Is it Worth it to Upgrade Your Ford to LED Lighting?

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FTE Forum Member Upgrades To LED Lighting

Ford Truck Enthusiasts forum members are here with the answer, as well as suggestions for what to buy.

To LED or not LED? That’s today’s Ford Truck Enthusiasts question.

A simple Google search will yield hundreds of articles and opinions about the use of LED lights on vehicles. Some love them, some hate them, and some just don’t know what the difference truly is. This exact question was asked recently over on our forums and, as normally happens, the FTE Forum members had a lively debate detailing the pros and cons of LED lighting.

First, we have to thank user Dawgfever, who while still a new user, posted a question that stirred up some great discussion. His questions were simple. What noticeable improvements does LED lighting give a Ford truck, and are there any disadvantages or issues they’ve caused? As you might imagine, there were plenty of people on both sides of the argument.

Forum member FractureCritical started the discussion with a lengthy post about the benefits of LED lighting:

“LED’s for the most part don’t go bad. I’ve had a few cars over the years that just eat bulbs. I don’t know if it’s the vibration, a bad ground, water infiltration, poor quality, whatever. doesn’t matter. LED’s pretty much last forever. I put LED’s in the taillights of my wife’s Audi. they used to always go out. partly because she slams the hatch, partly because, you know…Audi. Either way, it’s easier just to put LED’s in than to try to change a wife’s behavior. if you’ve been driving around for the past 45 years, they’ll probably outlast you, too.

LED’s don’t draw much power. that may not sound like a big thing, but if you’re working construction or otherwise have reason to leave your lights on so a tired loader operator or some ******* on his cell doesn’t whack your truck, you can leave your running lights on all night and have plenty of battery still there in the morning.

LED’s are in fact brighter than incandescent bulbs, and they’re getting brighter with every generation. for a few dollars more, being a bit more obnoxious to your fellow drivers with signaled lane changes can make the difference. I could probably hide a Miata in several spots around and under my truck. I’d rather not, though.”

These are all great points, showing that LEDs have practical use cases that go far beyond being the newest technology around. While they couldn’t dispute the brightness improvement that LEDs give drivers, a couple members did dispute how much of an actual improvement they yield. Member Deuce40s said that it’s true that LEDs are brighter, but you need specific housings to really see a significant difference. Otherwise, you’re throwing brighter light at the ground at the same angle as the incandescent, which makes no difference.

Forum member Ginther provided some great before and after pictures of what his 2004 F-250 looks like with upgraded LED lighting and housings, as well as some other cosmetic changes:

“I upgraded my 2004 to 05-07 headlights and liked them a lot…I was only getting ~12 volts (engine on) with stock wiring. With that relay setup I was getting ~14 volts. Those 2-ish volts made a difference. Well that, and the new headlight housings and brand new bulbs too.”

While Ron94150 didn’t have any before and after pictures of his truck, he did want to show the difference that LED lights can make to visibility. This is in response for those who say that the LED’s brightness doesn’t do much to improve visibility:

“Driving home tonight, I was very impressed with the bright lights. They are definitely brighter than the oem halogens. I didn’t have any luck locating the set screw today either. I don’t have any before and after pics, but I did snap these pics pulling in my drive way for what they are worth. The Leyland Cypress you see are @ 75 yards away. I am pointed slightly up hill.”

Ultimately, the majority of members agreed that there were some significant benefits for LEDs, including the long life cycle of the LED lights and the lower power consumption. That is, as long as you pick the right kind. Thankfully, our amazing members spent the rest of the thread detailing their experiences with specific lights and housings. The entire thread is a great read if you, or someone you know, is looking to upgrade their lighting in their Ford trucks.

Thanks as always to our Forum members that contribute and continue to make the FTE Forums one of the best Ford communities around!

Charles Dean is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Rennlist, among other auto sites.

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