Blog

A lot of design changes and improvements have been made to the Wrangler over the years improving it's on and off-road handling and capability, interior comfort and passenger carrying capacity. The one area that seems to have been forgotten about however, is the headlights. Not much has changed, since believe it or not, the birth of the Willys MB almost 75 years ago! Up until the release of the 2007 JK, all the previous CJ's and Wrangler's have used a sealed beam headlight that offered marginal light output at best. With the JK Wrangler finally came a non-sealed beam headlight that allowed you to replace or upgrade an H13 size bulb, rather than having to change out the entire headlight. Even still, the light output compared to other cars and trucks on the market was still not up to par. So it's not surprising that one of the first modifications many new Wrangler owners make to their Jeep is to upgrade the headlights.

Sealed Beam Upgrades

Sealed Beam headlights offer marginal increases in light output for a relatively small cost

For all Wrangler's and CJ's older than the current generation 2007 and newer JK wrangler, sealed beam upgrades offer slightly better than stock performance for a pretty minimal investment. For about the cost of simply replacing a burnt out oem sealed beam headlight, you can step up to something like the Sylvania SilverStar replacements. Offering a cooler white light than the standard sealed beams yellow-ish light. Sure they're an improvement over stock, but don't expect a night and day difference in the light output, pun intended.

H4 Housings & Bulbs Upgrades

H4 conversions allow you to choose from a wide range of available H4 size bulbs for better light output

The next step up in head light upgrades, would be to switch out the old school style sealed beam light to an H4 Housing Conversion and a pair of upgraded H4 bulbs. Of course the JK Wrangler's stock headlights already uses a similar style housing, however they're made to accept an H13 bulb which sadly doesn't have the amount of aftermarket upgrades available as the more common H4 sized housings. Most of the aftermarket housings offer a better beam pattern than the stock housings anyhow, so it's worth making the switch to have more options when it comes to bulb selection.

HID Retrofit Kits

An option that hasn't necessarily been as popular in the Jeep aftermarket as it has in other automotive aftermarkets are H.I.D. headlight upgrades. H.I.D. stands for High Intensity Dischage, which is a type of light that uses a filament-less bulb housing two electrodes inside the lamp, along with a mixture of gas and metal salts. High current is supplied by way of an electric ballast causing an arc of electricity to form between the electrodes. While these systems can offer a large increase in light output, many of the retro-fit kits on the market simply offer the ballasts and bulbs and not full housings. Simply installing an H.I.D. kit into a housing designed for an H4 bulb is not only not street legal, but because the housing is not designed for the application, a lot of stray light and glare is created for oncoming drivers on the road. While there are some systems on the market that are DOT approved and offer high quality light output, the recent improvements in LED technology offering similar quality for less money, have caused H.I.D. kits to rapidly decline in popularity.

L.E.D. Upgrades

Which brings us to the most popular and biggest bang for your buck upgrade available in the aftermarket today. L.E.D.'s or Light Emitting Diodes, are small semiconductor diodes. When voltage is applied, electrons release energy in the form of light. Over the past few years, improvements in LED technology and their reduction in cost have brought quite a few options to the aftermarket for headlight replacement.

Within the spectrum of LED upgrades, there are essentially two types of headlights, reflector style and projector style housings. Both are great options and the increased amount and quality of light output over the Wrangler's original headlights will have you wondering how you ever drove at night before installing your new headlights! The difference between the two styles is how they go about projecting the light down the road and the output pattern of light you see on the road surface.

Reflector style LED Headlights offer a great increase in light output that's well worth the upfront cost

Reflector Style LED Headlights look similar to the oem style light, with a clear lens and fluted reflector at the back of the housing. The LED's are positioned in the center of the housing and bounce light off the reflector. The lights are usually divided into an upper and lower half, for low and high beam respectively. The amount of light output is far greater than standard headlights, and the color temperature is much closer to natural daylight.

Projector style LED Headlights have a very distinct appearance, different than conventional reflector style housings. By positioning the LED behind a lens and a cut-off shield, the light is more focused and the cut-off pattern of the light on the road is much sharper than that of a reflector style lamp. This creates a more even pattern of light on the road with less "hot spots". Projector style head lights utilize separate LED's and projector lenses for high and low beams, with some even featuring additional lenses for peripheral lighting to really light the road ahead. Of course, just as you would probably expect, with the additional lenses, LED's and manufacturing costs involved with projector style lights, the retail cost is usually slightly more than a reflector style LED. Both offer great advantages over the stock lights, and really it just comes down to personal preference in style, look, and how much cash you're willing to shell out.

Shop all LED Headlights

Top Jeep Articles

Blog
Help - I've High Centered And I Can't Get Out
  • Matt Konkle
  • March 15, 2019
Know your limitations when asphalt-crawling in a 2wd Wrangler Unlimited.
Blog
February Wrangler Sales Tumble: Gladiator Angst Or Jeep Overkill?
  • Matt Konkle
  • March 13, 2019
Jeep Wrangler hit its first sales snag in 11 months as potential inventory levels, Gladiator release, loom.
IMAGE GALLERY
March 2019 Jeeps & Java
  • Matt Konkle
  • March 11, 2019

April showers might bring May flowers, but we prefer the saying 'March rain clouds bring Jeep crowds'.

Crowd at Quadratec's Jeeps and Java
Blog
Quadratec Announces 2019 Jeeps And Java Event Schedule
  • Matt Konkle
  • March 6, 2019
Popular Sunday morning Jeep gathering back for 2019 on select Sunday's each month.
Red Jeep Wrangler with open doors and tailgate
Blog
Top Five Products For Tuning Up Your Jeep's Interior
  • Matt Konkle
  • March 4, 2019
Many of us only focus on exterior products when upgrading, but your Jeep's interior can be just as important.
Seats inside Jeep Wrangler
Reference
What Are The Differences In Jeep Seat Cover Materials
  • Matt Konkle
  • February 28, 2019
Seat covers are no longer just some random vinyl material that may or may not fit well over your seats. We break down some of the best materials and their differences.
Reference
Differences Between Soft Top Materials
  • Rick Rotondo
  • February 19, 2019
A Jeep soft top isn't just a one-size-fits-all application. And one of the most important things to consider before purchasing is what kind of material makes up that top. Here are some of the most important material differences.
Blog
Differences Between Jeep Gladiator And Wrangler
  • Matt Konkle
  • February 14, 2019
You may think the latest Jeep design is nothing more than a bed on a Wrangler, but in reality it is so much more.
Jeep truck driving in snow
Blog
10 Essential Items For Your Jeep Winter Emergency Kit
  • Matt Konkle
  • February 5, 2019
You never know when something may happen while on the road or trail during winter months. So a good Jeep winter emergency kit is definitely high on the recommendation list.