There’s a lot to consider when finding the best driving 4×4 lights options. From LED lighting to 4×4 spotlights with HIDs, there’s plenty to consider and lots to know. Get a good handle on the essential information so that you can shop smart.
What Types of 4×4 Lights Are There?
Understanding the Basics
Understanding terms like lumens, lux, and wattage is crucial in understanding the real difference between the types of lighting available to buy.
Lumens refer to the amount of visible light output from a light source.
Lux is a unit of measurement of light intensity. 1 Lux is equivalent to 1 lumen per square metre.
Wattage refers to the amount of electrical power used in watts (the rate of energy consumption).
When comparing lights it’s important to remember that bigger wattage or lumens are not equal to higher quality, more powerful light.
Of all the available types of 4×4 lights, halogen lights are the least efficient. Halogen lights work in a similar way to household incandescent light bulbs.
The difference however is that halogen lights use halogen gas to increase light output and also life expectancy of the light itself.
Halogen lights come in a variety of wattages, with higher wattages providing a brighter light while drawing more current. The common choices for most fourby drivers are 55-watt or 100-watt lights.
4×4 LED Lights are a fantastic choice for any 4WD thanks to their excellent performance and affordable price tag. Drawing significantly less power than halogen lights, boasting incredible durability, and with reduced glare, LED lights are a top contender for the best 4×4 lights.
LED driving lights also have a very long lifespan, with the average light lasting approximately 50,000 hours. Your 4×4 LED lights are likely to outlive your vehicle!
Many modern vehicles come with LED driving lights factory installed.
High-Intensity Discharge lights (better known as HIDs) stand apart from both halogen lights and LED lights.
HIDs work by using an inert noble gas inside a bulb, which is charged via electrons to create an arc of light. The light output of an HID is 2.5 times greater than that of a halogen light.
HIDs are cheaper than LED lights and draw significantly less power than halogen lights. The downside is that HID lights do not use a low-voltage DC current to power themselves. Instead, they require an ignitor and ballast to function properly.
Most modern HIDs have this pre-built into their housing, though some may require externally installed ignitors and ballasts.
Australian based Lightforce Lighting has a fantastic range of HID (and halogen) lights available for 4×4.
Which 4WD Lights Are Right For You?
When deciding what type of lights you need, whether LED or halogen, light bars or 4×4 spotlights, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions to determine what lights suit your needs, lifestyle, and vehicle.
What Do You Need the Lights For?
I Drive Through Difficult Terrain and Conditions And Need Powerful Illumination
Driving at night off-road or cross country means facing mist, darkness, and wildlife crossings. 4×4 spotlights, specifically LED spotlights 4×4 model, will provide the best long-distance illumination.
LED lighting ensures that you’ll have the best 4×4 spotlights to help you manage dangerous driving conditions and spot crossing wildlife. 4×4 Spotlights can also be used as camping lights.
For some of the best 4×4 spotlights available look no further than Australian made Raptor LED Lighting.
I Need A Greater Range of Illumination from my 4WD
If you need a light output that is wider and brighter than can be achieved from standard lights then a 4×4 light bar is a fantastic option. Lightbars use LED lighting and provide a fantastic spread of light.
With a wide range of sizes available, you can easily find a 4×4 light bar that fits your vehicle.
I Need Affordable Lighting
If you are on a tight budget, then halogen lights are the obvious choice. Be aware of the lower quality. You get what you pay for.
What Size Do You Need?
Whether you’re installing a 4×4 light bar or 4×4 spotlights, the size you get will depend on the make and model of your individual vehicle.
Before you buy, be sure to take a close look at size specifications, electrical requirements, and whether or not the lights come with a mount and mounting hardware. If you’re ever unsure of what size you might need, talk to a 4×4 professional.
Basic Installation Guide
Here are the basic steps on how to perform a DIY installation of your lights.
Manufacturers such as Lightforce provide wiring harnesses and mounting brackets to allow for easy DIY installation.
Installing the Wires
- Choose a place on your dashboard to install the switch. Most vehicles have spare dash-blanking plugs for switches for your accessories.
- Mount the relay in the engine bay. Do so as to close to the battery as possible.
- Run a ground wire from the relay to the earthing point.
- Run a wire from one terminal on the dashboard switch through the firewall to the high beam wire on your vehicle’s light.
- Run the correct wire from the relay to the driving lights. Each light should have a wire connected to an earthing point.
- Run the battery wire from the relay to the battery. You should have a fuse in between these points.
- Test and adjust lights.
Getting The Right Angle
It’s important to make sure that your 4×4 light bar is at the correct angle. Lightbars can be adjusted on a vertical angle, and this is best done in the dark while parked on a flat surface.
Ensure you have a long-distance open space in front of your 4×4 light bar so that you can make accurate adjustments to where your light falls on the road.
How To Maintain Your Lights
The best way to keep your lights in a good condition is to first ensure they are installed and wired properly. After that, maintaining your lights is as simple as keeping them clean from dirt, moisture, and other potentially damaging materials.
Bonus Tips and Tricks
- The best 4×4 lights are usually waterproof. When buying waterproof lights ensure that they have an Ingress Protection Rating of at least IP67. This means that the bottom of the light can be submerged 1 metre underwater.
- Always buy your lights from reputable dealers
- If you’re not confident with a DIY installation, get your lighting installed by a professional.
- More lights are always better than less when driving off-road.