Among the many ways to modify a Jeep, many Jeep owners love changing their headlights. This modification helps improve practical functionality and delivers aesthetic value, too.
But if you’re wondering which is better to change—the headlight brightness or headlight color—your decision depends on how you use your vehicle and what you want to achieve. Let’s explore the effects of modifying headlight brightness and color to help you make the best decision for your Jeep.
Headlight Brightness Levels
Headlight brightness affects how well people inside the vehicle can see outside in low light conditions or in the dark. Brightness also affects how well other drivers can see your vehicle. Daytime running lights (DRL) make a vehicle more visible to other drivers during the day. But if headlights are too bright, or the centers of the headlights’ brightness are aimed poorly, the headlights can have a dangerous blinding effect on other drivers.
A lumen is a measurement of the amount of visible light emitted by a light source; the higher the lumen count, the brighter the light. In your home, soft lights in your living room might range from 230 to 440 lumens, whereas bright lights in your kitchen could range from 1,000 to 1,600 lumens. On your vehicle, the headlights emit between 1,800 and 4,000 lumens, but that depends on your bulbs.
Another way to adjust headlight brightness is to change the headlight casing rather than the bulb itself. Some people opt to tint their headlights to customize the look. Smoked headlights can range from a light tint, or light-smoked, to a dark tint, or dark-smoked. The darker the tint, the less illumination the lights put out.
Smoked headlights can reduce glare. If you have very bright headlights, adding a smoke tint will decrease the amount of light coming through. And of course, the distinct look sets your car apart from vehicles with conventional headlights.
Be sure to choose smoked headlights that emit enough light as required for your driving and by law. In most states in the US, visible light transmission (VLT) laws set standards for how bright your headlights must be for the safety of everyone on the road. Some states do not permit any tints whatsoever on headlights.
Aiming Headlight Beams
The intensity of light you need depends on your driving circumstances. When driving on well-lit roads or around other traffic, you don’t need lights as bright as when you’re off-roading in a darkened landscape.
Whenever you change your vehicle’s headlights, aim for optimal alignment. This crucial step helps ensure the best visibility for you and any drivers around you. You can adjust the alignment by turning the alignment screws left or right, depending on where you need the beam to move.
Parking on level ground, shine your headlights onto a wall surface, like your garage door, approximately six feet away from your vehicle. The centers of the headlight beams should be parallel with each other. Mark the vertical and center lines of the headlight beam centers with masking tape on the wall.
Back your Jeep up about 25 feet and note where the brightest part of the light beam hits the masking tape marks. You want the most intense light to land at or just below the vertical center line of the tape. Turn the adjusting screw clockwise to raise the lights and counterclockwise to lower them.
The brightest part of the headlight beam should also fall just to the right of the vertical tape marks. Turning the screws clockwise moves the headlights inward, and counterclockwise moves them outward. Adjusting your headlights so the brightest part of each light beam falls a little lower and to the right of the respective center axis will give you the best alignment.
White Light Variations
Drivers often choose white LED headlights, but these lights can appear yellow or light blue. The color temperature of lights is measured in degrees of Kelvin (k). The warmer the white light, the lower the Kelvin measurement, and the more yellow the light’s appearance.
Depending on where the lightbulb falls on the Kelvin scale, white light can appear anywhere from a warm yellow to a cold blue. Most LED headlight bulbs fall between 5,000K and 8,000K, with 6,000K being the most popular option.
RGB Color Headlights
For an altogether different look from white headlights, consider installing RGB halo headlights. Halo headlights, also known as corona rings or angel eyes, can make your Jeep look more modern and stylish. A ring of light encircles the center light in the headlight assembly, producing a halo effect.
RGB lights use different combinations of red, green, and blue LEDs to produce 16 million hues of light. These lights make it easy for you to customize the look of your car at the touch of a button.
In many cases, you can install RGB color headlights at home. For instance, you can mount RGB halo headlights and RGB halo fog lights from AM Off-Road in about 15 minutes thanks to plug-and-play installation. These headlights put out 6,500K white light, too, which results in beams that project further to improve overall visibility.
You can manually change the RGB headlight colors through a free app that allows you to control and adjust the headlights and fog lights. Aside from color output, you can control lighting modes to make the lights cycle through different colors smoothly or pulse with flashes of color. Use the white light to see the road well and the colored halo lights to create an awesome effect.
Other Lighting Considerations
Changing the brightness and color of your headlights aren’t the only two options you have for transforming your vehicle’s lighting. The configuration of the LED lighting within the headlight assembly also affects how your headlights look.
A headlight with start-up animation creates an unexpected effect when you start your car. The halo LED lights twinkle in the headlight assembly before they all come on completely, making it look like your Jeep is coming to life.
When determining whether it’s better to adjust your headlight brightness or headlight color, the answer ultimately depends on how you use your vehicle and what you want to modify. If you’re interested in increasing visibility at night, you probably want to get brighter headlights with a cooler Kelvin measurement. If you want an aesthetic change, consider smoked lights, color lights, or other features like halo LEDs.
Light Up the Road With AM Off-Road
AM Off-Road’s selection of Jeep off-road gear makes it easy to customize the brightness and colors of your headlights. Whether you want to swap out your halogen bulbs for brighter LEDs, add a sense of mystery with smoked headlights, or let your lights cycle through the color wheel, we have what you need. Shop with us today.