Golf cart owners are notoriously known for loving to customize their 4-wheeled babies. There are so many ways to customize a golf cart, including adding Christmas lights, a lift kit, new paint, street-legal modifications, custom seats and canopy covers.
One extremely cool customization you can do to your golf cart is to install LED lights onto your golf cart wheels. Adding LED lights to your golf cart wheels will make your cart stand out from everyone else’s. Therefore, you may wonder: how to install LED lights onto golf cart wheels?
In this article, we will tell you exactly how to install LED lights onto golf cart wheels.
How To Install LED Lights Onto Golf Cart Wheels?
To install LED lights onto your golf cart wheels, you will need waterproofed LED lights, rings that go behind your wheels, fixtures, and wiring. You can install LED lights on the outside of your rings, then use fixtures to fix the rings behind your wheels. Finally, wire everything to the cart’s power, but exercise caution.
To install LED lights onto your golf cart wheels, you will basically need to cut out 4 rings, 2 for your front wheels, and 2 for your rear wheels. On the outer portion of these rings, you will install LED lights and secure them tightly.
You can then use flatstock aluminum to create fixtures/brackets/tabs/mounts that can attach to your golf cart chassis. These fixtures will be used to hold the LED-mounted rings in place behind the golf cart wheels, giving the cart a truly unique lit up look.
This particular method for installing LED lights onto golf cart wheels was devised by Fentertainment on YouTube.
For this method of installing LED lights onto your golf cart wheels, you will need the following items:
-Hard plastic bucket (to make the rings)
-LED light connectors or soldering kit with isolation tape
-LED light controller
-Optional: clear heat shrink wrap (to waterproof LED lights that are not waterproof)
-Optional: voltage converter (if LED lights voltage does not match cart battery voltage)
Please note that this is not beginner-friendly build, and can require some experience or additional research.
You can always ask a professional electrician, mechanic, or engineer to build the LED lighting onto your wheels for you. This is safer and will save you some frustration.
If you are handy and know how to take safety precautions, you can follow the steps down below to know exactly how to install LED lights onto your golf cart wheels.
Step 1: Decide on colors and type of LED lights
The first step of installing LED lights onto your golf cart wheels is to choose the LED lights themselves. This comes down to the color and type of LED lights.
LED lights come in 3 types:
-White LED Lights
-RGB (red-blue-green) LED Lights
-Dream Color Strip LED Lights (individual LEDs can have different colors simultaneously)
Additionally, LED lights can be either waterproof or non-waterproof. Obviously, since golf carts are outdoor vehicles and they often cross through water, snow, or mud, you need waterproof LED lights.
If your LED lights are not waterproof out-of-the-box, you can use some clear heat shrink and apply it around the LED lights to waterproof them. Note: heat shrink that is not clear will cover your LEDs, blocking the light they are meant to emit, beating their purpose.
When purchasing LED lights, make sure their nominal voltage matches the nominal voltage of your power source.
The power source will usually be your golf cart battery, which may sometimes have a nominal voltage of 12V. However, the golf cart battery voltage rating can vary wildly depending on multiple factors, such as whether the cart is electric or gas powered.
If the voltage rating of your lights does not match the voltage rating of your power source, you will incur additional costs in the form of a voltage converter. A voltage converter transforms the voltage of your power source into a different voltage rating.
For example, if your golf cart has a 48V battery and your LED lights have a 12V voltage rating, you will need a voltage converter. In such a case, you would need a 48V to 12V voltage converter.
Step 2: Build rings to anchor lights in wheels
The second step is to build rings around which to anchor your LED lights. You will later install these rings behind the cart wheels.
You can build the rings out of many materials such as PVC pipes, aluminum, or plastic. However, the easiest method is to grab a hard plastic bucket and to slice it into 4 rings.
Using a marker and a ruler, mark 5 lines on the bucket that are each 1”-1”1/2 away from each other. Next, put on your safety glasses and additional safety equipment, and take out your saw.
After securing the bucket safely into a vice or a similar apparatus, you can saw the bucket along the lines that you just marked. Both a handsaw and a table saw will work, but a table saw will work better if your plastic bucket lacks some stiffness.
After cutting out the 4 plastic rings, use sandpaper to sand down the edges and avoid risks of cutting yourself. Sanding down the edges will also prevent the sharp plastic from cutting any wires.
The 4 rings should roughly be 1”-1”1/2 wide after the sanding. With the 4 rings cut out perfectly, it is time to move on to the LED strips.
Step 3: Prepare and modify LED strips
The third step is to prepare and modify your LED strips.
Measure your LED strips around the length of the rings you just cut, and then cut the LED strips into 4 strips of equal length. Cut behind the little tabs on the LED lights. Each cut LED strip should just be able to close the loop around the ring.
After the 4 LED strips are cut, pull on the clear waterproofing insulation at one end of each strip. Only uncover about half an inch of insulation, just enough to have access to the contacts on the strips.
When that small section of insulation is peeled off, cut it.
Next, you will need to use either connectors or a soldering kit to install wiring onto the LED lights. Using connectors is much more beginner friendly, but they do not always work. On the other hand, only attempt soldering cautiously and if you know what you are doing.
If you are using a connector, simply open its compartment, line up its contacts with the exposed contacts on the LED strip, and click it into place. Your LED strip will now have wires attached to it, thanks to the connector.
If you are soldering, simply solder your wires to the contacts accordingly. Remember to only attempt soldering safely and if you know what you are doing.
