Driving Lights Buying Guide
When nighttime creeps in, the sun sinks into the horizon and all becomes dark, you need a heavy-duty light to be able to clearly see your surroundings when driving at night. Whether you're 4WDing camping, fishing or hiking, good lighting is essential for safety, comfort and fun. This Driving Lights Buying Guide will explain everything you will need to know about how to choose the best driving lights so you're in the know - and not in the dark.
- What Are The Best Driving Lights?
- How Will You Use Your Driving Lights?
- Different Types Of Driving Lights
- Brightness, Colour & Beam Of Driving Lights
- Power Sources For Driving Lights
- Lifespan Of Driving Lights
- How To Install Driving Lights
- How Much Are Driving Lights?
- Shop The Best Driving Lights At Anaconda
What Are The Best Driving Lights?
When it comes to choosing the best driving lights for your car or 4WD, there are a few main factors to consider, which we will go into more depth in this buying guide. One of the most important and obvious factors is the lumen rating of the LED driving lights that you are considering. For example, the Dune 4WD Xtreme 7 Inch OSRAM LED Driving Light features two powerful LED driving lights that each have an output of 7,000 lumens, ensuring you'll have no trouble seeing where you're going.
Another important factor to consider is the IP rating, which stands for Ingress Protection Rating. This rating will determine the ability of the 4WD driving lights to withstand issues such as dust particles and water - the two biggest issues when driving. That's why it's so important to always make sure the driving lights you are looking for can clearly outline their IP rating.
How Will You Use Your Driving Lights?
As their name would suggest, driving lights are excellent for providing light when driving at night - but why is this so important and how will you use them? Well, whether you are driving to work at night or just enjoying the track, being able to clearly see is a priority. If you're driving in the outback, then you've got to contend with wildlife such as wombats and kangaroos, which have an annoying habit of jumping into oncoming traffic. There's also the threat of obstacles on the road, whether it's a pothole or a large branch, so having a completely clear vision of not just the road but also your surroundings is crucial. And with powerful lumen ratings, such as the Dune 4WD Xtreme 9 Inch OSRAM LED Driving Lights which features an incredible output of 10,000 lumens in each of its two LED driving lights, you will be able to clearly see through other visual obstacles such as fog and heavy rain.
Different Types Of Driving Lights
Halogen Driving Lights
Did you know that halogen driving lights were the original type of spotlight that was fitted to the older 4WDs? They were recognised by their signature yellow light and known for being slightly better than factory lights. One of the main reasons why they were replaced over time with newer versions is that halogen driving lights used a significant amount of power, which isn't ideal.
Benefits of Halogen Lights:
- Emit warm bright light
- Instant activation of lights without flickering
- Provides sufficient light for long dark roads
HID Driving Lights
HID (High Intensity Discharge) driving lights are known for their massive draw distance, with some models being able to shine for up to seven kilometres! A massive allure to HID driving lights was that they use significantly less power when compared to their halogen counterparts - but have a slight delay before they can reach full illumination when switched on.
Benefits of HID Driving Lights:
- Great for long distance illumination
- Energy efficient
- Powerful high quality light
LED Driving Lights
LED (Light Emitting Diode) driving lights, like the Dune 4WD 21.5'' Xtreme Slimline Light Bar, are the most popular and most widely used type of 4WD driving light on the market. Unlike halogen and HID lights, LED driving lights will light up instantly once switched on and provide impressive results when it comes to both flood and spot patterns. With a balance between affordability and functionality, LED driving lights are the most common choice when it comes to 4WD driving lights.
Benefits of LED Driving Lights:
- Affordable and high performance
- Great results for flood and spot patterns
- Cooler light
- Long lasting
Laser Driving Lights
Laser driving nights are relatively new on the market. Being a new technology, they are typically rolled out as a hybrid of LED driving lights and offer a large improvement in terms of light distance. With the use of LEDs around the laser, laser driving lights provide a wider visibility of your surroundings, but due to being a new technology, they will set you back a pretty penny until the technology becomes more affordable.
Benefits of Laser Driving Lights:
- Extremely bright
- Wide view visibility
- Innovative technology
Brightness, Colour & Beam Of Driving Lights
When it comes to the colour of your driving light, the best driving lights typically will use white. This is because white driving lights resemble a colour temperature that is the closest to natural daylight. White-coloured driving lights are also the easiest on our eyes, provide accurate colour rendering and offer the most realistic contrast and illumination. When it comes to the best brightness for driving lights, you will want to go with anything that is at least 5,000 lumens per spotlight, such as our Dune 4WD 31.5'' Xtreme Slimline Light Bar which offers 10,50 lumens.
