Most 4×4 or off-road vehicles have spotlights on the roof rack or on the bull bar. These powerful lights can be a menace when used in city driving. However, when you are 4W driving in the countryside at night, or going into the bush for camping, then LED spotlights are your best friends. They can help you avoid animal strikes, and negotiate bad roads and treacherous turns. They are also useful as work or campground lights when there is no other light source available.
The best thing about LED lights is that they do not draw as much juice from your batteries, and they do not generate as much heat as halogen lights. However, not all LED spotlights are the same. Here are some tips for choosing the right LED lights for your 4×4.
You cannot always expect good weather or smooth roads, so you need well-protected LEDs. When you are shopping for one, you may notice terms like IP58 or IP68. This indicates how much dust and water your LED lights can take. IP stands for Ingress Protection, the first digit is for solids, and the second digit is for water.
LED lights with an IP00 means you have no protection at all while an IP68 rating means your LED lights are as dust- and water-proof as they make them. Note, however, that your wiring should have equal protection. Ensure that your connectors are dust- and water-proof as well.
LED lights are bright, but you should be more concerned with intensity. Brightness is in lumens while intensity is in lux. If you are looking for a good set of extra eyes, you want LED lights that have both lumen and lux ratings. However, most manufacturers will only state one or the other. If you must, go for lights with at least 21 LEDs with an output of at least 6950 lumens, or 10,000 lux.
It is illegal to have driving lights on top of bull bars in Australia because it obstructs vision, but that is where you need them off-road. To avoid legal problems, you want lights that you can easily mount in off-road conditions. Most bull bars come with mounting tabs, or you could use a tube-mount clamp to avoid damaging the finish of your bull bars. You can also buy LED light bars if you are in South Australia and Queensland, which is now a legal mod.
LED lights for your 4x4s are one of the best and most useful modifications. Still, consider these factors before going to the nearest shop – you may just save yourself the trouble and the money.