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Hooniverse Asks- Color-Changeable Interior Lights; Brah! Or Blah?

Robert Emslie November 20, 2012 Hooniverse Asks 52 Comments

At what point, do you suppose, is it that factory personalization makes the whole idea of individual personalization a moot point? If you want nut-bouncing bass, you no longer have to go aftermarket, these days you can get a trunkful of the stuff already built right in. And now many car’s interior lighting has joined the rainbow coalition too, offering up a plethora of PMS options straight off the assembly line.

But is that a good thing? It used to be that serious automakers washed their cars’ gauges in red light because it was deemed easiest to read and least stressful on the eyes. Plus, that’s the color fighter jets used. Other makers have been a little lax in their dash light colors, in fact in its last iteration Toyota’s Sienna minivan had a bizarre mix of blue and green dash lights that was a little sickening to look at.

That of course is not a problem in cars like Ford’s Mustang when you check the MyColor dash light option box (actually, it’s part of a package). The ‘Stang, like some other modern cars, provides the option to switch between a number of colors for the gauge cluster, and even more for the neon sign-like cup holder illumination. Wow, that’s like freedom of choice, which is good, right? Maybe not. Sometimes too much freedom is its own noose, and having all those choices might mean that you’ve spent your hard-earned cash on something that you set on white and then never touch again. What a waste. What do you think about color-changeable interior lights, Brah! or Blah?

Image: [Showpan]

  • Alcology

    That's not even close to Wired, so it must be Tired! Oops, wrong site, I mean it's Blah. Like you said, it's kinda cool for 5 minutes to play with and forget about. I wouldn't want the cost associated with it when I a buy a car. But if it's on a car I wanted and helped to move cars to people who gotta have the craziest and latest and that brought the price down, then cool.

  • JayP2112

    The chicks dig it.

  • Is it worth paying a premium for? No, but having said that, I still like the options. I HATE blue dash lighting because it's sometimes hard to see, so if I can change to anything else, that's great.

    • JayP2112

      That's pretty much it. I wouldn't pay extra for MyColor but it was on the car. I'll change the color every few months out of boredom.

  • Only worth it if it comes in orange.

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      And said, "Orange you glad I'm not blue, yippie!"

      • Oof. I wish I hadn't red that.

        • danleym

          I wish I was as clever as you guys. I'm literally green with envy.

          • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

            Don't be so jaded, I azure you, you're bright!

            • danleym

              Look at you, such a arrogant display of your color based vocabulary. Your hue-bris is showing through, despite the compliment.

              • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

                You have quite a colorful gamut yourself!

  • Number_Six

    Just another bauble to add to the list under "Car Makers Should Offer Proper Driving Lessons instead of…"

    • Vavon

      Great !!!

  • joshwebster84

    Just for the girls.

  • smalleyxb122

    It’s gimmicky and nearly pointless, but it’s also unobtrusive, and can be thought of as free if you bought the interior upgrade package for other reasons. I can’t reckon that I would use it any more than once, but I suppose it’s a nice feature if you ever change out the stereo to an aftermarket unit. Having the backlight on a stereo not match the backlight of the dash irks me.

    • Officer Farva

      My aftermarket head unit has the option to change the display color and naturally, I changed it to match the rest of the interior lighting as much as possible (a shade of neon green).


    I have this option in my 2006 Mustang GT. I played with it for like 10 minutes, found a color I liked, and I haven't touched it in the past 3 years. The same was true of my friends Edge Sport. We played with the ambient lighting colors for like 20 minutes on a road trip, and he hasn't touched them since then. So I suppose it's sort of nice to be able to set your color, but it's not something that really gets used after the initial setting. So if it's cheap and reliable, why not include it, but I won't pay much for it. So if it's included as a nice little extra in a desirable option pack, sure, but if it's an even moderate cost stand-alone option, nope.

  • don fehlio

    I'm in the same boat; my girlfriend's Scion has it, and it's kinda neat to play with, but I really wouldn't pay for it.

  • Dashlights? You guys have dashlights? I guess the original buyer of my Comanche forgot to check that option box along with the one for a cigarette lighter.

    • MVEilenstein

      I think changing the light color on a Commanche includes removing the dash and putting in colored bulbs.

      • I'll stick with rose colored glasses instead.

        • MVEilenstein

          I actually had a pair of those once. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  • Sky_Render

    I change my Mustang's gauge colors to suit my mood.

  • SSurfer321

    I'd really like red dash lights in my F150 instead of my factory green ones. But the green does match the EDGE tuner display, so there's that.

    I wouldn't pay extra for it but if its bundled with a whole interior upgrade, then why not include it.

  • Devin

    I like the idea of it, since my preferred dash lighting – well in the red spectrum, since that tends to be easier on the eyes at night – might be different from yours, and unlike an alarm clock the color of the lights isn't going to be a deciding factor in the purchase. So the option to change it is nice just so everyone's happy.

    It's not worth a price premium though.

  • quattrovalvole

    If it's free, why not?

    • danleym

      But it isn't. It can't be. It's added complexity, and that costs money. Maybe not much, but somewhere in the cost of that car, whether it is expressly listed on the option sheet or not, you are paying for that fancy little bauble.

      Plus, it's one more thing to break, and knowing my luck, it will break and somehow manage to get stuck on the most hideous shade of piss yellow, even though that's not even an option when it's working properly. I'll pass. Blah.

