Brand new LED taillights are awesome, but they need a little work to suit my car perfectly.
I had thought about what route to take with taillights for quite a while. I knew I wanted something with LED lights instead of standard globes, but they also needed to be the right colour.
There are usually only two types of taillights offered for S13’s. One version being the crystal style, like what I have here, and the other version being smoked style which is basically a blacked out crystal taillight.
I got these pretty cheap. They aren’t any special high end brand but they work which is fine. I’m not sure there are any brands that make decent LED taillights apart from DMAX and a couple others. Even then, they would still need some changes to make them how I wanted.
So, what I wanted to do was tint these somehow. There was no way I could take off the lense because they are a moulded plastic. So it was either mask off the bottom half and paint them (which I have the right paint for) or buy some vinyl and try tinting them that way.
If you have seen the full red taillights before, you will know how good they look when done properly.
I ended up going the vinyl route for a couple reasons. One, if I stuff up all I have to do is peel it off. Two, I didn’t have much time to do it all so I wouldn’t have been able to tint them properly with the candy apple red paint.
It has a film on the front to protect it, then an adhesive backing, so it’s pretty simple. Basically you are just sticking plastic to more plastic.
Cut it to size so it will cover the entire lense..
Grab headlight to see if you stuffed up the size. If you didn’t, good job.
It is about as close as I could get to the original red on the taillight, so I’m pretty happy with it. Also considering the vinyl cost me about $20, it definitely wasn’t an expensive mod.
If I want to make it any darker in the future I can just add another layer of vinyl which will make the red twice as strong.
If you do try doing this, make sure you have a bit of overhang with the vinyl. I found it best to stick the entire thing on, then fold over the extra pieces and cut it off with a knife. This is the most precise way of getting it to look good. The other thing to keep in mind is the vinyl application. Try to avoid any bubbles and creases, otherwise they will be clearly visible when your indicators are lit up.
After a bit of masking and cutting, I had the first one done, just had to peel off the protective film.
Taillight number one finished!
Moved onto taillight number two and did the same thing. A bit of patience and they both came out looking exactly how I wanted.
Can’t wait to get them onto the car and see them both lit up.
I might tint them with paint at some point but for now I’ll wait until the vinyl gets a bit weathered.