Updated: Sep 12, 2018
From left to right: Standard Halogen, Replaceable Halogen, LED.
Benefits of Going LED
LED lights have been available for years and in many shapes, sizes, and colors since release. Going LED for headlights has been an attractive choice with minimal power consumption and significantly higher light output when compared to their halogen counterparts. Also, as compared to past prices, LED lights are becoming more affordable. These days, truckers looking for LED headlights are no longer limited to one or two companies. The main LED headlight manufacturers for semi-trucks are now Petersen, Maxxima, General Electric, Truck-Lite, and JW Speaker. All these companies offer very solid designs.
With all of these options and features, LED headlights seem to be an easy sale for enthusiasts who have been waiting to make the switch, but what about for practical use? We will try to answer that for you.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the weather. Mother Nature does not care what the engineers are doing to make truckers see better at night, the weather still does what it wants. LED headlights seem to get cold feet. While they provide outstanding light in the rain and the ice, word on the street is telling us that it is the wet snow has been bothersome for some. Snow that doesn’t stick to the lights does not seem to be a problem.
After speaking to one of our engineers, we have not tested the actual heat output of an LED light. However, we do know that by design, the energy in LED that would have produced as heat is instead turned into more light output. This means we do not have to use as much energy in order to get more light output. Therefore, we can conclude that the reason why LED headlights do not produce as much heat as regular halogen bulbs is because LED lights are extremely energy efficient.
On this note, if you truck through lots of wet snow, LEDs may not be the best option for your truck. Not unless you want to get out of your truck every so often and scrape off that wet snow that built up on your lights. As of this article, no company in the trucking market has claimed that their LED headlight products produce enough heat around the edges to melt the snow. Maybe with this issue being addressed, we can only hope for that kind of product in the future.
Most truckers forget these nasty pests when considering LED headlights. The current LED headlights are not inferior to regular headlights when it comes to rocks. They should be as rock resistant, but in the long run, every long-time trucker has had at least one or two rocks fly up and break a headlight. Although LEDs have come down in price, they are still over two hundred dollars per side. If a rock flies through your new LED, you can say goodbye to another two hundred dollars to replace one. Keep in mind; LED bulbs aren’t always available at truck stops. Even if an auto parts store is nearby, not all stores are open 24/7. So, you might be riding without a light on one side for quite some time. While it is not very common that this happens, it is still something to consider. Murphey’s Law, you know.
What Do You Do Now?
At the end of the day, it is your truck. If you do not drive in wet snow or if you believe that the benefits of front LEDs are worth the minimal risk of a rock, then go for it! LEDs provide many benefits for their cost.
However, if you still want lighting options that are brighter than stock lights, melt the snow, and are cheap to replace. There is a practical answer for you! Although not LED, replaceable halogen bulbs are 60% brighter than stock lights, produce plenty of heat, and are very affordable. Best of all, the bulbs are interchangeable and readily available at any Walmart or truck stop. Visit our online store to see if replaceable halogen bulbs are available for your truck. That way, we can make the road you travel brighter.
I hope this article has been of some help to you.