Light up the Holidays! Great gift ideas for the auto enthusiast from Auxbeam
You want to get your favorite automotive enthusiast something for their vehicle and you’ve checked out all the online gift guides. One leading automotive magazine recommends a car wash kit. Boring. Another magazine recommends a tire pressure gauge. Seriously? Never mind, they’ve already got one. Another magazine recommends an emergency kit. That’s a definite maybe, but it’s still not very exciting. Exciting? Lighting is exciting! One of the most popular accessories for almost any vehicle is improved lighting. It’s practical – better visibility at night increases safety. And style – the right lights really add to the look and styling of a vehicle.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular lighting options.
🎁 360 Pro 7” Driving Lights🎁
Driving lights were first used on sports cars and rally cars, but today can be found on pickup trucks, Jeeps, imports and station wagons. They provide better visibility on dark roads and off road on dark trails, and with optional yellow lenses can really improve the view in low visibility situations like fog or snow.
The 360 PRO driving lights (https://auxbeam.com/products/360-pro-series-custom-lens-offroad-led-driving-lights ) are a modern high-tech version of the classic driving light.
Like all Auxbeam lights, these are LED. They output 33,332 lumens per pair (a typical pair of factory Halogen headlights outputs about 2000 lumens per pair in low beam mode) so these really will light up the way. They’re very easy to wire – as with most Auxbeam lighting products, a complete wiring harness is provided. The harness has easy connections to the battery, plugs for the lights and a switch which can be mounted in the cockpit. The wires from the battery to the lights and from the battery to the switch are plenty long enough for almost all vehicles.
For this article our test vehicle is a 2006 Jeep Wrangler, a vehicle that’s just asking for more lights to be installed if there ever was one. We’ve installed the lights on the Wrangler’s front bumper.
Also available are optional amber lenses which snap in place over the lights. The amber beams can provide better visibility in fog or snow situations.
Here are a few more views of the driving lights. The bottom center and right photos show the optional protective black covers, these can protect the lenses from damage from stones or other debris on the road or trail when the lights aren’t being used – they’re great for keeping your lights in “as-new” condition so the lights will always have optimal performance when they’re needed.
🤶LED Light Bars🤶
LED light bars are a more modern version of driving lights and because of their shape they can often be mounted in places that larger round driving lights might not fit well or look right. For example, light bars mount very well on the front of roof racks, on the hood of a Jeep (https://auxbeam.com/collections/jeep-wrangler-jk/products/qp004816) or on the bumper, and they’re available from 12” wide up to 52” wide so they can suit a wide range of lighting needs and mounting locations.
These light bars range from 12,000 lumens for the 12” light bar all the way up to 55,000 lumens for the 52” bar.
Let’s take a look at the 12” 5D PRO LED light bar (https://auxbeam.com/collections/led-light-bars-by-series-5d-pro-series) on our Jeep Wrangler.
The 12” light bar is quite compact and the provided mounting brackets make installation easy on most vehicles.
Auxbeam offers a range of mounting brackets for a number of vehicles and mounting locations (https://auxbeam.com/search?type=product&q=light+bar+mounting+brackets)
and if a bracket isn’t available for the location you’d like to mount the light bar, two holes will suffice – in the photos above, two holes need to be drilled in the bumper. In the case of the Jeep Wrangler this is very simple because the bumper is fairly thin formed sheet metal.
The 12,000 lumen output of the 12” light bar is about six times the output of the Wrangler’s two Halogen sealed beam headlamps, so this compact light bar can greatly increase visibility.
The grille guard on top of the bumper on this Wrangler has mounting provisions for lights, so another option is to mount the light bar to the guard using the brackets that came with the light bar:
🎅Multifunction LED Pod Lights🎅
At 3”, these pod lights are much smaller than the 7” round driving lights above so they also can often fit in places where the larger driving lights won’t. For example, Auxbeam has brackets to mount pod lights on the lower corners of the windshield frame of a Wrangler (https://auxbeam.com/products/qp004837).
These newest pod lights (https://auxbeam.com/products/zd000713) are quite bright at 9600 lumens per pair and also have 6 operating modes.
