Best Automotive Replacement Light Kit Gauges in 2020



Partsam 10x White 12mm 12V 3 SMD LED T5 Neo Wedge Bulbs Auto A/C Climate Lights Review:


2005 Honda Civic LX sedan climate control knobs (left side). The first two LED units right out of the bag fit easily and worked fine. I didn't have to go through several to find a working light, and didn't have to modify either the LED unit housing or the hole. I did have to rotate one of them 180 degrees to get the polarity right. Rotating the one unit properly was helped by marking the backs of both units with a Sharpie after initial installation. One LED went dark after a couple of days, but it turned out to be installer error - I hadn't completely locked the bulb into place and it had come loose. That was an easy fix. Unfortunately these T5 (12 mm diameter base) bulbs do NOT fit the recirculate + A/C + rear defrost switch cluster at the bottom right. Those need the T4 (10mm diameter base) LED bulbs.



Partsam 10x White PC74 Twist Socket T5 Wedge 37 70 1-SMD 5050 LED Dashboard Instrument Cluster Light Review:


I own an '06 Honda CR-V. It’s been a dependable vehicle; but, after 12 years, it’s showing its age… including the bulbs in the HVAC system, instrument panel cluster, etc. starting to die. I checked with Honda, they wanted about $400 to replace the cluster (they don’t only replace the bulbs). So, DIY it was. After a lot of research (there are a lot of LEDs out there that will work with an ‘06 CR-V, to the point it’s confusing), I landed on the Partsam 10x White PC74 Twist Socket T5 Wedge 37 70 1-SMD 5050’s. For those who are only interested in the review portion, please see the Pros, Cons, and Recommended Purchase? sections. For those interested in more findings and resources, please see General Comments.

Pros:
***Bulbs come with well-built, bright LEDs and replacement T5 sockets (meaning it takes a T-shaped bulb base no more than 5mm wide)
***SMDs (surface mounted device -- i.e. the diode) seem securely soldered in place
***In cool-white, they are much brighter and cleaner looking than the OEM bulbs, which were more amber-colored
***5050’s provide more (direct, also a Con in some instance) lighting surface area than other type of LEDs (perfect for indicators and the thermometer/odometer/trip meter)
***They were a direct fit not only for the Partsam replacement T5 bulb sockets (which you’d expect), but also the original Honda T5, Tobshiba V2, bulb sockets -- both the original white and black socket bodies used on the instrument cluster
***LED bodies fit through the small openings in the circuit board (not all do, so a big plus)
***Included socket bodies definitely work on the cluster’s circuit board (i.e., they are a direct fit) and a nice addition, especially if one of your OEM sockets fail. They’re just as sturdy as the OEM non-gauge (specifically, black) sockets on the instrument cluster
NOTE: The OEM sockets intended for the gauges are definitely sturdier -- I’m referring to the white sockets (or blue, in some cases) that click into place behind the gauges. Still, the pro is that the Partsam sockets will work in both socket housings. While I was able to salvage my OEM sockets, I tested the bulbs and sockets in all the socket openings. The bulbs worked in all but two instances… detailed in General Comments, as this could be a user issue.

Cons:
***While bulbs provide wider beam throw pattern than others (about 120 degrees), they still throw a directed beam, which is not nearly as diffused (180 degrees) as OEM bulbs, resulting in “hot” spots (depending on where your vehicle’s sockets are placed. Mine (in the ‘06 CRV, without middle LCD screen), which only has 6 gauge sockets (not counting the other indicator sockets) are spaced in such a way that hotspots were definitely apparent. A diffused pattern would be better. YMMV.
***While included sockets work (I tested them), they are not the exact same quality as OEM. The socket housings have two metal prongs on the outer portion of the socket body that must contact the cluster’s circuit board to get power to the bulb. OEM socket prongs are slightly thicker and have a raised, blunted, metal “bulb” protruding from the prong that ensures the circuit board isn’t scratched when the socket is twisted into the board. While the Partsam prongs will work, they are straight, which could scratch the electrified portion of the board. They’ll do in a pinch. But, salvage the OEM socket whenever possible (and it is possible, with patience).

