capable of displaying complex lighting patterns, including strobe, chase, and even fading effects. LEDs can also be mounted into small nooks and crannies of a vehicle. Common installation locations include a car's interior, inside the engine bay, on top of air-intake scoops, and even behind the wheel wells. Additional wiring can also be leveraged by an LED underglow kit to allow it to respond to your car's sound system or engine RPM.
Some LED underglow kits can be completely submerged in water, making them ideal for trailers in need of additional illumination to help light the road during heavy rains or snowstorms. Aside from their aesthetic value, don't forget that these kits serve an important function when it comes to overall safety, too. Whether you’re plowing through snow, fog, or just a long stretch of dark and barren highway at night, these lights will be noticed sooner and from farther away than ordinary front-facing headlights. Underglow kits provide a full 360-degree range of visibility that allows other bystanders to know where you are. I like to think of the underbody underglow kit on a car as being analogous to an LED vest. Both serve a similar purpose of alerting bystanders to your presence, the main difference being that whereas one is for a mobile machine, the other protects a pedestrian.
Being Practical When Tricking Out Your Ride
While both neon and LED underglow kits can be installed professionally, one of the major advantages to these aftermarket accessories is found in the customization available to the DIY enthusiast when tricking out a ride on their own. That said, if you're the type of person who wants to install an underglow kit yourself, it's a good idea to brush up on your knowledge of electrical wiring to ensure your safety. A pair of electrician gloves is highly recommended as well, especially if you're working around a car's sound system or engine components.
Depending on where you live, the laws may be different, so just keep that in mind before jumping into such a project.
Consider an underbody underglow kit that is Bluetooth-compatible with an ability to customize its brightness as well as the speed at which its lights will change color. Furthermore, if you plan to do any off-roading with a large pickup truck, the kit you choose should include durable light pods that can withstand potential impacts, while also being flexible enough to easily contour to the shape of your vehicle's underside.
Some underbody underglow kits also come equipped with a remote control, which makes it easy to operate your lights from up to 100 feet away.
As empowering as it is to imagine yourself driving on the highway at night with the radio blasting and those neon or LED lights pulsing on the road below you, it's important to understand the laws and legalities associated with these kits. Depending on where you live, the laws may be different, so just keep that in mind before jumping into such a project.
A Very Brief History Of Underbody Underglow Kits
Light emitting diode technology dates as far back as 1907 when electroluminescence was discovered by British inventor H. J. Round of Marconi Labs. LED technology didn't appear as a practical component application until 1962, initially taking the form of low-intensity infrared light. Today's LEDs are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, exhibiting very high levels of brightness from which most automobiles benefit on long stretches of dark road.
With respect to ground-effects lighting, the concept of LED and neon underglow kits have a relatively short history that began around 1987. These kits were developed by a man named Andrew Wilson who currently holds several patents.
Today's high-end LED underglow kits are available in several types, including pod-style lights, LED strips, and flexible LED tubing.
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