Nothing changes your perspective on nighttime ‘wheeling or even just driving down paved roads like a good set of lights. And unless you’redriving a brand new $50,000 4×4, your factory lights suck in comparison to what is available. There are multiple ways to put more light infront of your 4×4, including off-road lights and headlight upgrade kits. But these can range from $40 to over $500, so it pays to know a little bit about the technology before whipping out the platinum credit card.
First, the basics. In most vehicle lights, electricity flows through a thin piece of metal called a filament just like the soon-to-be-outlawed incandescent light bulbs in your house. The metal heats up almost to the point of melting, and the resulting glow puts the light in your lights. The reflector in the housing focuses the light in one direction, making it more intense. Headlights are rated in watts, and the most basic way to get a brighter light is install higher watt bulbs. These have larger filaments and sometimes different types of metal that handle higher amperage without melting. However, the filament is held in a gas chamber, and the type of gas affects the light output.Really old sealed beams were incandescent, and they use an inert gas.