General Comments (Lessons Learned):
OEM incandescent bulbs are roughly $5 each, without shipping. Using OEM bulbs, you get the factory look and trusted OEM parts that should just work. I found I needed about 15 (for the instrument cluster and my HVAC) -- so $75, without shipping. While this is better than $400, we recently purchased an Odyssey, which, internally, uses nice, bright white LEDs throughout -- giving it a modern look. I loved the look and wanted it in the CR-V. After a lot of research, I eventually found lights on another well-known LED site that offered superbright lights. If you research, you’ll get the pun. Based on suggestions on other sites, I purchased a few lights from that page for my HVAC cluster (Amazon doesn’t seem to offer direct-fit, no-customization-needed replacements for the ‘06 CR-V’s HVAC controls). For my instrument panel, however, I purchased the Partsam’s. I decided to take a chance on them, as, short of purchasing more expensive LEDs on that other site, these bulbs were supposed to provide a wider beam to cover gauges, etc. I installed them a week ago now. Here’s some of what I learned.
*****The Install:
****Disclaimer: I’m no expert… simply a DIY’er. The following is based on what I learned and for which I was willing to accept the consequences if I fouled up the install. If you do anything here and something bad happens, no one is responsible for any of it but you. You can always take your vehicle to a dealer or someone who knows what they’re doing. While the following should work, you’re dealing with a sensitive, electrical part of your vehicle and have been warned.****
***Research your parts and the install, exhaustively, before taking this on. The upfront time is well worth it. I spent about four total days online (vids, blogs, shopping comparisons, reading reviews, etc.) before coming the conclusion (based on the experiences of others) that these bulbs will at least fit my ‘06 CR-V instrument cluster.
***For a phenomenal vid on how to get to the instrument cluster to be able to replace your bulbs, look up “honda cr-v instrument cluster lights replacement”
***For a great resource on LED bulbs, in general, for this age-range of CR-V, look up “CRV Owners Club Heater Control Bulb Replacement 2002-2006 CRV”
***Bonus: Note that neo wedges pervade every internal socket but the dome lights and the instrument cluster. There are different heights of neo wedges needed for the HVAC cluster. I haven’t found any on amazon that are a direct fit; however, you can use diodes on Amazon’s site to retrofit LEDs in the existing housings. I chose not to, not wanting to take a chance. Amazon sells a number of bulbs for the map lights (I just ordered these SiriusLED Extremely Bright 3030 Chipset LED Bulbs for Car Interior Dome Map Door Courtesy License Plate Lights Compact Wedge T10 168 194 2825 Xenon White Pack of 10, after discovering the map lights and dome lights are different) and the dome lights (I got these YITAMOTOR 10 Pcs 31mm 1.25 Inch 3528 12SMD 12V Festoon Dome Light LED Bulbs De3175 De3021 De3022 3175, Color White, which worked well so far).
***For the most part, 2002-2006 CR-V related instructions are the same. If you have a CR-V in this range of years and can find a resource that speaks to installation in that range, you should be okay following those instructions. However, YMMV, as the CR-V’s from year to year have minor tweaks in some instances… e.g., my instrument cluster didn’t have the same schedule as an ‘05 referenced in a spectacular online vid. Still, it was close enough to get me to where I needed to be to conduct a trial-and-error bulb removal and replacement. FWIW, I was able to perform the install (in about two hours, in my garage) with nothing more than a headlamp, a few flat-blade and phillips head screwdrivers of varying lengths and head sizes, a pair of needle-nosed pliers, a rubber grip pad to remove the old bulbs from the original socket, and patience (which was tested many times). Also, at one point, I lost a screw and needed an extending magnet to retrieve it from inside the dash. The longest part of the install was figuring out why some of the lights wouldn’t light: plugging in the lights, plugging in the harnesses to the panel, firing up the car, testing, taking note which ones weren’t lit, troubleshooting, and repeating many times. If you don’t get it right out of the gate (which is VERY possible) leave lots of time to have your car’s dashboard torn apart. Do not reassemble your instrument panel without testing whether the lights fire up. If you do, you’re likely to regret it. Note that each time you plug in your instrument panel, it will click. This freaked me out at first but seemed to be normal, the speedometer, etc. recalibrates itself.
****The Bulbs:
***Bulb Types: There are a number of “styles” of LED bulbs that will work with the ‘06 CR-V instrument cluster a: T5 wedge LED rounded bulb, a T5 wedge 2721, a T5 wedge 3-3014, a T5 wedge 3030, a T5 wedge 5050 (i.e., like the Partsam’s) -- and likely others. All are available on Amazon. The key is that the bulbs in the instrument panel use a T5 base. The other numbers refer to the number and layout of the diodes on the bulb housing. The HVAC bulbs, outside the confines of this review, are neo wedges. There are LED bulbs on another superbright site, with a wider throw pattern (an LED module on the tip of the bulb body and on either side of the body). However, they are more expensive than the Partsam’s, again, about $5 a bulb. With the Partsam’s you get 10 bulbs and sockets for less than the cost of two of those more expensive LEDs. UPDATE: since writing the initial review, I decided I couldn’t take the throw patterns behind the gauges. I could live with the hotspots; but, the dark areas were too distracting. I researched and found these (Siweex 10pcs T5 White Lights Neo Wedge LED 3-SMD 3528 Car Instrument Cluster Panel Dashboard Lamps Gauge Bulbs DC 12V) off Amazon, which are similar to those on the other, more expensive site. They should work for the gauges. But, right now, it’s simply a guess that they’ll work. I’ll comment more on them on the Siweex page once I get them, rip apart my dash again, and install them. Please read on, though, as, for now, I still think the Partsam’s have place in the my CR-V’s cluster.
***Getting the OEM Bulbs Out of the Socket: Everywhere I looked tells you to try to save the OEM sockets. I completely agree. But, they don’t tell you how to do this. I can’t tell you this is the best way to do it. It’s only how I figured out how to get it done. It seems the bulbs get stuck in the socket over time. Some are more stuck than others. You can release the bulb by using your thumb to very, very carefully apply pressure to the top of the bulb and rock it back and forth in the housing (being careful not to break the bulb in the socket). You might hear a noise like a crack. While it could truly be the bulb cracking (again, be careful), I found it was the bulb becoming unstuck from the housing. At this point, I took needle nose pliers and clamped the widest plastic part of the rear of the socket housing. If you clamp the narrow part, you apply pressure to the base of the bulb and make it harder to get the bulb out. With the needle nose pliers clamped on the housing, I was able to pull on the bulb while gently rocking it back and forth out of the socket. In most cases, I was able to use my fingers; however, for two or three, I had to use a rubber pad to pull the bulb out (the kind you open jar lids with). I was able to salvage all the OEM sockets using this method.
***Why Won’t They Light Up?: There were a few causes. Pointed out by others, the Partsam’s (unlike their incandescent counterparts) have polarity (a right way and a wrong way to insert them in the socket). If after testing the cluster the bulb didn’t light, I pulled the bulb out of the socket, flipped it around 180 degrees, reinserted, and tried again. I also ensured the bulb’s pins contacted the metal parts inside the socket. If that didn’t work, I ensured the pins on the socket itself (the ones on either side of the widest part of the bulb that lift away from the socket’s body) touched the metallic portion of the instrument cluster’s circuit board. The prongs apparently compress over time and can even compress while placing the bulb in the socket. I very carefully bent the pins up so that when I pushed the socket in and twisted, they definitely touched the board. Don’t break them off. Those pins need to touch the circuit board to carry a current to the bulb. If they still didn’t light, I ensured the electrified portion of the circuit board was clean. I am NOT suggesting you do this and won’t be responsible if you do and it fails; but, with the cluster unplugged, I had to clean one of the surfaces with a little rubbing alcohol on a q-tip (allowing the board to dry completely) before a bulb would light. The surface too dirty to allow a clean metal-to-metal contact. If this didn’t work, I tried another LED bulb and/or socket. If this didn’t work (and you can’t come up with another solution), I used an OEM bulb. FWIW, the bulbs worked in all sockets in the cluster panel except the left and right turn signal indicators. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t get the LEDs to work in just those two sockets. So, I put the OEM bulbs back in. I didn’t notice a huge difference between the light they threw vs. the LEDs.
***Hotspots?: I looked at other reviewer’s pics. Some were daytime shots, which didn’t help as much as the night-time shots. Out of those taken in the dark, some seemed to have minor hotspots; some seemed to have none. My install definitely had hotspots. I believe it has to do with where the bulb is inserted in your cluster and how well the light is diffused. Different LED “styles” will achieve different effects. Colors other than white will affect the light thrown even more. Unlike newer vehicles, my ‘06 CR-V was designed with incandescent bulbs (and diffused lighting) in mind. With the Partsam’s, the middle of the cluster is not nearly as illuminated as other areas. Of note, the bulb behind my thermometer/odometer/trip meter burned out (although, even when it worked, it was dim). With a burned-out bulb, I couldn’t see my thermometer in the early morning, in the evening, or at night. Now I can, which is a marked improvement over what I had before. Depending on the placement of your sockets in the panel, you might have better results… like other reviewers that offered pics. The bulbs are phenomenal when direct-lighting an indicator (e.g., the key indicator, the cruise control indicator, the VSA indicator, etc.). They just weren’t good for the gauges in my case, which require more diffused lighting or a 180 degree beam throw (for that, I’m trying the Siweexes, which have a front-firing diode and two on either side of the bulb housing… we’ll see if they work).

