Introduction: Dash Led Mod

Picture of Dash Led Mod

ever hate the junky green dash light you car came with? here is one way to get rid of them and still see your dash at night.

first select a dash to mod... this one will do.

note just because i post this does NOT imply liability on my part you must work safe. and any time you work on a car disconnect the battery!!

Step 1: Open Your Dash

Picture of Open Your Dash

yeah open it up and save the screws. you'll have a nice hole where a gauge cluster was. it is WAY easier to just pull it out.remove the old bulb's and any screws that hold the flexible circuit board to the back of the cluster.

now get out your drill and drill-out the "spot welds" so you can remove the cover(white part)

Step 2: Selcting Light's

Picture of Selcting Light's

about lighting. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! blue light's cut down your ability to see in low light worse than anything else! this is why dark room's ALWAYS use red light's. this is why i chose to use these. plus the fact that they cost only $6.00 for three! now that you've drilled out the plastic welds you'll need to remove the green plastic color filter.

wiring is easy black goes to ground/red goes to a switched power point(i.e. an unused accessory lead in the back of the fuse box)or the wire that goes to your head light switch to control your dash light's.

Step 3: Reassemble

Picture of Reassemble

in this mod i removed the #@%ing red stickers.and painted the well black. that alone makes it easier on the eye's! now you might notice three small red light's this is a day time(with flash)picture. next pic is at night wile blury it shows that they are plenty bright enough!


Dakota Joel98 (author)2014-11-09


Azzurro (author)2014-10-02

is that a golf 1? :D

yankie.scholz made it! (author)2014-08-17

I got an LED kit from a place called EnlightenOz, they supply the correct number of bulbs and the best bit is they plug right into the original sockets! They have a Facebook page here:

I ended up getting a few different colours to play with

schitzo69 (author)2012-05-22

Nice job. I have performed this mod on my Maxima, only with blue LEDs for the numbers and white for needles. Any color is good to use, especially when the color matches your car's paint scheme. I purchased my LEDs from Radio Shak along with the resistors for about 10 bucks, which after my first excursion I find to be quite expensive. I just soldered the resistors on and then soldered the lights into the existing dash light fixtures. After that it just a plug and play type system. Just add a jumper wire for the different color needle LED and glue it in place under the needle. Beautiful display at night, and not too bright.

Sym (author)2011-01-10

If I remember boot camp correctly the military is shying away from red lights, and moving to blue or blue / green combination as these ' shock ' the eyes the least when going from stoscopic (sp?) or night vision, to stereoscopic vision. More specifically external hatches on the ship have blue / blue/green lights so that they attract less attention than other wavelengths when being viewed from a distance.

Red lights are still in place in alot of military flight-stations but I have found the pilots tend to use dim, white lights more than the reds.

The Red Myth:

yo man (author)2009-11-27

can you use other colors like blue?

wi-fi astronomer (author)yo man2010-10-30

You could use any ol' LEDs you want. I'd like red as it'll look like if you do Flight Sim with flying the plane at night. Red is best for night vision in the first place. Red will look sharp, especially with "old school" looking gauges on the dash.

slideways (author)yo man2009-11-27

why yes you can if you want, but if you read in the comments there is some debate as to the safety of using the blue lights. some like me think that blues arn't good for your night vision. but yes the blue led's will fit and wire the same.

i would like to see some pic's when your done modding! your avitar leads me to think your going to do this to an atv?

yo man (author)slideways2009-12-07

yes i will when i find the time but i was going to mod a 1980 gmc 4x4

godofal (author)2010-04-05

wait a minute, $6,- for 3 LEDs u call cheap?

if u look around the internet (ebay) u can get them for like 10-20cents each...

even if you order in quantities like 10, theyr 20~30 cents each. (plus costs to ship, but theyr neglectable)

but for like 20-30bucks leds at one dealer and you got them really 10 times cheaper than that!

Foaly7 (author)2010-02-27

That's ghetto.

Paulkartking25 (author)2009-11-18

Awsome Job !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

slideways (author)Paulkartking252009-11-18

thank you. sadly i have had to sell my golf. but i will leave this post up so any one who needs more info can contact me.

Mr. Thumbs (author)2008-11-13

The red "safety" light used in photography is used because the lights wavelength does not affect/fog the film as other colors, like blue, would. Some steps must be done in total darkness. You made a wise choice in red - the military has used red lighting for decades for night time viewing - everything from aircraft instrumentation to night missions to IR for selective identifying

That is why it has been preferred by army.  But what is the reason it is there on the top of the politicians car.

