By: Matt Konkle
Underpowered, dim, sad, useless, as well as many other ‘colorful’ - but unprintable - words have all been used to describe the factory Wrangler halogen headlights over the past few years.
Well, no more.
Jeep announced Thursday that factory-installed LED technology will makes its debut for the upcoming 2017 Wrangler. To be clear, this is not the 2018 JL Wrangler redesign model, but the last edition of the current JK Wrangler.
“Our commitment to improving safety is unwavering,” said Mike Dahl, Fiat Chrysler's Head of Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance. “We are continually exploring the use of new materials and components that will boost the performance of our vehicles, for the benefit of our customers.”
The 2017 Jeep Wrangler’s LED headlamps generate high-beam light output that is 90 percent greater than the halogen lamps in prior models, according to an FCA release. Low-beam output also jumps 63 percent.
“Such lighting helps afford the driver a better view of the road ahead, the benefits of which are literally plain to see,” Dahl said.
Despite their increased output, the new Wrangler’s headlamps draw 67 percent less power than comparable halogen lamps. These lights are expected to be a standard feature on all 2017 Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited Sahara and Rubicon models, while an optional feature for Sport and Sport S.
Not only do LED headlights have a better light output and less battery draw, but they also throw a more accurate beam which is closer to actual daylight, safer, and makes for less driver eye strain than current factory halogen headlights. Plus, LED headlights have an almost unlimited lifespan.
In a traditional halogen bulb, the thin filament of wire emits a bright light when a current is passed through it, which over time can degrade and eventually fail. An LED light makes use of a semiconductor – a material that releases photons of light when charge is applied. The main benefit of this is there is no filament to burn out, so they shouldn’t ever need to be replaced.
While Jeep’s announcement Thursday only covered the 2017 Wrangler, many around the industry expect the company to carry LED technology over to its 2018 JL Wrangler redesign. After all, why would the company walk backward into halogen for a redesign model. However, FCA is keeping just about all details on the 2018 JK locked up tight so we may not know, officially, until the vehicle is displayed during its January 2017 media release.
Those interested in purchasing the 2017 Wrangler can currently order the vehicle as Jeep opened sales August 8th. The company expects to begin physical production of the 2017 JK September 19th – which would put new models on dealer lots hopefully later this fall.