LED lighting has become the highly preferred type of off-road lighting to upgrade your 4X4 for a lot of good reasons.
LEDs are brighter with a clean white light, draw less power from your off-road truck, and are also available in numerous types, shapes, and sizes, so many that it can be a challenge picking out the right ones for your 4X4.
If you’re planning on adding more lighting to your off-roader and trying to make sense of all the different LEDs now available, hopefully this little primer can help you narrow down the field!
Quality Counts with LEDs
LED lights come in a range of prices that correspond with the quality of the bulbs, so please be wary of buying cheap versions of more expensive LED lights that don’t provide the same clear, white light but instead burn slightly yellow instead.
Additionally, cheap LEDs are notorious for having more fragile lighting circuits, cheap plastic housings, and weak mounting brackets that don’t withstand all the bouncing and jolting from a day off-roading in your off-road truck or Jeep.
What you save initially on lower-cost bulbs will be a wash as you end up buying more bulbs over time.
Brand name, higher-quality bulbs will cost more initially; however, they’re designed for the job and will give you that crisp, clear lighting you need for a longer period of time.
What Beam Pattern Do You Need?
Besides the shape and size of the light you choose, getting the right beam pattern is critical as beam patterns differ based on the type of light and how it’s used.
- Spot beams that shine a concentrated beam of light.
- Driving beams that produce a wider beam like standard headlights.
- Flood beams that disperse a wider but shorter beam in front of your off-road truck.
- Work beams that are like flood beams but with the beam focused to light a smaller area in front of the vehicle.
- Fog lights and hybrid beams combine the effect of flood beams and spot beams for maximum illumination
Which one is right depends on what you plan on doing with your 4X4 when you’re out at night.
- Do you need the far-reaching light of spot beams or the wider beam of flood lights?
- Are you likely to encounter a lot of fog where you ride?
Take all of these things into consideration as you decide which lights to put on your truck or Jeep.
It’s not uncommon to see people mounting multiple types or even all of them when going out at night is common.
LED Light Mounting Options
Where do all those lights get mounted?
Again, it depends on the type of light beam and the purpose of the light.
- Since fog lights illuminate close to the ground, they’re usually mounted low on the bumper.
- Flood, spot, and hybrid beams whose purpose is to illuminate a much larger area are best mounted high on the bumper or front of the vehicle somewhere or above the windshield for even greater reach. They can cause a glare off the hood when mounted above the windshield, so that location may not be ideal on all vehicles.
- For work beams to illuminate correctly, they should be mounted higher than the windshield on a light rack which you’ll need to install one to use these LED lights.
Individual Lights or Light Bars?
Another option to think about when choosing spot, flood, and hybrid lights is whether you want individual lights or light bars.
Available in multiple sizes, shapes, and lengths, the choice is based mostly on preference, since both styles do the same thing.
Lightbars do require special housings and mounts that may not fit in all bumpers; however, there’s plenty of room for putting them over the windshield.
Customize With The Right Combination of LED Lights
With so many off-road LED lights choices, it’s easy to get lost wondering which ones you need.
The right way to tackle this problem is by understanding your need and the type of beam required to shine the light on your after-dark off-roading activities.
Once you know which beam type you need, figure out where and how you can mount each of those lights and the sizes that will fit the mounting space available on your trail-riding truck or Jeep.
With all that information, you should have fewer problems wading through the many options available to pick the combination of off-roading lights that will work for you!