When it comes to the beam of driving lights, the three main patterns are fog, spot and flood patterns. The most common beam pattern is flood, which offers perfect peripheral vision when you are driving off-road. Spot beam patterns are awesome for speed driving at night, producing more of a focused beam that prioritises distance. Fog beams are designed for cutting through the glare of mist, rain, snow and fog. They offer a highly concentrated amount of light that can easily cut through the heavy density and provide clear driving conditions. When choosing the best driving lights for you, it all comes down to what type of driving you will be doing. You can also opt for driving lights that offer a combination of beams, like the Dune 4WD 41.5'' Xtreme Slimline Light Bar.
Lifespan Of Driving Lights
The lifespan of the driving lights you choose to purchase will completely depend on how much you use them and what type of bulb they are using. It is estimated that halogen bulbs will last anywhere between 500 to 1,500 hours, HID bulbs can last between 2,000 to 3,000 hours and LED bulbs (like the ones used in our Dune 4WD 4'' Big Rig Work Light or Dune 4WD 31.5'' Big Rig Light Bar) can last up to a whopping 30,000 hours.
How Much Are 4WD Driving Lights?
When it comes to the best driving lights, you don't have to drain your bank account. Many high-quality and top-performing 4WD driving lights, like our Dune 4WD 21.5'' Big Rig Light Bar which offers a high performance of 9,600 lumens for only $79.99, are actually quite affordable. It all boils down to factors such as the type of bulb they use and the type of beam pattern they are designed for.
How To Install Driving Lights
Here we will break down the steps needed in order to correctly install a set of driving lights. Please note that all 4WD driving lights from Anaconda will require a Light Bar Harness as well.
When it comes to how to wire up your driving lights, the first step is to mount your driving lights onto a suitable and sturdy location. Remember to keep in mind your local laws and regulations as to where you are allowed to place them on your vehicle.
The second step is to disconnect the negative terminal of your car's battery before starting any work. You'll also want to connect a memory minder to your 12v accessories if you don't want to lose your programmed radio stations and codes.
You will now need to find a location for mounting the fuse and relay, which is most likely on the inner guard and uses a self-tapping screw or an existing bolt. It is important to make sure that the red (positive) wire will be easily able to reach the battery. Now you can connect the ring terminal to the positive terminal.
The next step is to locate your car's headlamp wiring as your light bar will need to be triggered by the activation of the high beam. Find the back end of your high beam headlight globe, which should be located on the side that is closest to the relay, and then take out the plug.
Now attach the headlamp adaptor. Grab the headlamp adaptor from the Light Bar Harness kit and then connect that to the factory plug. The other end will connect to the headlight globe, with the third end plugging into the new harness. Once complete, simply mount the switch in the cab, making sure it is in a convenient location for the driver.
You will now need to run the plug through the grommet in the firewall all the way to the engine bay. This is done either by poking through with a sharp object or making an incision in the grommet. Making an incision as far underneath as possible will help ensure that any wiring won't get damaged. You will also need to ensure that there's a drip loop in the cable and this will avoid water ingress to the cabin and ensure the incision is sealed with sealant. Finally, connect the harness plug to the one that comes off of your relay.
Now it's time to plug in the plugs to your light bar. The single plug has to be connected to the relay, with the ring terminal being connected to an earth. This is done by being plugged directly into the negative terminal of the battery or to a bolt that has bare metal contact to the body.
Regarding the plugs that actually connect the light bar, you only have to connect one of the plugs. The second plug can be taped out and kept out of the way. However, if you are connecting spotlights, then each plug will be connected to each light. Now you just need to reconnect the negative terminal to your car battery.
The last step is to test out your new driving lights. Switch them into the on position and then turn on your headlights.
Shop The Best Driving Lights At Anaconda
With a massive 4WD range including 4WD mats, recovery gear, communication & navigation equipment and more, it has never been easier to find the best driving lights you need to see clearly and safely when driving at night at Anaconda. Explore our entire 4WD range and also remember to check out our Adventure Centre for more exciting 4WD tips, exciting 4WD destinations and more, such as: