Choosing the Right Lights for Your Jeep
A Guide from D&S Automotive
Emily P from Chardon writes: “I just purchased a Jeep, and I’m excited to accessorize! I want to do something interesting with the lights – maybe some fog lights etc. What kind of options do you suggest, and should I go with halogen or LED lights?”
Jeeps are cool. But, as Emily will soon learn, a decked-out Jeep is AWESOME! Jeeps offer some of the coolest customization options of any vehicle. From lift kits to slick running boards, you can do a lot with your Jeep’s appearance. One of the most unique ways to trick out your new Jeep is to do some customization with your lights.
There are many options with Jeep lighting. There are many places to position lights on the vehicle, and then there are also different types of bulbs that can give you different looks as well. Let’s take a look at Jeep lighting options in our “Guide to Jeep Lighting Options” from D&S Automotive.
Location, Location, Location. When you are talking Jeep lighting, the first decision to make is deciding where you want to mount your lights. It’s not just about how the lights look. If you are going off-road and these lights aren’t just for looks, then you need to pay attention to how positioning lights in different places can impact your visibility. Here are some placement options to consider, and how they impact your driving vision.
LED vs. Halogen
There are two main types of light bulbs to choose from when considering vehicle light replacements or additions. Halogens bulbs are the traditional option, and LED are the newer option. Both have advantages and disadvantages:
- Cost. Halogen bulbs cost a fraction of what LED bulbs cost.
- Ease of installation. There is not much to a Halogen bulb install, making them easy to change out.
- Brightness. LED options are much brighter than regular halogen bulbs.
- Short lifespan. These bulbs burn out more quickly than their LED counterparts.
- Brightness. LED lights are much brighter than their halogen counterparts.
- They last. The technology behind LED lights enables them to burn longer and last for a longer period than halogen bulbs.
- They are harder to install/change. There is more technology involved with an LED bulb, so it is a little more complicated than simply unscrewing the old one and screwing in the new.
- Initial expense is higher. If you are swapping out your halogen lights for LED, the conversion is complicated. There are extra parts, like fans, needed to keep the fixtures cool. In the long term, you should save money because you don’t have to replace them as often, but initially, there are some costs associated with LED.
The 3 Types of Lights for Your Jeep
There are 3 basic types of lights that you can add to your Jeep to enhance your visibility while making your vehicle look great: driving lights, spotlights, and fog lights.
- Driving Lights
These should work in tandem with your OEM lights to enhance driving conditions. They are mounted on your bumper or windshield (advantages of each are outlined below). They are a great all-purpose lighting source and can even double the brightness of your OEM lights.
Spotlights on your Jeep are similar to spotlights at the theater. They provide a long, narrow beam, and penetrate deep into darkness. They are the brightest of any of the lighting options and work great in open spaces. Their effectiveness is limited in dense wooded areas. They can be mounted on the windshield pillar or high on the A-pillar.
- Fog Lights
Fog lights are usually mounted low on the vehicle and they omit a very wide, short beam of light that remains close to the horizon line. When there is snow, dust, fog or rain on the road, fog lights can provide illumination without the glare that sometimes comes with using your driving lights.
Part of picking out the right lights for your Jeep is function, and nothing impacts function more than mounting placement on the vehicle. Here are the three main mounting option areas for lighting on your Jeep:
- Bumper lights
When it comes to ease of installation, bumper-mounted lights are the easiest of the options. Installation of bumper lighting is usually as simple as drilling a hole in the bumper and making sure that you have the right hardware for securing the fixture.
Fog lights work great on the bumper. Because these lights stay close to the ground, the warm light travels along the ground and can increase visibility in tough weather conditions. Driving lights on a bumper help increase your driving visibility, but they will be pointed in the same direction as your factory-installed driving lights, so they don’t increase your vision into new areas.
Bumper-installed lights will help increase vision, but if you are considering driving off-road at night, you probably want to think about adding lights in other places as well.
- Lower Windshield Pillar Lights
If you are looking to increase vision to the side of your vehicle, this can be a great option. Windshield lights are relatively easy to install on older Wrangler models, but can prove a little trickier on newer models.
These lights lend themselves to being angled outward, so if you like to head out at night these are great lighting options. But take caution: fog and driving lights can produce a glare and negatively impact your visibility. Spotlights work best for windshield mounts. You also want to make sure to get the appropriately sized light, because a fixture that is too large can inhibit your vision as well.
- A-Pillar Lights
A-Pillar lighting gives you the maximum area of light for your off-road adventures. These lighting options can be very difficult to install, but the output is tremendous. Keep in mind that installing lighting options above the windshield on the A-Pillar increases the height of your truck and it can impact your ability to fit into spaces like your garage, so measure out the changes before adding the lights. Light bars look great when mounted on the A-Pillar and are one of the most popular accessories on Jeep Wranglers.
Installing new lighting on your Jeep can be intimidating and it is a tedious project that shouldn’t be handled by anyone who isn’t an expert in vehicle lighting. Luckily for you, we know just the team to help. Contact D&S Automotive today, and let’s get that Jeep ready for off-road action with great lighting, lift kits, running boards, and more!