Recommended Purchase:? Yes and no… depending on where you position them. If you have numerous sockets on your instrument cluster that support a bright, overlapping 120 degree beam throw pattern, yes. If you need front-firing LEDs (e.g. when the socket sits directly behind an indicator and can benefit from a bright 120 degree beam throw), again, yes. The bright light the Partsam’s provide is wonderful and provides a modern, custom look in those instances. However, I can’t speak to longevity, having only had them in a week. Now, with the understanding that I like and will still use the Partsam’s behind my indicators, if you only have one socket behind each gauge (like I do), I can’t recommend them for that purpose. The 120 degree beam throw is too narrow, resulting in “hot” spots and dark areas on my gauges. Regarding ratings, I’m torn. These are spectacular LEDs, so far, depending on how you use them and where you plan to put them. However, I’m going to have to rip apart my dash and remove those behind my gauges in favor of some that offer a wider beam. For that reason, I’m going to give them a four-star. It’s not a fault of the bulb, per se. You need to know what you’re getting and why. However, at least for my install, Partsam, and other manufacturers need to find a way to widen the beam closer to 180 degrees (e.g., shorten the bulb housing or put a clear, plastic bulb over the diode) to get a five-star. If I have a reason to change my review, I’ll do so ASAP. ‘Til then, happy lighting.



