Off-Road Vehicle Lights: A Buying Guide

LED off-road vehicle lights

Are you doing your research in advance of buying new off-road vehicle lights for your truck, jeep, SUV, ATV or another type of vehicle?

Off-road driving poses so much more of a challenge than city driving, for all kinds of reasons. Wet and muddy conditions are tough to handle, as is off-roading in the desert. Rocky terrain and steep inclines present their own unique set of difficulties. And, if you frequently venture off the beaten path, you never know what type of conditions you might encounter.

Whatever it is, you have to be ready, to keep you, your passengers and your vehicle safe and sound.

Equipping your truck or SUV with the right lights can make your adventures in off-roading much safer, lighting the way in any conditions. But figuring out the best lighting solution to ensure your safety can prove to be a challenge – especially if you are not an expert in vehicle lighting options and terms.

To make the best possible selection you without breaking the bank, the experts at LED Equipped have put together a simple and straightforward buying guide to help you choose the perfect off-road vehicle lights.

Types of Off-Road Vehicle Lighting

Lighting for off-road vehicles typically comes with one of three different types of bulbs: halogens, HIDs or LEDs.

Halogen lights are usually the least expensive option you will find, but these designs also have the shortest expected lifespan. In addition, halogen lamps do not provide as much illumination as either HIDs or LIDs. As you need optimal visibility when you are off-roading, halogens are not the best choice for most customers.

HID (high intensity discharge) lights are an upgrade from halogens, as they offer improved brightness and efficiency as well as a much longer anticipated lifespan. But, because HIDs degrade over time, they are known for providing less light and becoming less efficient. And, HIDs do not work well in all weather conditions, which could affect your off-road driving plans as well as the lifespan of your purchase.

LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is more expensive than halogens and HIDs, but the bulbs produce clear, bright illumination in virtually all conditions. In addition, LED lights are proven to be extremely energy-efficient, and they can last up to four times longer than HIDs. Furthermore, LEDs are much more durable than other lighting options – and off-road vehicles need heavy-duty lights that will not fail in touchy or potentially dangerous situations.

In terms of brightness, visibility, efficiency, longevity and durability, LED lights come out on top in every category. This also makes them highly cost-efficient, as compared to other options. For off-road vehicle lights, LEDs are the superior choice.

LED Light Options for Off-Road Vehicles

When equipping your vehicle with LED lights for off-roading, you can select from one or more of the following options, depending on your needs.

Light Bars

Available in sizes that range from four to 50 inches, LED light bars effectively illuminate the terrain ahead of the vehicle. Mounted on the roof or bumper of your jeep, truck or SUV, the right light bar will give you all the visibility you need for your off-road adventures.

Spotlights

For a more concentrated beam of light ahead of or away from your vehicle, you need the power and focus of LED spotlights. Typically placed on the roof of a truck or SUV, spotlights provide additional illumination when necessary, and this makes them a popular choice for many off-roaders.

Floodlights

To better see the terrain immediately in front of your off-road vehicle while traveling in inclement weather conditions, you will want to install LED floodlights. Mount them on your front bumper and you will have clearer visibility when driving through fog, rain, sleet and snow.

Combining Off-Road Vehicle Lights

For off-road driving, a multi-light setup is often considered to be the best solution. You can outfit your vehicle with a combination of light bars, spotlights and floodlights, to ensure that you have ample illumination in every possible off-roading situation. And you can also go a step further if you prefer, equipping your truck or SUV with grill lights or running board lights in addition to the basics.

Some off-roaders also keep work lights in their vehicles. A beacon light, which attaches to any metal surface with magnets, can provide direct illumination exactly where you need it. This can prove invaluable for illuminating an off-road rescue or just to give you plenty of light at your campsite.

Mounting Off-Road Vehicle Lights

Investing in high-quality LED lights can make your adventures in off-roading safer and more enjoyable – as long as you take the proper care when mounting them. When driving on challenging terrain, your vehicle will experience plenty of bouncing and jostling, and that means your lighting has to be secure.

When it is time to select the proper mounting configuration for off-road vehicle lights, you have a few different options to choose from:

  • Surface mounting, using a bolt-and-lock fastener to secure the lighting to the body of your vehicle
  • Tab mounting, attaching the LED lights to existing tabs on your cargo bar or roof rack
  • Clamp mounting, using special heavy-duty clips to attach the lighting to existing horizontal or vertical bars on your vehicle’s grill, bumper or rooftop
  • Flush mounting, placing the LED lights in cutouts or recessed areas of your vehicle for a seamless look
  • Temporary mounting, securing the lights with the use of magnets or suction cups

Many vehicle lights come complete with universal mounting brackets, which can be stable and secure in most driving situations. However, off-roaders often prefer to use specialized mounts, brackets or kits instead, to ensure that their lighting never comes loose. Other savvy off-roading experts opt for custom-fabricated or vehicle-specific mounting hardware.

Wiring Off-Road Vehicle Lights

Once you have decided on a lighting setup and mounting solution, you need to give some thought to how power distribution. LED lights are extremely efficient, but they will draw on your battery.

For some off-roaders, this is not a concern. But as a general precaution, experts recommend wiring at least two circuits or relays for multi-light setups. That way, if one becomes compromised, some of the off-road vehicle lights will still function.

Depending upon how often you plan to go off-roading, you may want to consider a dual battery setup. Having a second battery means you will have the ability to make it back to civilization in the event your alternator fails. And if you run power-hogging equipment like a stereo or winch along with your off-road vehicle lights, you may need the extra juice a second battery can provide.

Laws on Using Off-Road Vehicle Lights

Off-road lights are rather bright, particularly in the case of multi-light setups. Using them for city driving can be a hazard to others out on the road – and the police may pull you over and give you a ticket.

But, keeping your lights off when you are driving in the city may not be enough. Some local jurisdictions mandate that auxiliary lighting on a truck or SUV must be covered when the vehicle is out on public roads.

Before equipping your off-road vehicle with LED lights, find out the rules for your area. Check with your local law enforcement agency to see if your lighting will need covers –and to see if there are any restrictions on the types of lighting you can install. Certain colors or types may not be legally allowed, and off-roading adventures are not worth breaking the law.

Choosing Off-Road Vehicle Lights

When shopping for LED lights for your off-road vehicle, you need to consider several factors. For lighting that meets your needs, take the following into account:

  • The size and configuration of your truck or SUV
  • The terrain and weather conditions where you plan to go off-roading
  • How long your off-road driving sessions will be
  • How lighting and other onboard devices will affect your battery

Your level of expertise and skill in wiring and mounting may be another consideration. But you do not have to install your own off-road vehicle lights – you can always hire a professional. And actually, you may want to go that route if you want a multi-light setup, as the wiring can be complex.

Additionally, make sure you purchase your off-road vehicle lights from a reputable supplier – like LED Equipped.

LED Equipped is a leading lighting distributor with an A+ rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. We are committed to providing unparalleled customer service, which is evidenced by our stellar reviews. And, LED Equipped is a preferred lighting supplier for law enforcement agencies, fire departments, towing services and construction companies across the nation – so you know our LED lights outshine the competition.

At LED Equipped, we frequently supply off-roaders with lighting for their trucks and SUVs, and our friendly team can help you find the right LED lights and mounts to meet your needs. Browse our catalog of products, or contact us for assistance in choosing your off-road vehicle lights today.