Rock lights are a necessity when off-roading at night. This article will show you how to install your own set of rock lights.By Jared Hammond – November 25, 2015
This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).
Off-roading is hazardous—even when you can see the terrain around you—but if you’re feeling daring enough to go out at night, you should first consider installing rock lights to your Jeep. Rock lights help you see the immediate terrain surrounding your Jeep. This is especially helpful for your spotter if you go rock crawling. Of course, it also looks cool. There are kits that come with everything included and are easier to install, but they are also very expensive. This guide will show you a more affordable DIY solution.
- 8-16 12V superflux LED bulbs with water resistant housing
- Mounting brackets
- Ratchet with socket set
- Wire cutter
- Wire stripper
- Wire crimper
- Heat gun
- 18 gauge wire
- Wire loom
- 5-10 amp fuse and inline fuse holder
- Ring terminals
- Wire tap
- Heat shrink
- Cable ties
Step 1 – Plan where you want your lights to go
Plan out where you’re going to install your bulbs and how spread out you want them to be. Common places to install are the front and rear bumpers, the wheel wells, and the undercarriage.
Figure 1. Use a diagram to help plan your circuit.
Step 2 – Install rock lights
If you’re using individual lights, all you need to do is drill holes wide enough to fit the bulb housing; otherwise, you’ll want to get some kind of mounting bracket to install them.
Figure 2. Lights attached to fend flare.
Step 3 – Route wiring
Route all your wires to the driver’s side of the engine compartment. Make sure to keep track of your positive and negative wires. If you have to route them through the firewall, install a grommet so the wires won’t tear. Put all the wires into a wire loom so you don’t have a whole bunch of loose wires hanging from the bottom of your Jeep. Make good use of your cable ties to mount the wires up and to keep them bundled together.
Figure 3. Use a wire loom to organize your wires.
Step 4 – Cut, strip, and crimp wiring
Cut your wires so they all meet at the same point. Take your positive wires and strip off the insulation. Twist the copper of the wires together and crimp them to a butt-connector. Slide some heat shrink wrapping around the wire extension you’ll be connecting your wire bundle to. Crimp the extension wire to the connector. Pull the heat shrink over the connector and heat it with your heat gun until the connection is fully insulated. Repeat this for the negative wires, but instead of a connector, crimp them to a ring terminal.
Figure 4. Wire stripping.
Figure 5. Wire crimping.
- Figure 6. Heat shrink.
Step 5 – Install switch
Drill out a space for the switch somewhere inside your cabin. The switch should have at least three connections. One for your lights, one for a power source, and one for ground. For power, tap into a switched source such as the cigarette lighter wires. To ground the switch, you’ll need to take a wire with a ring terminal and install it to the chassis of the Jeep.
Figure 7. LED switches.
Step 6 – Finish wiring
Before you connect your lights to the switch, you need to install a fuse to the circuit with an inline fuse holder. Then you need to ground the negative wire bundle to the chassis to complete the circuit.
Figure 8. Enjoy your new rock lights.