YITAMOTOR 20x T5 3-SMD Instrument Panel Cluster Dash White LED Bulb Light Lamp 74 70 37 17 Review:


My 2002 Toyota Tacoma has a glove box light that I found out about by accident. Years ago I opened the glove box one evening and I saw the light flash for an instant and then go out. I tried to find out how it came on with out success but I then knew that there was indeed a light in the glove box. I put it out of my mind for a number of years but a few days ago I thought about it and went to a few of the Tacoma forums to see if I could find out about it. I found the location which was a little insert that looked like a little plastic grill about as big around as a quarter and was able to remove it from the glove box. There was a tiny little incandescent bulb in it that was obviously burned out. I took it down to the auto parts store to see if they had any replacement lamps. They did so I bought a pack of two and brought them home and installed one of them. For some reason the bulb just kept falling out when I tried to install it. On the forum a few people that had successfully fixed the problem mentioned that there are LED replacement bulbs available so I checked Amazon and found a pack of twenty bulbs for less than nine dollars so I ordered them and they showed up today. It was mentioned on the forum that these bulbs would only work one way and that after installing it didn't come on turn it 180 degrees and try again. That happened to me so when I turned it it came on and being an Led bulb it was very bright which is what I wanted. On my vehicle there is no switch that activates the light when the glove box opens like most vehicles. The light is switched on when either the parking lights or headlights are turned are turned on so even if the glove box is closed the bulb will be on. With an incandescent bulb that means a short life. With an LED which are known for their long life its not going to be an issue for a very long time. I real happy to finally have a glove box light that works and recommend these bulbs.



Partsam 10PCS White T4.2 Neo Wedge Instrument Panel LED Light Gauge Cluster Bulbs Shifter Radio Switch Indicator Lamp Review:


I bought these to replace the two bulbs behind the recirculate + A/C + rear defroster switch cluster on a 2005 Honda Civic LX sedan (see bottom row of buttons in photo; the left side knobs take the larger T5 bulbs). The original bulb from Honda (part # 79609-S5A-003) is 2 cm tall. These T4.2 Neo Wedge LED bulbs are less than half that high at just under 8 mm, but the LEDs throw enough light across that extra length. So far they're working pretty well. As other reviews have said, these LEDs have a slight blue tint. They were a tight fit due to the diameter of the LED end of the bulb (almost 6 mm compared to an even 5 mm for the original part). Like one other reviewer, I had to widen the copper clad socket opening a little bit in the back of the Honda switch cluster using a file to get one of them to fit. They also seat very deeply and don't shake out easily due to the tight fit, so during installation you might want to have a large set of tweezers on hand to pull the LEDs out of the sockets from the back in case you have to rotate them to reverse polarity. If you're looking for installation instructions, there's a good post on honda-tech.com; search for "Replace Climate / Heater Control Bulbs (oddmut)". Most any instructions for replacing the stereo in this car model will get you to the back of the climate control panel.



