Good lighting is one of the main safety factors in trucking. Since safety is increasingly prioritized in our industry, a lot of effort is being put into optimizing the quality of lights. This has led to many owner operators and fleet owners turning to LED lights for trucks due to greater brightness and longevity. If you are thinking about getting LED lights, take a look at our article to learn about their pros and cons, different types you can choose from, and what you should consider before purchase.
Types of LED lights for trucks
The essential classification of LED lights for trucks is by the lamp body material. They come in various materials, but the most common include plastic, aluminum, and steel.
Plastic LED lights are very popular because plastic is a cheap material that is also lightweight, and it doesn’t corrode. The downsides of plastic as a material for led lamp bodies include the fact that plastic becomes brittle when exposed to the sun for a long time, and it can melt in excessive heat.
Aluminum, like plastic, is light and non-corrosive, but it’s also more resistant to high temperatures, so it won’t crack or melt when exposed to direct sunlight. It sure makes for higher-quality lamps, but these lamps are also bound to be more expensive than their plastic counterparts.
Steel LED lamps are less expensive than aluminum ones and have the same durability. They are often powder-coated in order to increase corrosion resistance.
Legal Requirements and Regulations for Using Semi Truck LED Lighting
The LED lights on your truck have to be in line with the FMCSA standards. Be sure to check them out before buying new lights. These standards are concerning the number and type of lamps, the color they emit, as well as their position on the truck.
What To Look for When Buying LED Lights for a Semi-Truck?
Buying LED lights for trucks can be quite a big investment, especially if you have an entire fleet to take care of. You should choose wisely in order to get the maximum out of that investment. Here are some things you should pay attention to when buying your new lights.
We believe that it’s always worth it to pay more in order to get better quality. So, when choosing LED lights for trucks, aim for those with a polycarbonate lens and a sealed structure. A sealed structure means that water can’t get inside the lamp, preventing water damage to it. Polycarbonate lenses have greater resistance to impact than those made from glass, making them less prone to damage from debris, dust, and heil.
When buying a side marker or marker clearance LED light, make sure you get PC rated lights. While standard side markers and marker clearance lights are made to be visible at a 90° angle, PC rated lights cover double that angle. When you mount a PC rated LED lamp onto a corner of your truck, you are meeting all the visibility requirements, for which you would otherwise need both a clearance light and a side marker.
Check the Voltage
The truck’s operating voltage has to match the voltage of your new LED light. You should check your truck’s voltage and buy new lights in accordance with that. Using a 6-volt light on a truck with an operating voltage of 12V will result in your lightbulb burning out soon. And a truck with a voltage that is too low for your LED light won’t be able to power that light properly. There might not be any output at all, and even if there is, you won’t be using the light’s full potential.
A wiring kit should be included with the lamps, so be sure to check it out. They might not be included with the cheaper lamps, but you shouldn’t buy these if you don’t already have all the necessary connectors. The kit should include wires, adapters, and plugs. Some kits will come pre-assembled, and some will require some skill and tools to assemble and plug in. The most important thing is that wiring is of high quality because an inadequate connector could cause trouble with your truck’s electrical system.
Double Check the Warranty
Check the rules set by your light’s warranty before installing it. You should always know if there are certain actions that could void the warranty. This usually includes disassembling the light or doing repairs on your own. Find out who you should contact in case the light malfunctions.
Pros and Cons of Using LED Driving Lights for Trucks
LED lights are a relatively new technology in the trucking world, but they are used widely because of their many benefits. The first of their benefits is directional light. Since these bulbs emit light in a specific direction, they use energy and light more efficiently.
LED lights also have a lifespan 50 times longer than traditional halogen lightbulbs. The luminosity of a halogen bulb can decrease by 20% in the first 160 hours, while a LED will lose only 7% of its luminosity after 20,000 hours.
Increased visibility is another benefit of LED lightbulbs. They have the coolest color temperature, which makes their light brighter than xenon or halogen headlights. And, of course, better visibility means more safety when driving your truck at night.
The first drawback of LED lights is a higher initial cost. Still, although you’d be paying more upfront, you should actually look at this as an investment. Like we already said, LED lights typically last longer, so you won’t have to replace them as often. Halogen lightbulbs usually last around 3 years, while the average lifespan of an LED light is around 5 years.
Another potential problem with these lights arises from the fact that they don’t emit heat. This means that when snow falls on the lights, they won’t be warm enough to melt it off so they might get completely covered up.
LED lights for trucks are gaining popularity for a reason. Although they have a few drawbacks, we believe that the pros outweigh the cons by far. So think about getting them if you haven’t already, and feel free to use our article as a guide in your purchase. For more tips, follow us on our YouTube channel Extra Mile International Inc Trucking Company, and visit our Instagram profile @extramiletx.