LED High Level Brake Light
LEDs are the future. They last longer, have a better colour, give instant light and draw attention much more effectively than a standard bulb.
Fitting A Replacement High Level Brake Light
A few companies now sell pre-made LED high level brake lights for the smart, the shape is common on all Suprex engined smarts and the fitment is very quick.
Here is the back of Tiny's car, you can just make out the high level brake light in the spoiler.
The standard lens is held in by a screw at each end, unscrew them.
This shows the replacement brake light that we are about to fit.
With the screws removed the lens can be pulled out leaving the reflector in place.
The reflector just pulls out, watch out because they can be sharp.
Line the new light up so the electical pins push into the correct holes. Don't force the light in so you don't damage the two pins. It should slide into position relatively easy.
The quality of the fitment will depend on the make and price of the unit.
Replace the two screws to hold it in place, don't over tighten them.
Give them a test, here you can see how effective they will be during the night.
Sourcing An LED High Level Brake Light
This is going to be by no means easy or cheap. I was lucky to acquire this one from America for only £16 but on further questioning, the seller couldn't obtain any more.
I am currently trying to find out who makes these lights, I have seen three different makes so far. I believe one was In-Pro, maybe the other was ABCDesign. If you have any info on these then let me know. Generally they retail for almost £50 including delivery.
2 Ways To Make An LED High Level Brake Light
Remove the 2 philips screws circled red. Pull the unit away from the car.
You will find a reflector inside, take it and put it to one side. Warning, it's sharp.
Offer up the LED light strip to make sure it fits ok.
Grab a glue gun and add a few squirts at each end.
Dunk it straight into cold water to cool it down and stop it melting the diffuser.
Leave it submerged for a while to cool and the totally dry the whole unit.
There are 2 ways to wire it, either push the wires into the holes of get 2 narrow spade connectors. Crimp them to the wires and push into the holes.
Refit the unit and test.
For some reason, many places will tell you that the bulbs in the high level brake light cannot be removed. It could be that they have had problems getting the bulbs out.
Needless to say, you can get the bulbs out and I have a nice easy way to do it.
The five bulbs are 286 bulbs, they are a mini wedge fit bulb like the 501.
Take a piece of sellotape and wrap it around the light so it sticks to itself and the bulb.
Pull the sellotape and the bulb will pop out.
286 LED replacement bulbs can be bought from car shops and Ebay.
They are also sold with 509T twist fit bases on some occasions.
Place the reflector in the spoiler of the car and make sure it is connected. Get someone to hold the brake pedal down while you work out the bulb orientation.
LED bulbs only work one way round so partially push a bulb in each hole and mark on it with a pen so you know which side is up. When you have marked all five LEDs, remove the reflector from the car again and insert all five LEDs. They can be very stiff to get in.
The bulbs arrive and were very easy to insert into the reflector.