How to Wire a Dome Lightby Bob White
Navigating the interior of your vehicle at night can be a difficult task due to the low light. Installing a dome light will make this a lot easier. Connecting the light to the vehicle's electrical system will require some basic 12-volt knowledge, and you can control the light via the door switches or a switch mounted in the light fixture itself. With a few basic tools and some patience, you can complete this project over a weekend.
Feel around the headliner with your hands for the stock dome light installation mounts. If your vehicle doesn't have one or you can't locate it, choose an approximate location.
Measure the width of the ceiling. Divide this number in half and measure to the center of the ceiling and mark this location with a pencil.
Locate the interior fuse panel. If you are having difficulty the owner's manual will point you in the right direction. Remove the headliner's trim on the side of the vehicle with the fuse panel.
Cut a 1-inch slit in the future location of the dome light to feed the wire through. Bend the coat hanger into one straight piece. Tape the insulated wire to one end of it.
Push the coat hanger past the door trim under the headliner and in the direction of the dome light. Guild the hanger to the hole you have cut in the liner.
Remove the wire from the end of the hanger and pull through the hole leaving enough length to fasten to the wires comfortably. Remove the hanger.
Install the reflector base to the dome light location with the provided self taping screws. Fasten the light's ground wire under one of these screws. Be careful not to damage the roof's body work. There should be a structural cross beam to mount it to.
Connect the light's positive wire to the insulated wire you fished past the headliner with a butt connector. This connector works by placing two stripped wires in either end and compressing with pliers.
Install a light bulb in the socket and snap the lens cover into its place.
Run the wire from the side of the headliner to the fuse panel. Hide the wire by pushing it into the edges of the interior trim work.
Connect the wire to the fuse tap with a butt connector and push the tap into an available fuse location. Test the light for power.
- You may have to fully remove the vehicle's headliner if you can't find an appropriate place to mount the dome light.
Items you will need
- convertible car interior image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com