The amber mode is very helpful in low visibility situations like snow and fog, and the flashing lights are great in emergency situations.
The pods are quite small so they’ll fit almost anywhere. The complete wiring harness includes and on/off button and a mode button for switching between the 6 modes.
Once again here’s the test Wrangler, this time with the pods installed and showing both the white and amber modes.
🎄Improving factory headlights🎄
Most auto headlights these days feature replaceable Halogen bulbs in housings shaped to complement the lines of the vehicle and Auxbeam offers LED replacements for the bulbs in these headlights with lumen ratings up to 25,000 per pair. This is an easy and terrific upgrade to the stock bulbs. One great benefit of converting to these brighter LEDs is that because they get installed in the factory headlight housings, the beam pattern will be the same as the factory beam pattern, which means more visibility with brighter light without blinding oncoming drivers.
The new Auxbeam GX LED bulbs (https://auxbeam.com/collections/gx-series-led-headlight-bulbs) are available to replace most popular Halogen bulb sizes and in most cases, depending on how easy it is to access the factory bulbs, it just takes a few minutes to do the swap.
The GX LEDs are 650% brighter than Halogen bulbs, and can make night driving much safer.
Back to our test Wrangler… this is a 2006 and in that year Wranglers came from the factory with 7” sealed beam headlights. In 2007, Wranglers came from the factory with 7” round headlight housings with replaceable bulbs, and these housings are compatible with earlier Wranglers so to use GX LEDs in this 2006 or earlier Wrangler (or almost any other vehicle with 7” sealed beams), 2007-2018 Wrangler light housings are installed and then the GX LEDs can easily be installed in those housings.
In this photo a GX LED has been installed in the driver’s side and the original sealed beam is in the passenger side, you can see how much brighter the LED is.
🎀Controlling Additional Lights and other Electrical Accessories🎀
In addition to add-on lights like those above, many people install even more lights – underbody glow lights, cargo area lights, rock lights on offroad vehicles just to name a few, and there’s a growing trend for additional electrical accessories like refrigerators, on-board air compressors, inverters, electrically activated locking axles and more. Each of these electrical accessories requires wiring for power and usually a switch in the cabin to control its power and with many accessories this can become a wiring nightmare, not to mention the problem of trying to find places to install switches for all these devices.
The Auxbeam AR-800 Switch Panel (https://auxbeam.com/products/ar-800-multifunction-rgb-switch-panel-system-qp008526-1) is a great way to control everything from simple switch panel and a great way to simplify wiring – the switch panel connects by one wire to a control unit that gets installed in the engine compartment, and all of the electrical accessories get wired to that control unit.
The switch panel can be installed anywhere that’s convenient in the cabin, and comes with several different mounting methods so it can be mounted pretty much anywhere there’s space for it, in this 2013 Jeep Wrangler it’s mounted to the left of the steering wheel:
The operation of each connected light or device can be controlled from a smartphone via Bluetooth and the functions of each switch can be configured through the Bluetooth interface.to one of three modes of operation – simple On/off, Momentary (useful perhaps for something like a horn) and Pulsed (can turn a light into a flasher, perhaps for first responder use). This video shows the operation of the switch panel and the different modes each switch can be set to:
Also using the Bluetooth interface, the backlight color of the switch panel can be set; you can choose any color you like, and many people set the color to match the illumination of their dash lights.
The Auxbeam switch panel also makes a great gift because it provides for future expansion – even if only one set of lights is being installed right now, uses will soon be found for many of the circuits as additional accessories
👉Finding the right accessories for a vehicle
The products described above are just some of the many great gifts that can be found on the Auxbeam web site (https://auxbeam.com/). Not sure what to get? The site has two convenient ways to search – many of the more popular vehicles can be selected from the “Shop by vehicle” drop-down menu:
This holiday, lighting can be exciting! It’s one of the most popular accessories for almost any vehicle and it’s practical – better visibility at night increases safety. And style – the right lights really add to the look and styling of a vehicle. You’ll be sure to make your favorite automotive enthusiast happy with a gift from Auxbeam.
Happy Holidays from Auxbeam!