Auto Shop Lighting Information
Vehicle repair facilities and auto repair shops serve a critical function in our society by keeping cars, trucks and other motorized vehicles on the road. These facilities perform simple maintenance items such as oil and fluid changes, all the way up to more complex tasks such as suspension work and even powertrain replacement and rebuilds. In order to complete these tasks properly in a safe environment, quality lighting is required. Historically, traditional lighting technologies such as HIDs and fluorescents provided stout lighting performance for these facilities, ensuring proper illumination on a daily basis.However over the past several decades, LED technology has progressed exponentially, rapidly eclipsing all other legacy lighting technologies in existence. There are numerous key benefits to using LED fixtures for auto shops, with no notable disadvantages. Besides the well known energy efficiency benefits of LEDs, there are other readily noticeable advantages to be had, including reduced maintenance and a higher quality of light produced.
Indoor Auto Shop Lighting
Vehicle repair facilities have some of the harshest indoor environments in the commercial world. Auto shops are a host to numerous environmental hazards, such as chemical splatter, open flames, sparks and gasoline fumes. Combined with significant heat from the typical lack of air conditioning in these shops, light fixtures must be built tough to survive. This is important because in a shop environment, a malfunctioning light fixture can be a stop work situation, costing the shop thousands of dollars a day in missed repair opportunities.
The type of fixture chosen will depend on several factors, the first one being the height of the ceiling it is mounted from. This is important because certain lights are designed with a specific power output and beam angle that is intended to properly illuminate a floor area from a set height range. Choosing the wrong light for a height can handicap its performance, even with higher powered lighting fixtures.
In addition to this, another factor that should be considered is whether the light will be mounted in an area that is exposed to weather conditions, such as an entryway or door overhang. In these instances, having a vapor tight or sealed fixture is important in order to keep the light functioning under all conditions. For other situations where the light will not be exposed to moisture, less expensive fixtures such as low bay linear style fixtures are the most logical choice.
Outdoor Auto Shop Lighting
There are two primary aspects of outdoor auto shop lighting. One aspect involves lighting for the building exterior. Proper exterior illumination can be achieved with the right selection of LED wall packs as well as strategically placed yoke mount flood lights if direct area lighting is desired.
The second aspect involves lighting for the facilities parking lot. Proper parking lot lighting can be achieved with the proper selection of flood lights with slip fitter mounts, trunnion mounts, or other custom mounting options. If you have a very large facility, you may even require LED street lights or high powered flood lights to accommodate large parking lots.
Here’s an example of an outdoor auto shop lighting project where a photometric lighting plan was provided strategically laying out several LED flood lights for the facilities parking lot as well as LED wall packs for the building exterior.
Why Choose LEDs over Traditional Lights
As mentioned before, there are numerous benefits to using LED lighting fixtures for automotive and vehicle repair facilities. The most obvious benefit is the improved energy efficiency of LED lights when compared to traditional lighting technology. This alone is usually enough justification for shops to make the switch to LEDs, as the cost savings can be up to 70% right off the bat.
Additionally, because of the nature of LED tech, regular servicing and maintenance is not required, aside from cleaning the lens if it becomes soiled. This saves a considerable amount in both parts and labor hours throughout the service life of the fixture. It also eliminates downtime, which as mentioned earlier can be quite costly for shops due to not being able perform vehicle repairs while the fixture is down.
On top of the improved energy efficiency and durability of LED lighting, these fixtures also produce a noticeably higher quality of light over HID or fluorescent lights. The quality of artificial lighting is determined by its accuracy in replicating natural sunlight. This is measured using the Color Rendering Index (CRI), which runs on a scale up to 100. LED lights have a CRI of at least 80-90, which is about 10-20 points higher than the typical fluorescent or HID light. This improved CRI score not only is easier on the eyes, it provides noticeable improvements in visibility, which aids in the accuracy of work being performed as well as technician safety.
Popular LED Auto Shop Fixtures
There are a multitude of different types of fixtures used in auto repair facilities. The type and style of fixture selected will be dependent on many factors, namely its mounting height as well as whether it will be mounted indoors or outdoors.
UFO High Bay Lights - The go to choice for auto repair shops with tall ceilings, UFO high bay lights are durable, compact LED lights that offer terrific lumen output. They are easily mounted using either cables, chains or being directly affixed to ceilings using custom hangers - giving shops with varied ceiling types a range of mounting options.
Strip Lights - The most basic and straightforward lighting fixture used in repair shops, strip lights are highly cost effective and user friendly. Linear in shape, they offer good lumen output for indoor areas such as workbenches, parts and chemical storage zones, and more.
Vapor Tight Fixtures - Similar in purpose to strip lights, vapor tight fixtures are designed for use in less than ideal environmental conditions, such as entryways, door overhangs and more. Designed to be impervious to moisture and water sprays and splashes, they are a solid choice for those looking for maximum reliability.
Low Bay Fixtures - These are essentially a larger, higher powered strip light. Intended to be mounted from a lower height, they produce a significant lumen output over a broad beam angle designed to illuminate the widest area possible. Low bay lights are the most popular choice for general purpose lighting in shops that have lower ceilings.