Driving Lights

4WD Tips      January 13, 2011      David Wilson

Are You Seeing Clearly?

Long distances often mean driving into the night and ordinary 4WD headlights could best be described as poor when it comes to illumination.

You really need a pair of quality driving lights to turn night into day.

But what should you be looking for in terms of constuction and lamp design…

Metal bodied lamps will prove to be the most durable in the longer term especially when it comes to corrugations. I’ve seen every make made out of plastic or polycarbonate shake itself to bits and break off its mounts, leaving its owner with zero illumination probably when it counts the most.

We’ve used the IPF range from ARB for nearly 15 years with good results, currently the Navara runs IPF Extreme Sport lamps, round lenses (the best shape) with sturdy plastic stone covers for daytime use.

After a serious beating over the last 4 years they’ve come up trumps and they get used regularly and we’ve yet to replace a globe, that’s reliable!

The mounting base needs to be sturdy and have a tensioning system that will tighten rock hard and a lens diameter of 200mm or more will punch out a massive amount of light provided the globes can get the right amount of energy. That requires serious wiring and relays to boost the juice. Steel bodies will need a periodic clean internally to remove dust, dirt or sludge if you’ve dunked them in the drink. Left alone you might ultimately find they corrode so offer a bit of TLC every now and again.

Bullbars make great mounting points at bumper level saving light shimmy that you might get on a lesser mount or nudge bar with a poor fastening system that feeds vibration directly to the light. If your bar is aluminium you may need to paint the upper tubes near the lights matte black to prevent a halo reflection back into your eyes at night.

For night-time safety there’s simply no substitute for a set of driving lights and for a quality set expect to pay $300-600. Stay away from the discount auto store cheapies. With such an important safety item it’s false economy to buy something cheap that doesn’t offer much illumination and falls apart on the first trip.

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