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We’ve shown you how to choose the right off-road lights for your needs, but what about getting them mounted? When it comes to installing your aftermarket lights, there are three common locations to choose from: the bumper, your lower windshield pillars and the A-Pillar (or equivalent depending on Jeep model) above the windshield. Each location has benefits and downfalls and choosing the right one for your Jeep lights mostly boils down to what kind of lights you’re installing and what you’re using them for.
The bumper is one of the simplest locations to mount your off-road lights. Many aftermarket Jeep bumpers like those by nFab, ARB, Smittybilt and Poison Spyder have built-in lighting mounts and wiring from this location is easier than most. Even with a stock bumper, installation is generally as simple as a little drilling and the right hardware.
The benefits of mounting your off-road lights on the bumper go beyond ease of installation. The placement low to the ground makes it the perfect location to mount fog lights, as the warm light will travel along the road immediately ahead of you and provide illumination in bad weather conditions. It is also a good place to mount driving lights to add extra visibility when off-roading in dark areas. However, mounting driving lights on your Jeep’s bumper will only boost your existing area of visibility and not shed much light on new areas, as they will point in the same direction, from the same angle as your existing OEM headlights.
Bumper-mounted driving lights will absolutely improve your visibility of the path ahead, but if you’re off-roading at night, you might consider pairing them with a set of lights mounted in one of these other locations.
A very common modification on Jeep Wranglers, mounting off-road lights to your lower windshield pillars can be a great way to boost visibility to the sides. Jeep Wranglers make installation a breeze by using the existing windshield mounting hardware, while other models may require some drilling.
Mounted at the lower corners of the windshield, these lights can easily be angled outward to illuminate obstacles to the sides of your Jeep, making them a good choice for frequent nighttime off-roaders. They bring an entirely new dimension of visibility into play on the trail because of their versatility in angling and light size, making them easy to customize for your needs. Windshield-mounted lights do come with a few caveats, however.
Spotlights make the best light choice for mounting to the lower windshield pillars, as fog and driving lights can produce glare off the Jeep’s hood, reducing nighttime visibility considerably. Something else to consider when choosing windshield-mounted driving lights are the dimensions of the light, as very large ones can inhibit vision to the sides of the windshield, depending on your personal driving style and Jeep.
Make sure to choose a size that fits your needs when purchasing off-road lights to mount on your windshield pillars. Once you’ve found the right ones, they can be a valuable accessory for your rig.
For maximum area lighting during high-speed off-roading, a spot or spot/flood combination above the windshield on the A-Pillar mount (also known as the ‘top mount’) is the best choice. This is the most difficult of the three locations to install a lighting system, but the experts here at 4WD are always happy to help with installations!
The mount above the windshield affords the greatest difference between your Jeep’s OEM headlights and your aftermarket off-roading lights, casting luminance in a far greater area. However, if you off-road in an area with few wide open spaces, this mounting location may not be the best way to maximize your visibility.
One potential downside of A-Pillar mounted lighting is an increase in your Jeep’s height, taking away a couple inches of clearance. If you already have a roof rack installed, you likely won’t be losing any additional wiggle room, but it’s something to keep in mind when you’re on the trail (or backing into the garage).
While these three mount locations are not your only options for off-road lights, they are the most commonly used. Some Jeep owners choose to mount lights on their grille, hood or rear bumper for example. Each location comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages and finding the right setup is often about having the perfect combination of lights.
No matter where you mount them or how many you have, it’s important you get all the right parts for your off-road lights. From mounting brackets to Jeep brush guards for protection, 4WD has all the parts you need to make your next off-roading expedition a little brighter.