How to Overhaul My Wrangler's Factory Lighting
How to Overhaul My Wrangler's Factory Lighting
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From seeing the next corner on a dark back road to spotting obstacles during a night run down a trail, quality lights will keep you and your rig in one piece. There are a variety of styles and intensities to choose from to fit your purposes.
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There’s no secret the stock lighting on the Jeep Wrangler is horrible. Recently, Jeep has made an effort to address the notorious problem through the introduction of LED lighting on 2017 models. However, older models are still stuck with poor factory lighting. This guide will help provide alternatives and additions you can make to help overhaul the factory lighting.
Wrangler Headlight Replacement Choices
Typically, the primary light source for a Wrangler are the headlights. There are several aftermarket Jeep headlight options available, ranging from halogen bulb and reflector replacement, to a more expensive LED solution. They each have their pros and cons.
Halogen Headlight Pros:
- Cheapest solution
- Sold individually for even cheaper replacement
- Plugs into the factory harness
- Better in snowy conditions; heat from the light melts snow/ice
Halogen Headlight Cons:
- Undefined light edges
- Low intensity and color
LED Headlight Pros:
- Defined edges, crisp light
- Easier to adjust/aim
- Longer life, and hardier
LED Headlight Cons:
- More expensive
- Low heat production, worse in snowy weather
- Usually sold in twos
- Have to alter the factory harnesses
Fog Light Replacement Choices
Jeep fog lights also have the option of either halogen or LED lighting. Unlike headlights, the up-front cost of an LED solution is much less expensive and makes the choice much easier to make when compared to the halogen alternative. These lights are strategically placed towards the lower half of the Wrangler’s face and are designed to cut through dense fog and illuminate more of the road ahead without having the light bounce of the fog back towards the driver. LED lighting is perfect under these conditions because it introduces a crisp light pattern that is very easy to see and covers a good amount of ground.
There are a variety of solutions available for the factory bumper provisions. Most do require some level of wire splicing into the factory harness. However this is a fairly simple process, and the install is pretty straight forward.
Off-road Lighting Choices
With the factory locations squared away, the next area involves off-road lighting choices. This type of lighting is designed to be used during off-road conditions where there is little to no street lighting available. They can provide a focused spot pattern or a broad flood pattern.
In addition to lighting patterns, installation locations also play an important role in the type of lighting they provide. A higher mounting location, typically at the base of the windshield, will provide further range and coverage of the trail ahead. Lights positioned lower along the bumper line serve to supplement the fog lighting and help illuminate the ground immediately ahead.
Light Bar Choices
Jeep light bars consist of a series of lights in a parallel series and mounted on a bar. They also can be halogen or LED based. The advantage of these bars is that they can often provide a combination of spot and flood lighting patterns and provide the most lighting coverage. They’re typically mounted along the roof line of the Jeep or on top of the hood. Due to their ability to produce a tremendous amount of light, the location can be adapted to suite your particular needs. If you’re on a flat open terrain, a higher mounting location might be best to get a broader view of the terrain further ahead. If you’re often faced with rocky and difficult terrain, a lower position might be best to illuminate obstacles immediately in front of the Jeep. The advantage of light bars is that they provide a great range of lighting patterns and a variety of mounting possibilities and combinations.
In conclusion, the poor factory lighting has introduced a need for better overall lighting, especially during off-road conditions. Innovative LED lighting technology has its advantages, but often come at a significant price. The combinations of lighting patterns and locations also play an important role when you consider over hauling your Wrangler’s factory lighting.
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