We're sure you've heard the complaints before. You bought a light bar, mounted it properly with mounts above your windshield, and then you hear it.
It's been described as everything from a freight train at 40mph to blowing across the the world's biggest bottle of coke. But what causes it, and how do you fix it? Here is the best way to fix a light bar whistle.
What Causes A Light Bar Whistle?
There is one simple reason a for a light bar whistle.
The fins on the back of the light bar make up the heatsink. This heatsink is needed in order to draw heat away from the LED chips, and the fins help to do this more efficiently. Quality light bars, like the ones found at KnightStar Lights, will have deeper heatsinks and fins. However, when mounted mounted above the windshield, this also has the added drawback of creating the dreaded light bar whistle.
It works the same way blowing across a the top of a bottle of Coca Cola works. When mounted above a the windshield, the air is forced up and across your heatsink as you are driving. The air moving rapidly across the fins in your heatsink create the annoying whistle. Like we mentioned before, this is especially noticeable in light bars with a deeper heatsink. Fortunately, there are a few easy and cheap fixes to this problem. But first, let's look at a few ways that could do more harm then help.
How Not To Fix A Light Bar Whistle
There are a few YouTube videos, websites, and forum posts that are touting this easy method. Just spread some silicone in between the fins, wait to dry, and drive off. Simple enough, right? It is at first. You probably have some silicone leftover from installing the mounts, and it's easy enough to slap some on. BUT, there are some major drawbacks. First off, it just plain looks bad, even if you use black silicone. Secondly, this greatly reduces the amount of heat that can dissipate from the back of the light bar, which causes a shorter life. There aren't many things that can ruin a good light bar, but heat definitely can.
2. Plastic Tubing
Another fix we have seen is to install plastic tubing onto the back of the light bar. This is just as dangerous as the silicone. It also does not let the heatsink properly dissipate heat away. While it may look good from a distance, it also requires stringing zip-ties around the light bar to keep the tubing on, which also looks pretty bad.
3. Duct Tape
Again, this has all the disadvantages of the other "fixes". This also has the added drawback of being a temporary fix, though. Between the sun constantly beating down on it, the wind, and the rain, it is only a matter of time before the tape becomes tattered and starts peeling off. Yuck.
So What Is The Right Way To Fix A Light Bar Whistle?
There are two easy and quick ways to do it.
1. Simply tilt the light bar up
This fix works for many people. Simply tilting your light bar up 5-10 degrees moves the heatsink into a position where the wind does not blow across the tops of the fins as much, greatly reducing if not completely eliminating the noise. The drawback of this, of course, is that you would have to tilt the bar back down again every time you wanted to use it on the trails. This is the cheapest and quickest option, though.
2. Edge Trim
Edge Trim is a cheap and easy way for a more permanent solution to a light bar whistle. Most people suggest just putting it along the first 4 to 8 rows of fins. This could work, but, again, you are covering more of the heatsink than you really need to. Our suggestion is to start with electrical tape. Before you put the trim on, put some electrical tape across the bottom fins. Then, starting from the middle, start removing the tape, little by little, until the whistle returns. This way, you know exactly where to put the Edge Trim! Doing it this way means you greatly reduce or eliminate the whistle while still allowing maximum heat dissipation, getting the most life out of your light bar as you can.
It's as easy as that! One (or both) of these methods are sure to fix that whistle while still keeping your light bar in tip-top shape. And now that you know how to fix it, why not pick up your light bar today!