When travelling in the outback at night, auxiliary lights, also known as driving lights, are essential automotive accessories for any 4WD. These lights are situated at the front of the vehicle, and produce powerful beams that supplement the normal headlights to illuminate more of the route ahead. The extra light makes driving in dark, rural areas safer. Motorists have the choice of light-emitting diodes (LED), high-intensity discharge (HID) lights, or halogen lights, each of which has advantages.
When purchasing driving lights, a motorist needs to ensure they are suitable for his or her vehicle. Furthermore, motorists must consider the quality and appearance of the fittings.
Often, the most expensive lights are the best quality. However, this is not always the case, so consumers should take the time to research a brand before purchasing. Products that are well made and durable require minimal maintenance, and they often produce better illumination for safer driving.
Appearance is important, especially for vehicles that are used at shows and conventions as well as for off-roading. There are many styles and sizes of lights available, and shapes include rectangular, round, and oval.
Some driving lights produce a spread beam, which helps to illuminate the edges of the road, while others produce a pencil beam, which has superior distance illumination. Lights that combine these two beam patterns generally offer the best all-purpose performance.
Some lights are easier to install, and look better, on certain shapes and styles of vehicles. For example, LED light bars tend to have a slim design that makes installation easier on vehicles with streamlined fronts, according to Outback Travel Australia. Motorists should try to avoid lights that protrude at the front, as they may cause harm to pedestrians in the event of a collision. For this reason, motorists should ensure the lights they are purchasing are a good fit for the make and model of their vehicle, and do not require serious modifications.
Types of driving lights
There are three main types of driving lights, including halogen, HID, and LED. Knowing the differences between them helps consumers to make an informed purchasing decision.
In a standard incandescent bulb, atoms from the degrading filament cloud the bulb and reduce light output. This is not a concern with a halogen light, which is pressure-filled with an inert halogen gas that reduces clouding and extends the bulb life.
Halogen lights are a cost effective solution, and a 55-watt bulb offers around 200 hours of illumination. However, HID lights and LED lights are typically more efficient and brighter, and as a result, many motorists seek to upgrade from basic halogen lights.
High-intensity discharge lights, commonly referred to as HID lights or xenon lights, offer powerful illumination for 4WD motorists. These lights do not have a filament, and instead use a capsule of gas containing two electrodes. Light emanates from a discharge between the electrodes.
The light from HID lights is white, for maximum penetration, and it is greater than the light from a standard halogen bulb. Furthermore, HID lights are more efficient, as 95 per cent of the electrical input to a halogen bulb is lost as heat. However, they are more expensive than halogen bulbs, and they require a few seconds to warm up to maximum light output.
Light-emitting diodes, known as LEDs, offer the latest advances in auxiliary light fittings. They produce bright, white light, and have a long working life. In most cases the globes last for the lifetime of the housing, which could be up to 50,000 hours.
The improved efficiency and the incredibly long working life of LEDs means that, while the initial cost is higher than for halogen or HID bulbs, good-quality LED lighting is a low-maintenance solution that reduces running costs in the long-term. That makes LEDs a cost-effective solution for motorists who are able to pay the higher prices up front.
How to buy driving lights on eBay
Driving lights is an essential part of navigating in the outback, especially when leaving the beaten track for some off-road adventures. Fortunately, it is easy to find suitable lights for a variety of vehicle makes and models in the vast inventory on eBay. To start searching, simply enter a search criterion in the field available on any eBay page, and then refine the list of search results using the filters. Organising results in ascending price order makes it easier to find the best bargains.