How To String Car Christmas Lights On Your Vehicle For The Holidays

You’ve seen it — every year at Christmas time, people decorate their cars festively to celebrate the holiday season.

Maybe you’ve decorated your vehicle in the past. Will you be decorating your car again this year?

Well, if you’ve never decorated your car in a Christmassy way before, following are some fun ideas to get you started.



Yep, now is the time to decorate your car and create your own rolling Christmas display to brighten up the season and spread some holiday cheer to all the others you pass on the road.


Let’s start with what you need to know before stringing Christmas lights on your car…

Car Christmas Lights

Of course, we’ve all seen the occasional vehicle driving down the highway with a Christmas wreath wired to the front grill.

But why stop there?

Technology has advanced to the point that creating a masterpiece of mobile colored lights is easy, and it’s not very expensive either!

One thing to keep in mind, however, is the fact that your automobile’s electrical system is 12V DC. It is not compatible with standard Christmas tree lights that are designed to run off household electricity.

Sure you can buy colored 12-volt rope lights or even some 12v led Christmas lights.  The one big catch is they’re somewhat expensive, and by the time you’ve created your rolling display with enough lights to draw attention the investment can be sizable.

There’s a better way!  Yep, there’s a way to to use your existing 110v AC household Christmas tree lights.

An Inverter Enables You To Use Household Christmas Lights

Simply buy a 12v DC inverter. It’s an electronic device that changes 12v DC electricity to 110v AC electricity. Don’t confuse this with a converter. That’s an electronic device that takes 110v AC and converts it to 12v DC electricity. That’s exactly the opposite of what you want to do.

I would recommend an inverter with a minimum of 400 watts for your holiday car lighting task. If you really want to make a show of it, bigger is always better. My inverter is 1500 watts, and I wouldn’t consider anything smaller. Prices have dropped considerably. Where a 400-watt inverter may cost you $50 or so, the 1500-watt inverter can be found for about $125. 1500 watts is so much more versatile for other things too. You can run power tools and use your car as a movable workstation.

Back to the lighting, with a good-sized inverter you can go ahead and use any low budget Christmas lights. Those after-Christmas closeout lights from last year when you bought 20 strings at a dollar will work just fine. Any household light set designed to be used outdoors will work off your inverter.

This means that fancy electronically controlled set where the light chases back and forth or blinks different colors will work too. You won’t find that ability with 12v DC automotive light sets.

Oh, and that 3-foot high plastic snowman or Santa Claus which normally goes in your front yard might make a nice centerpiece on your car this year! Just about anything goes when it comes to decorating your vehicle for Christmas — like this talking reindeer.



CAUTION: Some Things To Remember When Stringing Lights On A Car

  • This is 110v AC household current. It will harm or even kill you if not handled properly.
  • Water, snow and electricity can be very dangerous. I recommend stringing 110v AC lights on the inside of your car or string lights on the outside of your car only during dry weather. Your safest option is to remove them whenever moisture is eminent (snow, rain, sleet).
  • Keep children away from the wiring to avoid any shock hazard.
  • Local ordinances vary widely as to the legality of operating lights that could be considered a distraction to other drivers. Check with your local authorities before heading out on the road.



More Fun Ways To Decorate Your Car For Christmas

car-reindeer-antlers-nose-christmas-by-zappowbang.jpgMaybe a less-is-more decorating approach is what you’re after.

If so, then consider these:

So, are you an antler person, or a wreath person? Neither? Then what’s your style when it comes to decorating your car for the holidays?

My personal choice is to go all out. If you’re going to make a statement, then you might as well be clear about it — like these Top 15 Christmas Car Decorations. There’s no doubt about it, they definitely have the Christmas spirit!

Curtis Carper

Curtis Carper

I’ve been involved in RVing for over 40 yrs -- including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking at home, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller, you've got a good idea of who I am.

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