New Insurance Institute Report Sheds Light on Ford F-150 Headlights

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Blue Oval’s badass Raptor and F-150s fare about as well as a Silverado in headlight ratings report, which has us scratching our head.

KSBY 6 in central California recently reported on the poor ratings for headlights that were recently noted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The news program pointed out that “of the 424 headlight versions tested by the Insurance Institute, 67 percent earned a ‘marginal’ or ‘poor’ rating.” So, all things considered, when we heard that the current Ford F-150 was on the list where over 50 percent of the headlights were reportedly subpar, we weren’t too worried. But it did pique our curiosity, of course. Plus,the report claims the F-150 has a few other issues too, citing the fact that it scored “poor” across every trim level. (The same is reported about of the Chevrolet Silverado, btu that part didn’t surprise us.).

“About half of all fatal crashes in the U.S. occur in the dark, and more than a quarter occur on unlit roads,” says IIHS. “Headlights have an obvious role to play in preventing nighttime crashes, but not all headlights perform their job equally. Differences in bulb type, headlight technology and even something as basic as how the lights are aimed all affect the amount of useful light supplied.”

While the lack of forward illumination might be a problem for many vehicles, excessive glare was also a problem of the Ford F-150, claims the report.


IIHS Headlight Testing

For the 2018 model year, the IIHS tested three different headlight systems for the F-150. This includes the Halogen headlights on the XL, XLT and Lariat, the LED headlights on the upfitted Lariat, the King Ranch, the Platinum and the upfitted Raptor, and the standard LED headlights of the Raptor. All three headlight options scored “poor.”

The Halogen headlights in the XL, XLT and standard Lariat were marked inadequate on all four curve tests and the straightaway tests with the low beams and the high beams.


Related Thread from the FTE Forums: Led Headlights


The LED headlights from the King Ranch and Platinum proved to be adequate on the straightaways, but reported to be inadequate in all four curve tests. This was also claimed of the low beams and the high beams, although the IIHS report states the high beam assist does help provide better illumination. However, when it comes to overall quality, the IIHS named the 2018 Ford F-150 a “Top Safety Pick.”

Ford F-150 Raptor

As for the Raptor’s standard LED headlights, they received the same adequate scores on straightaways, but they were reportedly inadequate on all of the curve tests with both high beams and low beams. Also, both LED headlight systems were marked negatively for having excessive glare, which brings us to another point.

Glare Matters to the IIHS

While the KSBY report focused strictly on illumination, the IIHS also takes into account whether or not their testers find that the headlights provide too much lighting for oncoming vehicles. This means that while the F-150 was scored inadequate in terms of illumination, it somehow also shined too much light at oncoming vehicles, claims IIHS.

Finally, the KSBY 6 news report states that there is no legal requirement for new vehicles to meet a certain standard, and we should all keep in mind that the IIHS is not a government body. The IIHS was founded by a group of auto insurance companies, and while their efforts make the roads safer, they are not government standards in any way.

So, for those of you who drive a new F-150 or who have been in a new F-Series pickup, what do you think about the headlights of the modern Ford trucks? Do you think that they provide enough light for your needs? Head into the FTE forums to share your input on this subject!

Join the Ford Truck Enthusiasts forums now!

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

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