Jeep Wrangler Bulb Types
Unfortunately for many owners, Jeep was reluctant to address problems with their factory bulb offerings. It wasn’t until 2017 that Jeep completely retrofitted all of their exterior light bulbs (high beams, low beams, tail lights) with LED bulbs for greater visibility and longevity.
All previous generations of the Jeep Wrangler came standard with halogen bulbs. While halogen bulbs offer much of the basic visibility Wrangler owners need to travel safely at night, depth of vision and width suffers under a lower quality bulb and light.
Bulb Upgrade Options
There are generally three types of bulbs to choose from for exterior lighting:
While LED bulbs have become standard on the 2017 Wrangler, owners can still upgrade their auxiliary lighting to new LED bulbs, or even swap out their existing bulbs for an even more powerful replacement.
Unfortunately, older models usually arrive standard with factory halogen lights. While this provides adequate visibility at night, Wrangler owners will sacrifice visibility depth, as well as width. What most customers complain about is the harsh yellow color of the lighting, which reduces visibility and distracts oncoming traffic. Each light bulb type has their own pros and cons, which we’ll discuss here.
LED Bulbs: New Industry Standard
LED bulbs are becoming a vehicle standard in virtually every new make and model across the world. Environmentally safe and long-lasting, LED bulbs are cheap to manufacture and save Wrangler owners potentially hundreds of dollars over their lifespan. But their performance speaks for itself.
- Energy efficient
- Low upfront installation cost
- Ease of installation
- Some retrofits can be complicated
- Doesn’t offer as much light distance as HID bulbs
- Performs worse in cold weather
If you have an older Wrangler, replacing your halogen bulb with an LED ultimately comes down to economics and skill. Retrofits can be complicated in older models and the return on your investment may not be worth the headache. Regardless, their luminosity will certainly extend the length of your vision on the road and you’ll notice the difference right away.
HID Bulbs: Aftermarket Upgrade for Halogens
Xenon HID bulbs are a popular aftermarket accessory for many Wrangler owners. Their sharp luminosity and brightness will add greater visibility than LED or halogen bulbs. Ultimately, many people choose HIDs over LEDs simply for performance value, especially for those nighttime off-roaders. Anyways, you can choose yourself, which of the two is worth it.
- Best depth-of-field
- A bluer light
- Distracting to oncoming traffic
Halogen Bulbs: Old Standard
Finally, halogen bulbs are an old industry standard that were cheap to manufacture and install. While halogens will provide the minimum performance needed to drive safely at night, some drivers feel the need to upgrade to a brighter bulb. For the layman, halogens are simply cheaper and easier to replace.
- Offers adequate lighting
- Not as bright as HID or LED bulbs
- Yellow light
- Not long lasting
Of course, you can also opt for additional mounts and other exterior upgrades to improve your Wrangler’s visibility and appearance. Some upgrades include:
- Mounted spotlights
- Light Bars
- Rock lights
What are Sealed Beam Lights & How are They Different from Modern Lights?
Sealed beam lights were some of the first headlights to be used by the automobile industry and soon became standard. Sealed beam lights are composed of a parabolic reflector and one or two gas filaments in a glass lens. These classic lights can be distinguished by their round lens. They also only house a single light bulb within their lens.
While once required by law, most automobiles now rely on composite lights and other light beams that can host multiple lights in a single cluster. Most composite bulbs were composed of a replaceable halogen bulb, which soon turned to LED bulbs as LEDs became the industry standard.
While sealed beams lens could only be house a single light bulb, single composite light can house turn signals, low beams, high beams, and even fog lights in a single cluster.
How to Convert from Sealed Beam to Modern
Let’s be honest; sealed beam lenses may be retro, but they’re also very dim and inefficient. Replacing a burnt out bulb requires replacing the whole housing system.
Instead, you can convert your sealed beam lens into a round or rectangular composite light through a relatively simple conversion. There are composite lenses available for each Wrangler size and all you need is the right tools and screws to keep it in place.
For even more visibility, LED and HID conversion kits can fit directly into your existing sealed beam or composite lens housing. These lights are compatible with Wrangler generations from the YJ onward.
Wrangler Generation Bulb Numbers
Fitment includes: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Laredo, Sport, Islander, S, Sahara, Renegade, SE, X, Rubicon, Unlimited, Sport-S