GMC Canyon Roof Light Bar

How to install an LED light bar on the roof of my truck?

If you are like most off-road and truck enthusiasts, one of the things you’re probably REALLY interested in is installing LED lighting. This whole market of upgraded lighting has exploded in the last 2 years and everyone is very eager to get their truck’s upgraded as soon as possible! One thing that has become a trend though in the last few months is redneck style roof mounting… You’ve probably seen it done where you live and heck, maybe you’ve done it yourself.

The white truck in this picture mounted the light bar on the roof incorrectly. The black truck is done right.
The white truck in this picture mounted the light bar on the roof incorrectly. The black truck is done right.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I hate the look, but I can’t blame some people! They buy a 50″ light bar for their truck and it comes with brackets – so you mount it on your truck, right? I believe the secret to successful lighting upgrades is education, so I’m going to show you the right way and the wrong way to install a roof mount light bar on your truck, the biggest trick is getting a hold of a vehicle specific roof mount kit. If you installed your light bar like this, then you did it wrong:

THE WRONG WAY:

When you use the “universal” brackets that come with the light bar and just mount them to the top of your roof skin it LOOKS STUPID! Don’t do it! These “universal” brackets are a cheap way to mount your light bar, and then guess what happens – your truck looks cheap!

Listen, I don’t mean to belittle your manhood because you didn’t know any better, but now you don’t have any excuse. Let me show you the proper way to mount a light bar to your truck, it’s important to find a good vehicle specific light bar bracket kit, or fabricate something that works the same way, the end result should be something like this:

THE RIGHT WAY:

GMC Canyon Roof Light Bar Canyon LED Roof Mount Light BarOn this Canyon, a set of N-Fab roof mount light bar brackets were used for the install. The first thing you’ll notice is that it looks better than the first set of pictures. Getting the light bar up and off of the roof makes the whole setup look great. Secondly it allows you to position the light bar in a more usable way. Getting the light bar up and away from the roof allows the light bar to not be blocked by the roof skin right in front of it.

Here’s another example on another vehicle of how to properly mount an LED Light bar on the roof of your truck:

Vision X XPI LED Light Bar
XPI light bar has two sets of holes on each side that both bolt on the mounting feet. Since we’re doing a roof mount, we got to choose which hole to use and decided on the top one. That brought the Light Bar closer to the roof.
Vision X XPI LED Light Bar Roof Mount install
Vision X XPI LED Light Bar roof mount install completed.

 

photo 2 (1)Probably the best way to find out which vehicle specific light bar bracket to use is to first contact Headlight Revolution. They know what works and what doesn’t and can definitely get you set up with not only a light bar bracket, but also the right mounting and wiring components to make it all work.

 

Wiring: When you get the light bar properly mounted to your roof, and all the holes are sealed to become waterproof, it’s time to run your wiring. DO NOT just run the wiring loosely through the door jam.  The best way to do this is to drill a new hole in your roof near your roof mount brackets and run the wiring down directly into the cab of the truck. This is the best method because it is the shortest distance for the wire to travel, and it has the least chance of getting smashed in your door jamb.

Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.
Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.
Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.
Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.

 

However, if you’re really not sure how to do the install, you should either be prepared to drill holes in your roof as a learning experience, or hire a local professional install shop to do it for you.

If you need any help with what bracket kit you need for you truck, just ask!

17 thoughts on “How to install an LED light bar on the roof of my truck?

    1. Mounting a light bar on the roof requires some commitment. You have to install the brackets which need 2 holes per bracket per side (four holes total) and another hole for the wiring to run into the truck (another hole). So yes most installs require 5 holes to be drilled in your roof. Luckily the roof of your truck isn’t something that most people ever see if you do decide to remove it someday.

  1. I would expect a lot of glare from the hood with the light shining over the windshield. Do you have a review with pictures of the drivers view at night?

    1. You’re actually correct. The light bar on the roof creates a lot of glare both off the hood, and off the windshield glass itself if it’s dirty (which is most of the time). The best application for this roof-mounted light bar is for a time when your truck is parked and you need to illuminate a large area. Perfect for working outside at night (construction, pipe line, etc…) or for hunting at dusk or dawn for setting up decoys. From a driving standpoint, something mounted at the back side of the roof like on a headache rack pointed forward, or something mounted below the hood, is the best position for the most usable light.

      1. Has anyone mounted a light bar on the rear of the roof without having a headache rack? For example just take the brackets that are used to mount the light bar on the front of the truck and put them as far back as possible on the roof? Would this work?

      2. Yes you can and it would actually be more practical doing it that way. The tricky part is nobody makes a vehicle specific mount for the rear of the roof, so you just have to look at some of them and find one that will fit well enough. Here’s an example of a 2010 Toyota Tundra roof mount bracket mounted on the rear portion of the roof on a Pontiac Fiero!!

        https://youtu.be/AtswFUIqUgk

        Anything’s possible!

  2. My husband wants to install one like the black truck but he’s been told that those type of installations cause leaks and eventually rotting. Is that true?

    1. Tens of thousands of people have done similar roof-mount installs like this over the last 3 years and it is not known as a common issue. The only reason for rotting to happen is if it was done by someone who shouldn’t be working on trucks in the first place. Yes you have to drill 4-5 holes in your roof, which is almost irreversible, but if you paint the bare metal in the holes you drill, and seal everything up correctly with marine grade sealant, not only will it not leak, but the underside of the roof mount brackets should never even get wet!! There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this, and if you can’t find a professional who is comfortable doing it, I would keep looking. It’s only difficult if you’ve never done one before, but there are lots and lots of professional shops who do this type of install monthly. Contact http://www.HeadlightRevolution.com to make sure you get the right parts, get advice on the install, and get help locating a professional shop near you.

  3. I mounted mine an ran the wires through the seals in my door an then ran the wires through my fire wall an connected it to my battery an now my volt gauge is fluctuating

    1. Terrance, sounds like you’ve nicked your main power wire somewhere and it’s shorting out to ground. Inspect every millimeter of your wiring going through that door boot and look for something that is rubbing on metal. I’m guessing something is squished and is touching bare metal where it shouldn’t be.

  4. So is it better to have it on a headache rack? If so how high would you recommend for the bar to sit at and still light up the road in front? But would that cause more drag?

    1. Actually having it on a headache rack behind the roof line is one of the best places to put it for two main reasons: #1 it won’t look just “stuck” to your roof. It will be mounted to another piece of equipment and look more purposeful. #2 the roof line under the light bar will act as a “sun visor” of sorts and keep any of the glare from the light bar from interfering with your vision by reflecting off your hood or windshield. Mounting it on your headache rack in the back is brilliant.

      As far as how high, that’s a judgement call for you to make by either testing different heights and seeing what works best, or just deciding what you think looks the best.

      I wouldn’t worry about drag either. In your application (unless you’re driving a racing / trophy truck…) the drag created by any light bar regardless of where it is mounted on your vehicle is negligible and will not affect MPG, top speed, acceleration or any other driveability factors.

  5. I have a 2013 dodge RAM 2500 and a 52 inch curved light bar and I can’t find anything other than universal mounting brackets

    1. Yes it will work, but depending on how strong, or weak, your luggage rack bars are, you might get flexing and bouncing.

  6. hi
    i have a f150 2017 but i can’t find the right brackets to instal my 50″ curve let light on top of my windshield because i’ve been told that it’s because i have air bags in my roof – any suggestions?

    best

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