Garage lighting is sometimes an afterthought for enthusiasts when they start outfitting their workspace, because there are so many other things (tools, heat, storage) that also need to be considered. In truth, lighting is one of the most important aspects of creating a safe place to work on your car — and the right amount of light can transform frustrating projects into relatively straightforward ones.
Consider All the Angles
We’ve all walked into subterranean garages illuminated by a single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling. If that describes your current situation, it’s probably time to invest in a brighter solution. Ideally, garage lighting is positioned so that it throws light evenly across the entire space, not just down from a single spot. A row of fluorescent lights — two to three, depending on how long your garage is — can offer enough illumination to brighten up even the darkest corners of your garage.
Fluorescent lights are great for overhead, but if you’re considering horizontal wall-mounted garage lighting to provide you with the even illumination required while painting or doing detail work, consider LEDs. Their small size makes them easy to place, their power requirements are low and they generate almost no heat, which makes them comfortable to work directly beside.
Include Small, Mobile, Versatile Options
Another area where LED garage lighting has made significant strides is in portable lighting. That same small form factor that makes LEDs perfect for your walls also makes it easy to shrink them down so that they’re potable enough to fit into even the tightest spaces underneath your car. Using a portable LED lamp along with a headlamp is the perfect way to achieve hands-free illumination and take much of the hassle out of working on chassis components and engine parts.
Don’t Forget Outdoor Lighting
Sometimes you might have a repair job to do that’s a little too big to fit in your garage, such as on a trailer or a truck. Or maybe you want to be able to wash your vehicle without having to worry about racing the sun in the evening. Outdoor lighting can be just as important as indoor lighting for all of these reasons, on top of the security offered by a well-illuminated driveway in front of your garage door. Timers, motion detectors and floodlights are common choices for those seeking to keep things as bright outside their garage as they are inside.
There’s no reason to curse the darkness — or stub your toe on some tools you left on the floor — when there are so many lighting options available to you.
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Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.