Auto Shopping 101: How to Spot the Right Spotlight for Your Car
Sometimes, even if you have your headlights on, seeing the road can still be difficult. That’s when spotlights come in. Whenever you’re driving at night or through a storm, spotlights are there to guide your way and help you see the path ahead—just flip the switch and the problem is solved. Spotlights have three types of bulbs: halogen, xenon, and LED. Each of these three has its pros and cons, and choosing can simply boil down to your purpose and vehicle specs.
Pros: Long service life and high level of affordability—it is no wonder why halogen lights are the most popular choice of car enthusiasts and owners. This type of light can last about 1,000 hours under normal conditions; it also produces the brightest light among the three. Halogen spotlights also come in different sizes, so if you want to ensure that they fit your vehicle, you’d better consider getting a component with halogen bulbs.
Cons: Halogen spotlights can be complicated to install; that is why they aren't the top choice among DIYers. Their bulbs can easily get damaged; once the bulb’s glass is touched, trace of salt in the skin's oil may make it difficult for the bulb to resist high temperatures.
Fit these vehicles: Citroen C3, Kia Soul, Dacia Sandero Stepway
Pros: More auto manufacturers are shifting to xenon spotlights because they are more energy efficient than halogen ones. These spotlights also have a longer life expectancy (2,000 hours under normal conditions) and offer better visibility than halogen lights.
Cons: Xenon’s light generates a high amount of glare, which makes it difficult for drivers of oncoming vehicles to see the road. Using this type of spotlight can increase the chances of getting involved in a road accident. They are also a lot more expensive than halogen lights, so they can be impractical for budget-conscious car owners.
Fit these vehicles: Infiniti FX 50S, Lexus RX 450h, Porsche Cayman 5, early models of BMW 7 Series
Pros: Though their light is not as bright as those produced by LED and halogen spotlights, LED lights have the advantage of being energy efficient—making them a usual for hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius. LED spotlights may also have sleeker designs, so they are more attractive when installed on the auto—the small size of their bulbs makes it easier for manufacturers to manipulate the design and adjust it to various shapes.
Cons: LED lights are prone to damage—their design is prone to interfering with adjacent assemblies and connectivity cables, which can be dangerous. They also cost more than xenon and halogen because their bulb isn’t commonly used in vehicle spotlights.
Fit these vehicles: Audi, Toyota Prius, Hybrid vehicles
How to Install a New Spotlight on Your Vehicle
One can never stress enough the importance of spotlights especially at night. They provide the added illumination that headlights may not be able to give. Most vehicles come with built-in spotlights, and sooner or later, you may have to replace them when they get worn out. Save precious time by avoiding the whole trial-and-error process with the easy steps below.
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools that you’ll need:
- Screwdriver set
- Wrench set
- Wire strippers
- Fuse (at least 15 watts)
Step 1: Separate all parts and wires. Disconnect the battery by removing the wires from the negative terminal and the positive lead.
Step 2: Look for the wire with the fuse built into it. Strip this wire on the end that is closest to the fuse and tighten it using the screwdriver. Strip the opposite end and wrap it around the battery’s positive lead post. Clamp the terminal connector to the wire.
Step 3: After the wire is connected, run it into the inside of your vehicle, right where you choose to fasten your switch. Connect the wire to the positive prong at the back of the switch.
Step 4: Now you are left with another wire. Connect this wire to the last prong at the back of the switch and run it on the outside of your vehicle going to your light. Connect it to the blue, yellow, or white wire from the light.
Step 5: Bolt your new spotlight tightly to any spot of your choice. You can drill a hole in the door frame and mount the power switch inside and then drill another hole outside to mount the spotlight.
Step 6: Look for the black wire from the light and connect it to the ground of your vehicle. Now that you have successfully installed your new spotlight, connect the positive terminal back to your battery and see if it works.