4x4 Buyers Guide – 4WD Lighting
For some 4WD owners, buying aftermarket lighting is a high priority especially when traveling through the outback at night. Not only do they help drivers see further down the road, but they also assist them in maintaining concentration given that poor visibility strains the eyes and drains energy levels. Not only will they have a better reaction time when dodging kamikaze kangaroos on the highway, but 4WD lighting can also be used to assist drivers when changing a flat tyre in the dark or even when camping.
Installing a mixture of spotlights and flood lights makes an enormous difference and is an excellent safety feature that assists millions of 4WD owners around the world. With such high demand for 4WD lighting, there are naturally many products on the market so being aware of how to best equip your 4x4 with adequate lighting isn’t straightforward. There are numerous factors which should be considered, such as beam patterns, bulb type, energy efficiency, and installation. To guide you in the right direction, today we’ll be offering you a simple overview of 4WD lighting.
Types of bulbs
There are three basic types of bulbs you can buy and each are very different:
· LED – The most current bulb which is becoming very popular considering they use only 10% of the energy of halogen bulbs. They’re compact, durable, long lasting (expected lifespan is roughly 50,000 hours) and are available in different colours and shapes. The downside is that they’re more expensive than Halogen and HID bulbs.
· Halogen – The most common kind of bulb because they're cheap and accessible, however they don't produce as much light as HIG or LED. Furthermore, they're also the least energy efficient and do not provide ideal visibility. Their projected lifespan is around 1,000 hours.
· High-Intensity Discharge (HID) – Offers the best illuminating ability and can often shine twice as far as LED lights. They are highly recommended for those who travel on the highway at night but are known to have dirty lenses which can generate glare. Their anticipated lifespan is somewhere around 2,000 hours.
Along with various kinds of bulbs, there are also four different types of light beam patterns available:
· Spotlights – While these lights travel a long distance in front of your 4WD, they have a more focused beam of light. Spotlights are common because they brightly illuminate a small area with a pencil beam which delivers better visibility to objects in the distance.
· Driving lights – Even though they're not as bright as spotlights, driving lights essentially complements your headlights by lighting an area further and wider than your headlights ability. Excellent for highway and off-road night driving for those wanting increased visibility.
· Flood lights – Although they don't radiate very far in front of your vehicle, the beam of flood lights can vary anywhere between 40 and 120 degrees and brighten a very wide area within a short distance.
· Fog lights – Are designed to emit light onto the pathway in front of your 4x4 without being affected by fog, rain, or dust particles. Fog lights are commonly mounted below your headlights and are used together with your primary lights for better visibility.
Most 4WD owners who want lighting for safety purposes will have a mixture of spotlights and flood lights to maximise their visibility.
There's several factors which should be considered when acquiring lighting for your 4WD. To start with, you don't want to buy very heavy lights which puts a lot of stress on the bolts and fixtures holding it in place, particularly when driving on rugged and corrugated gravel roads. While lighter is typically better, you should never sacrifice strength for weight as the lights need to be able to survive constant movement. The light bolts, pins, and brackets also need to be stable and well-constructed.
On top of that, any 4WD lighting you purchase should be waterproof not only to keep rain out when travelling at 110kph, but also to avoid any red outback dust from obstructing the clarity of your lens. Waterproofing is also vital if you want to cross any rivers and have your lights submersed. Furthermore, modern lenses are usually manufactured from specialised glass or lexan so if you notice any lightweight plastic lenses then you know they are low-quality.
Even though most 4WD lighting are fairly easy to install for those accustomed to handywork, some areas of your vehicle are more challenging to install lighting than others. TJM Australia have a series of different 4WD lighting which their specialist staff can install in their fully equipped workshop. For any additional information about 4WD lighting or installation, simply give their staff a call on 07 3865 9999.