Nothing can change your 4×4 experience when driving during nighttime like a good set of 4×4 lighting. Unless you’re driving a brand new 4×4 that features the newest lights, your 4×4’s lights are probably not that good in comparison to what’s available in the aftermarket lights world. There are many ways to improve your 4×4’s lighting, including headlight upgrade kits and off-road lights, but the price on these parts can vary greatly, so it’s best that you get informed about the latest trends before you whip out your credit card.
LED lights are the latest 4×4 lighting advancement, and although they’ve been extremely popular for Jeep and trailer taillights for quite some time now, the idea of using them for off-road lights and headlights is relatively new. In LED lights, diodes are mounted on a circuit board which is powered by electricity to create light. LED lights are very bright, efficient and don’t draw a lot of amperage from your battery. Furthermore, they’re the fastest to light and emit zero heat. What makes them great for off-roading is their vibration and shock-resistant properties.
HID lights have been used for professional off-road racing for quite some time now, and they provide ultra-bright illumination without generating high temperature. These lights don’t use filaments like conventional lights, but instead, use electrodes that don’t come in contact with each other. When the gas in the tube is heated up to the point of evaporating, an arc of light connects all the electrodes. HID lights use xenon gas in the tube, however, they shouldn’t be confused with xenon light bulbs.
Besides special bulbs which are known as burner bulbs to distinguish them from conventional, filament bulbs. HID lights a transformer to increase their voltage to create the arc which connects the electrodes, as well as a starter that will start the arc, literally. That being said, unlike LED lights, xenon and halogen lights which reach full brightness as soon as you turn them on, HID lights have a warm-up period. Furthermore, they’re kind of expensive, but you can probably find some more affordable conversion kits.
Where to Start
The first thing most people who are looking to upgrade their 4×4’s lighting do is replace their headlights. Since you use your headlights every day, or rather, every night, you’re going to get the most out of upgrading them. Headlights on older vehicles are a sealed-beam type, meaning you’ll have to replace the entire headlight when replacing the bulb. Newer systems, on the other hand, have a plastic housing which features a reflector, lens, and a bulb, meaning you can replace the bulb individually. You should stick to lights that are DOT compliant in order to avoid trouble with law enforcement.