Partsam T10 194 LED Light Bulb Instrument Panel Gauge Cluster Dashboard LED Lights with 5/8" Sockets Replacement Sets-10Pcs Blue Review:


I entered the year and make of my truck but failed to mention the model. After the led's arrived, the bases didn't fit. I contacted Partsman but they didn't show led's for my model. They were excellent to work with contacting me several times to help. I managed to unsolder the bulbs from the original bases and insert the led's. They worked perfect. Partsman also refunded part of what I paid. I will definitely do business with this company again in the future.



Partsam T10 194 LED Light Bulb 168 LED Bulbs Bright Instrument Panel Gauge Cluster Dashboard LED Light Bulbs Set 10 T10 LED Bulbs with 10 Twist Lock Socket-Blue Review:


I used 9 of the 10 of these along with 10 T5's to replace my dash panel, speedometer and tachometer in my 1994 Jeep Wrangler YJ. We ended up using one of the bases that came with this as one of the original lights wouldn't come out of it's base. It was nice to have these on hand so we didn't have to run to the store or order them and wait. (esp with the entire dash torn apart.)
You have a 50/50 shot on the polarity - We did pretty good the first time around and only had to turn a few 180 degrees in the base to get them to light up.
They look awesome!!!!! People see my dash lights and want to do theirs now!! lol
IF you have a Jeep Wrangler YJ - the Amazon Garage will say this does not fit your jeep - it fit mine just fine. I used these on all the gauges, a few used 2 - Speed & Tach - for my smaller lights - shift up, brake, check engine, etc I used the T5's - I could have used all T10's. I just didn't want all that super bright everywhere. (you could even do different colors for your different gauges.... ohhh!! gas, oil, temp, volt, 4x4, clock - I did use T10's for those.) I don't have a clock - 2 for speed, 2 for Tach, 1 each for 4x4, gas, oil, temp & volt. (and I used all 10 T5's in the smaller indicators - those were purchases separately- same company)
Very happy with the lights & results.



YITAMOTOR 10x T10 194 LED Light Bulb 168 LED Bulbs Bright Instrument Panel Gauge Cluster Dashboard LED Light Bulbs and 10 Twist Lock Socket White Review:


Initial review was that it came on time, easy to install for my 2013 Hyundai Elantra rear tail light inner bulb and outer. Replaces T3 with these led bulbs. Sufficiently bright and kind of has a cool led effect that's a bit different than original bulbs. However, 3 out of the 10 bulbs did not work, luckily I only needed 6.

update: customer service replied within 2 days and offered either replacement or partial refund. I replied partial refund and they credited me back $4.50 for a $8.06 purchase, more than 3 dead bulbs. Pretty impressed by their willingness to help. Would buy again.



cciyu T10 168 194 W5W Halogen Light Bulb Instrument Cluster Gauge Dash Lamp (10pack white) Review:


While I haven’t installed these halogen bulbs yet, I was pleased with the price and speed of delivery. I have no doubts that they are good bulbs. Just waiting for a mild 40 degree day to go out and do the job.



cciyu 20 Pack Blue T5 Wedge 3-3014 SMD LED 74 37 286 18 Dashboard Gauge Light Bulbs 12V w/Twist Socket Review:


These were not as straight forward as plug-n-play like I had hoped but in the end I was able to make them work for my vehicle. While the twist socket adaptors provided did actually fit my cluster (all be it forcibly) unfortunately they didn't have dual sided PCB contactor's so they wouldn't actually connect to the power contacts that are on the under side of my printed circuit board. My unwillingness at this point meant I had to recycle my original bulb retainer sockets, meaning I had to pry these bulbs from their sockets then clip their wires that were soldered to the PCB connectors then proceed with removing the new LEDs from their blue plastic bits and then fit and solder them into my old sockets. And as I show in the image turned out working perfectly, but definitely took some time to achieve that result. So buyer beware, these won't work out of the box with all T5 Bulb applications. With that said, if you're the ingenuitive type you can likely make these work for most instances. So in closing, I'm very happy with the LEDs and the lightrightness they emit, just would of been nice for them to fit as well as they look.



cciyu 20 Pack Xenon White Car T5 Wedge 17 37 70 5050 1SMD LED Instrument Panel Cluster Plug Lamp Dash Light Bulb Bulbs w/Twist Sockets Review:


Simple set up, came with LED lights and housing to supply power, just push a light into the connection and solder a positive connection and a negative connection and then wire it back to your power supply, worked great!!