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The Different Types of Off-Road Lights For Your Rig

Jeep against a landscape at twilight

Driving down trails and paths in your off-road vehicle is always a thrilling experience. But if you find yourself in the middle of nowhere when the sun goes down, you’ll need to navigate the rough terrain safely. Don’t let the darkness stop you from enjoying the great outdoors — all you need are off-road lights to keep moving. Because they vary by bulb type, light-beam pattern and mounting position, you’ll need to pick the right kind for your vehicle.

A Bevy of Bulbs

Let’s explore the different bulb types available, as the features vary between each:

  • Halogen: Halogen bulbs are the least expensive choice for off-road lights, and they’re the easiest to find. However, they don’t generate as much light as other types.Off-roading
  • LED: LED bulbs consume only a fraction of the energy that halogen bulbs do, so they’re an efficient choice. Relative to other bulbs used in off-road lighting, they offer superior durability and longevity.
  • HID: Off-road lights with high-intensity discharge bulbs are your best choice if you’re seeking the most potent illumination. These bulbs shine twice as far as LED lights, making them an excellent choice for high-speed off-roading.

Light-Beam Patterns

Light-beam patterns are specifically designed for activities such as nighttime racing and driving through fog:

  • Spotlights: Spotlights generate a focused beam that can travel a long distance ahead of the vehicle. They provide a great deal of light, but they cover a narrow area. They’re typically used in racing and in commercial and agricultural applications, but are not designed for highway usage.
  • Driving Lights: Driving lights support your vehicle’s high beams, extending the light far ahead. Unlike spotlights, driving lights can illuminate a broad area. They’re great for nighttime off-roading, and they may also be used to provide greater visibility on paved roads after dark.
  • Fog Lights: Fog lights are designed to cut through conditions that compromise visibility like rain and fog. As an added benefit, they can be used in conjunction with your headlights in rough weather.
  • Floodlights: The beam from floodlights only extends a short distance ahead of the vehicle, but it covers a broad area. Floodlights are often used as work lights, providing illumination when the vehicle is stationary.

Mounting Positions

Off-road lights can be mounted in different positions, such as on the roof or front grill:

  • Light Bars: Light bars are mounted on the roof, bumper or grill and provide a beam that extends far ahead of your vehicle.
  • Fog and Floodlights: Fog and floodlights are typically placed below the headlights, on the lower side of the vehicle’s front bumper.
  • Spotlights: Since their purpose is to provide a beam that extends far beyond the vehicle, spotlights are usually mounted high on the roof.
  • Driving Lights: Because driving lights supplement your vehicle’s headlights, they’re usually mounted right next to them on the grill.

Obviously, there’s a lot to consider when picking off-road lights for your vehicle. Before your next off-road adventure, take a look at your needs to make an informed decision about which type of lighting is best for you.

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

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.


Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

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