Start Racing at Farringdon Motorsport Limited.

pdlbooboo (author)Mr. Thumbs2009-04-25

thank u for making the photo correction... i was just getting ready to say something

protocolZA (author)2009-03-12

That looks like a VW Golf, I did that to mine too (Golf MKII), but in Montana green (like the VR6) and the airvents too, in the end i gave the car to some friends cause they wanted to start racing and i had left it standing for 2 years, so I offered it to them cause it had a 2L 16v motor ( no fuel injection) and i made a new inlet manifold and put 4 Mikuni carbs off a superbike and 2nd stage cams and it was very quick, but not very fuel efficient. I still have some photos of the dash, but they where taken after it stood for 2 years.

slideways (author)protocolZA2009-03-12

very cool mine is also a mkII gti. an info on your build would be greatly appreciated. but instead of clogging this site with hop up talk try my favorite car forum I go by slide ways there too.

trayo (author)2009-01-14

Like mine, but a lot less complex. I definitely should've done red.

slideways (author)trayo2009-01-15

yeah but my camera freaks out trying to get a night time shot. so I think your pics work better.

trayo (author)slideways2009-01-15

When taking pictures in an area with low levels of light camera tend to leave the shutter open longer in order to capture as much light as possible. So when taking pictures it's ideal to have a tripod or rest the camera on something solid. That's why your pictures with flash aren't so blurry. I would suggest just trying to hold as still as possible or put something on your lap to steady the camera.

slideways (author)trayo2009-01-15

I did all of that but the camera went in to a mode I have not seen before! best I can figure was, A. cheap camera, B. the only light was red. but thanks for the tip's. I like how many useful hint I get from here even in replies like yours! it's great!

trayo (author)slideways2009-01-15

No problem. I never though about putting the lights on the inside lighting up the front. That's a good idea. I only though about needing to replace the bulbs. I have to say your way would've been SO much easier.

slideways (author)trayo2009-01-16

yeah low buget can be the way to go some times. when i can get my car back in the garage i am going to drill out behind the tach and light up the gas and h20 temp gauge. middle of winter in ak is no time to work outside!

wi-fi astronomer (author)2008-12-18

Actually, if the original light is not an LED, it'll sooner or later burn out, making the car a little unsafe. (can't see speed) Replacing it with a red LED adds safety because it'll never burn out and red light is good for dashboards at night. A nice bonus is for Flight Sim players: The lighting on the dash would match the airplane dashboards. The reason red is good is that red light does not cause the pupil to constrict, improving night vision.

Eeeeeeeeeekz (author)2008-11-11

cool thanks but that give me a headache.

The Jamalam (author)2008-10-18

wow, search on all instructables on rating, go to the last page, and here at the bottom, is this. Have 5 stars!

slideways (author)The Jamalam2008-10-18

thanks, I tried but I did not find it. oh well it's not like I am doing this to be popular.

ac1D (author)2008-10-08

did you really paid 6$ for 3 led? You know you could had get 100 for 9$ or less?

slideways (author)ac1D2008-10-18

yeah but these were pre-wired for 12v so that was worth it to me.

slideways (author)2008-10-18

nice tip thanks I felt the same but I was thinking of using the hot glue method to defuse the light(another 'ible.) the shift light is no longer a prob as I made a hho unit and used the vacuum port for the light switch for the intake.

ehmbee (author)2008-10-17

Interesting-at first sight of the dash switches I thought vintage Audi, but then the gauge cluster would already be glowing red ;-) I had a few Veedubs of my own-great fun...oh that annoying shift light! It's hard to tell from the photo, but it appears the individual lights appear a bit harsh-I think other 'ibles will suggest that you sand the bulbs gently for a softer glow. Just my $.02, great job either way!

johnson_steve (author)2008-08-22

Is that a VW? an A2 jetta or golf maybe?

slideways (author)johnson_steve2008-08-22

why yes it is! an 85 golf gti! way to much fun to drive. :) Why do you ask?

johnson_steve (author)slideways2008-08-22

Just fond memories; I've had a few of those myself.

slideways (author)johnson_steve2008-08-22

oh yeah i hear you. vw is responsible for me choosing my screen name.

About This Instructable




Bio: mad man and addicted to cornering... hard!
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