I've been wanting to convert my brake lights to LED's for some time now, but simply the technology was just not there yet. I did replace the bulbs for my center brake light in the window some time ago which has worked flawlessly ever since. As for the actual brake lights it was going to be a little bit of an investment. This bulbs aren't cheap. About $17 a bulb which will likely to out last my car. As always I went with Superbrightleds.com. I order two 1157-R3X1W bulbs.
When I first got them installed I was a little disappointed. If you compared the LED to stock the LED looked darker; as in not as bright. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness of my garage you really start to notice the true vibrant red of the LED vs. the reddish orange of the incandescent bulb. Not to mention the LED's fire up a good half second before the incandescent bulbs. If you think about it that's half second for the person to stop their car before crashing into for those emergency stops. Don't seem like that much, but thats 10-20 ft of difference there if you think about it.
Lastly I've noticed no burnt out bulb warning light. I did buy two resistors just in case but I guess I won't need them. I did take some pics of the taillight running the LED's but there's no way to really see the difference. So no point of posting them
They do sell a slightly higher power bulb called the 1157-R45-T at $25 a bulb. They offer more of a true 360 degree beam pattern like a incandescent. Based off the specs, if I was going to do this again I might recommend to try those first. I just didn't notice them while I was ordering at the time. I might use them for the rear fogs, reverse lights, or the turn signal lights, in the future. Will report back then....
Ok, I lied, sorry, you do need to use the load Resistors. I guess it would have help if I started my car to make sure. The bad thing with the 1157 bulbs is that you need two of them per bulb. I only ordered two.
So I was doing a little testing... and noticed I could have the rear fog fire when I yet the brake and it would not cause the "Brake Light" warning. Then I could use a single load resistor per bulb. Since the LED still doesn't seem to have the same overall brightness, using my rarely used fog lights seem like a better option. I had my wife and a random neighbor walking by and asked if they thought the brake light with the rear fog light was too much... and the all said it was fine. So I have a set of 1156 led bulb ordered from DDMTuning.com as they were running a sale. Yes there are getting shipped from China so I know the quality is like not going to match Superbrightleds.com, but they are selling them for $10 vs. $26 at SBL. I'll post some pics of the final wiring so you have a DIY coming your way soon.