4WD MODIFICATIONS - ELECTRIC & LIGHTS
We tested the LightForce 4000K LED Headlight Upgrade Kit for three months on the OTA Team Hilux. Because Lightforce doesn’t claim ADR approval for this kit, we were very careful to ensure it caused no glare hazard for oncoming motorists.
LED headlights replacement kits are claimed produce brighter, whiter light than standard halogen globes and we found that with the Lightforce units. However, the standard low-beam distance was about the same and that’s not surprising, because the beam dimensions are determined by the reflector shape.
Many people believe that an LED headlight kit will increase beam distance on low beam, but that’s not what our testing of different LEDs has shown. Brightness increases, but distance doesn’t.
High-beam distance was marginally improved; mainly by having additional brightness at the end of the beam, compared with halogen high-beam.
We have seen some after-market LED kits that produced weird beams and that’s probably due to the fact that the LED light position is different from the original globe location, because the LED may project more or less into the housing than the original globe. The Lightforce LED kit reproduced the original beam dimensions, but with added brightness.
Lightforce LED headlight kit – low beam
Now, let’s get the legalities of installing non-ADR-approved lights on your vehicle. Up to four ‘accessories lights’ (meaning non-standard) can be added to any vehicle. LED headlight replacements count as two of those, so, technically, you can install only two more lights – driving lights most likely – on that vehicle.
So, why bother with an LED headlight kit? For many people it’s a fashion thing, to have bright white or even bluish headlights. Some of these buyers also like to leave their fog lights on all the time!
For others, it’s the desire to have white headlights beams that match the white light from driving-light beams, so there’s less ‘night blindness’ when switching from high beam to low beam.
Another great benefit of LEDs is a much longer life, provided the LED can shed heat build-up, via the provided ‘heat sinks’. In the case of the Lightforce LED kit, the heat sinks are braided bands that shed heat to the air.
Lightforce LED headlight kit – high beam
While the Lightforce kit is described as easy install/plug and play, some headlight housings make the process of fitting the ‘heat sink’ bands and the control module, inside the rear of the headlight and behind the reflector a challenge.
In the case of the HiLux it was do-able, but a tad fiddly.
The 4000K colour temp of the LightForce LEDs is only a slight change over most halogen globes on the market – most are rated at 3000K to 3500K – but the LEDs produced a more consistent, even beam spread and brighter high beam distance than the standard halogen globes.
Vehicle lighting is a personal preference and often depends on where people spend most of their driving time.
If you spend 90-percent of your time driving around towns and suburbs that are reasonably well lit by street lights, you might feel that the higher-rated Kelvin colour temp lights (bright white) produce too much dazzling bounce-back or blinding reflection from road signs or fog and rain.
On the other hand, if you spend 90-percent of your time driving on narrow rural roads that are surrounded by bush or paddocks and don’t have any street lighting, you might need LED lights that improve visibility and the ability to see wildlife or stock, and be prepared to compromise on the reflection or bounce back from heavy rain or fog.
In either case, if you want good long-distance vision, driving-lights are a necessity.
In summary, if you need a little more brightness than standard halogens, these 4000K colour temp headlights might be for you.