Heavy duty tow truck with lots of lighting.

LED Work Lights for Trucks: An Overview of Truck Lighting Options

Lighting is a big deal for trucks, especially if you use one to earn a paycheck. The right lighting can make your day (or night) on the job easier and safer by improving your forward and peripheral vision.

In recent years, car manufacturers have made the transition from incandescent and halogen bulbs to LEDs. Let’s take a look at why LED work lights for trucks are a reliable lighting option.

The Switch to LED

Manufacturers and vehicle owners overwhelmingly prefer LED work lights for trucks, as they use 80% less electricity than incandescents, according to Consumer Reports. Not only are LEDs smaller than traditional lighting sources, but they also do a better job replicating natural light.

In some vehicles, LEDs power the headlamps, daytime accent lights, fog lamps, turn signals, taillights, stop lamps and other exterior lighting. However, when it comes to work trucks, LEDs are typically not included as standard equipment because these vehicles are designed for fleet use at the lowest possible cost.

LED Enhancements

Fortunately, truck owners have various aftermarket options to enhance their truck’s lighting, including the following supplemental options:

  • LED Flood Lamps: A pair of LED flood lamps mounted to the front of your vehicle is ideal for enhancing forward and peripheral vision. Before you install them, check with your state’s DMV for any restrictions on where the lights can be mounted (e.g., on a light bar on top of the front fender).
  • LED Bar: A light bar fixed to the top of the cab is another option. You get wider forward vision from a light bar than from bumper-mounted flood lamps.
  • Underhood LEDs: When you pop the hood of your truck at night, you have to hold a flashlight to see the engine bay. But with underhood LEDs installed, that problem is solved. Play around with placement to find the best location that will maximize lighting when the hood is up.
  • Truck Bed LEDs: Truck bed lighting is the easiest way to get light into the back of the truck. These lights are mounted along the inside rail lip and run the full length of each side. You can use the taillamps or a 12-volt outlet as their power source. When they’re activated, the truck bed is bathed in light.

Light Control

A dashboard-mounted switch with wiring running through the engine firewall can control the flood lamps and underhood lighting. For a light bar, a switch above the rearview mirror may work best.

Once you install flood lamps or a light bar, take your truck out at night, head down a poorly lit road and activate the switch. Gauge how well the lights expand your line of sight and adjust as needed. If you need expanded lighting, consider installing multiple lighting options.

Federally Approved LightingPickup truck

As you might guess, the government — the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), specifically — has a big say in the kinds of truck lighting your vehicle is equipped with. The NHTSA’s responsibility is to keep people safe on America’s roadways, and technology plays an important role in how that’s accomplished. The NHTSA allows manufacturers to install LEDs, but the government body regulates headlight brightness.

The NHTSA frequently reviews how lights affect safety and makes policy changes accordingly, so it’s a good idea to keep track of any proposed rule changes to ensure any lighting adjustments you make won’t result in a ticket.

Check out all the lighting products available on NAPA online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on LED work lights, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

about author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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