If you have any exposed metal, make sure you wrap insulation tape around it. You do not want any exposed metal with electrical current running through it.
Your LED strips are now ready to be installed on the rings.
Step 4: Wrap the LED lights around the rings
The fourth step is to install the LED lights onto the rings you previously cut out in step 2.
If you performed step 3 correctly, your cut LED lights should perfectly wrap around each ring.
Many LED strips come with an adhesive backing, initially covered up to protect the adhesive. If it is your case, remove the adhesive backing covering, and stick the strips around the rings.
If your LED strips have no adhesive backing, you can secure them to the rings with some sort of glue or fixture.
To further secure the LED lights onto the rings, add some zip ties around the rings at regular intervals. Tighten the zip ties, and cut off the excess plastic.
Make sure you leave enough wiring connected to each LED ring in order to reach the power source. Especially for the rings destined for the front of the cart, you want there to be enough give in the wiring to prevent left/right steering from ripping out the wires.
Step 5: Fix 2 LED rings on the front wheels
The 5th step is to install your 2 front LED rings onto your front golf cart wheels. To do this, you will need to build some fixtures out of aluminum flatstock. Use flatstock that is thin enough to be bent with pliers, but still thick enough to provide sufficient stiffness.
You will also be fixing the LED rings with hose clamps, when it comes to the front wheels.
Start off by putting a hose clamp around each spindle of the front wheels, but do not tighten the clamps yet.
Next, build 4 S-shaped tabs by bending the flatstock aluminum with pliers. Each S-shaped tab must be a bit less than a ring radius in height. 2 S-shaped tabs will be fixed to the inside of each of the 2 front rings.
After you have 2 S-shaped tabs, you can fix them into an LED ring, either with rivets, or a different kind of secure fixture. After the 2 S-shaped tabs are installed, the 2-tabs should both protrude from the same side of the ring, the whole thing resembling a steering wheel almost.
Next, slide the protruding end of both S-shaped tabs inside of the hose clamp on a front spindle, and tighten the hose clamp. The tightened hose clamp will secure the 2 aluminum S-shaped tabs, thus suspending the LED ring in the air.
Repeat this process until you have both front wheel LED rings mounted onto the golf cart.
Depending on the configuration of your own golf cart, you may need to tweak the shape of the flatstock aluminum. This is fine. Just bend the flatstock aluminum in a such a way that you obtain fixtures that can slide into the hose clamp without interfering with the rest of the cart.
Step 6: Fix 2 LED rings on the rear wheels
The 6th step is to install LED rings onto the rear wheels of the golf cart. This step is similar to the last step, but a bit different.
Once again, you will need to make 4 tabs from aluminum flatstock. The shape can be S-shape again, but it is possible you may need to build a different shape. You can be creative with the shape, as an S-shape may not fit in the rear without interfering with the drivetrain.
Whatever the shape of the tabs is, all you need to do is to have them hold the rear LED rings suspended in the air on one end, and tightened under the hose clamp on the other end.
For the rear of the golf cart, the hose clamp can be tightened around the axle.
The top tab mount of the rear wheel ring can be fed through the leaf spring, and then let its S-shape curve down to hook under the hose clamp on the axle.
The bottom tab mount of the rear wheel ring can directly reach the hose clamp on the axle and hook under the clamp thanks to the S-shape.
After both rear tab mounts for each wheel are inserted into the hose clamp clearance, tighten the hose clamps. Make sure nothing interferes with the mechanics in the golf cart and that every moving part is free to move!
The rear LED rings should sit transversally a bit behind where the wheels are, similarly to in the front of the cart.
Step 7: Connect LED lights to power
The seventh step is to connect the LED lights to the power. You need to make sure there is enough wiring from the LED rings to reach the power source. If there is not enough give in the wiring, you may need to go for an extra round of soldering or insulation tape.
Run the power wires to wherever you can get power from on your golf cart and add a switch to turn on and off the power to the LED light rings.
It is also best to install an LED light controller so that you can change the light color, color change speed, and brightness from your smart phone. Look for an LED light controller that supports these features if the limitless customization they offer interest you.
Connect all of the red wires to the controller’s red wire. Connect all of the green wires to the controller’s green wires. Connect all of the white wires with the controller’s black wire. Make sure the controller gets both power and ground.
Note: the wire colors may differ for you; consult documentation for your electronics and an electrician to figure out the connections. Act cautiously and seek professional help. Everything you attempt is done at your own risk.
Step 8: Test & look out for any errors or mistakes
The eighth and final step of installing LED lights onto your golf cart wheels is testing, and looking out for any errors or mistakes.
Visually inspect your installation to make sure there is no interference between your LED light installations and the moving golf cart parts. In addition, look for any exposed metal contacts and insulate them before adding power to the cart.
Once everything is perfectly safe and fine, you can turn on the golf cart and test the lights.
If the lights work fine, you can drive your golf cart extremely slowly (less than one wheel rotation if possible) just to make sure your installation does not interfere with the wheels. If you mounted your LED rings onto moving parts, they may twist here or break.
If everything works great, congratulations! You now have yourself a sick and unique golf cart with bright colorful changing lights! No one will ever forget you out on the golf course ever again!
Go out for the a test drive if you feel like parading your new creation, then come back home, and turn off your golf cart for its next outing!
There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly how to install LED lights onto your golf cart wheels!
With LED lights on your golf cart wheels, everyone on the course will know who you are! Get ready for a lot of conversations started with questions about your lit up wheels!
What color would you want the LED lights on your golf cart to be? Let us know in the comments down below!