      • Devin

        It might be more complicated than just having a regular dash light, but it just uses LEDs, it's pretty simple really.

  • Vavon

    BLAH!!! I need Color-Changeable Interior Lights as much as I need a car that mimicks my mood…

    <img src="http://nedbatchelder.com/pix/toyota-pod.gif"&gt;
    The Toyota POD is designed to communicate with the world around it.
    The car's exterior can express emotions. Happy, sad, tired, angry…
    Just look at the "eyelids" over the headlights…

    • Alcology

      And when that toyota POD changes to a vette you know it's a mid-life crisis

      • Vairship

        No, if it was a mid-life Chrysler it would be a Sebring convertible.

        Oh wait, you said crisis…

  • When I twist the headlight knob on the truck the dash lights get brighter! That's good enough for me. Hell, on the Road Condo, the aftermarket under dash fuel gauge doesn't light up at all, so I keep a flashlight on the dash. Show's you how high tech my fleet is.

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      I felt bummed that I had lost the little cigarette lighter flexineck LED that illuminated my radio, now I feel positively opulent.

    • That's pretty sophisticated. My dash lights have two settings "off" and "dark".

  • jeepjeff

    Blah. But then, I'm considering removing the A/C from my truck because it makes it posh and fruity.

    • MVEilenstein

      Good man. Save a few pounds, too.

    • danleym

      And you live in San Francisco. How many days a year do you use it?

      • jeepjeff

        Zero days per year. I do not use it. Even when I drive into the Central Valley and places further east that get into triple digit temps, I just take the sides and/or top off. The only way it has affected my life is by having a couple of hard lines that run right in front of the valve cover and make working on the engine slightly more difficult.

    • You don't need AC where you live anyway. In fact, I remember on old Bel Kirk Volvo radio ad offering new Volvos with either a sunroof or AC because, "Why would you need both?"

  • Kogashiwa

    Only if it automatically changes to match the current alert level.

  • jeepjeff

    <img src="https://i.chzbgr.com/completestore/12/11/16/Sd5TC35opUSjYZir4ATaeA2.gif"&gt;

    I'd reconsider my answer if they used Liquid Nitrogen to shift the LED color via supercooling.

  • topdeadcentre

    I wouldn't mind so much if the color choices were more geared towards useful dashboard illumination rather than "something to try to impress the laa-deeeze".

    I tend to go for soft, dimmer lighting (like pretty much all dashboard lighting before the mid-80's) rather than in-your-face bright, and LED flicker drives me crazy. Also crazy-making are "helpful" manufacturers who make the dimmer knob only go down to "somewhat bright" instead of all the way down to lights-out (as on Ms. TDC's Chevy Impala SS).

    Sure, I'd like to be able to change from soft green to soft blue to soft orange to soft red, depending on my mood, but it's not something I'd go out of my way to pay for. When I had cars with simple dashboards and little incadescent bulbs, I used to get bulb dip (from stage lighting work I was doing) and make my own colors.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Mood Ring – Root Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band

    [youtube nVbv1mEiHx8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVbv1mEiHx8 youtube]

  • Slow_Joe_Crow

    Color changing dash lights seems like one of those "because we can" options whose gimmick appeal usually outweighs its utility. There is one situation where I could see a use which s if the driver is color blind and needs lighting in a color he can see. This is the big problem with red dash lights since lots of men are red/green color blind and have trouble seeing stuff under red lighting. A good example was my high school earth science teacher who was a retired Air Force transport pilot and color blind in the red spectrum, so at night he had to locate all his switches from memory.

    • danleym

      I'm surprised he got away with that. I'm ex-AF, usually colorblindness is disqualifying, and it especially is as a pilot.

  • My Opala has only a faint glow behind the dails and a dimmer can turn that glow into total absence of any light source.

  • FuzzyPlushroom

    I hate hate hate hate bright-assed white dash lighting, so yes, Good Thing. I'd set it to red and dim it for night driving, and leave it on indigo/purple/somewhere in that spectrum during the day.

    My 244's dim yellowish-white incandescent glow is all right, though.

  • Van_Sarockin

    One advantage to changeable color dash lights, is that I could alter the dash color to match the lighting of my superior, tasteful aftermarket stereo system.

    • Devin

      There's a tasteful aftermarket system?

      • topdeadcentre

        Look up McIntosh car audio. Their home audio is pretty well known in the audiophile crowd, considered to be in the mid-high to high-end range (but not the silly-stupid-high-end). Cost runs from middlin' expensive up to eyebrow-raising.


    How about including meaningful options:
    – a blinding strobe light flash to the car riding your rear bumper for the last 6 miles
    – photon torpedo
    -windshield banner that can be programmed to give a message to the car in front of you that can be read in their rearview mirror like "Hang up and Drive!" "This is the Passing Lane, Idiot!" "Shut off your turn signal!" "Your left rear tire appears to be going flat"
    – Cigar-sized ash tray

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    I liked the blue lights in my wife's '95 Intrepid. However, I hated the white lights in both the W126 and W124, so I put red bulbs in there. The only thing is, I can't turn the brightness up, because they're slightly higher wattage bulbs. Meh, I keep them as low as I can, anyway.

    The white lights in the diesel-pusher motorcoach I changed to from white incandescent to blue LED, and it's okay.

    I think it's one of those things which, once I set them, I'm not likely to touch it again. Like the Magneride setting in my '05 STS. "Performance"…done.