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Old 03-01-2017, 02:21 PM   #1
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Adding driving lights to your tow vehicle

My eyes just turned 75, as did my night vision, so I'm thinking of adding fog/midrange driving lights to our 2012 Toyota Tundra for those times when we can't get to our campsite in daylight, especially when the weather makes visibility even worse.

Also, we live in a rural area where deer play "chicken" with vehicles every night.

From a couple of installers and from Internet research it seems to me that Rigid Industries are making the brightest and most durable auxiliary lights right now, but they come at a premium price. Of course, there are offshore-made knockoffs, but I suspect it's another example of "you get what you pay for", as some A vs. B comparisons on YouTube indicate.

All LED Light Products by Rigid Industries | Rigid Industries

Has anyone upgraded the typically poor stock lighting on their tow vehicle, or on their daily driving vehicle? I'd appreciate hearing about any solution that is working well, particularly if you went with Rigid products. The backup lights on the Tundra are also dim and need an LED upgrade.

Thanks for any ideas on this.
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Old 03-01-2017, 02:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catchlight View Post
My eyes just turned 75, as did my night vision, so I'm thinking of adding fog/midrange driving lights to our 2012 Toyota Tundra for those times when we can't get to our campsite in daylight, especially when the weather makes visibility even worse.

Also, we live in a rural area where deer play "chicken" with vehicles every night.

From a couple of installers and from Internet research it seems to me that Rigid Industries are making the brightest and most durable auxiliary lights right now, but they come at a premium price. Of course, there are offshore-made knockoffs, but I suspect it's another example of "you get what you pay for", as some A vs. B comparisons on YouTube indicate.

[url=http://www.rigidindustries.com/products/all]All LED Light Products by Rigid Industries | Rigid Industries[/ur

Has anyone upgraded the typically poor stock lighting on their tow vehicle, or on their daily driving vehicle? I'd appreciate hearing about any solution that is working well, particularly if you went with Rigid products. The backup lights on the Tundra are also dim and need an LED upgrade.

Thanks for any ideas on this.
Hello Catchlight, I would suggest you check out the Tundra Forums for your truck. Here is a link to lighting and electrical with lots of good information including a thread on Rigid products. I have a Tacoma and have found the Tacoma forums invaluable.

http://www.tundratalk.net/forums/tundra-lighting-electrical/
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Old 03-01-2017, 02:52 PM   #3
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I added a set of driving/fog lights to my 2012 FJ Cruiser and would not own a car/truck now without fog lights, my eyes are in their 70's also.
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Old 03-01-2017, 03:44 PM   #4
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I added fog lights to a car many years ago. I've since had three vehicles with factory fog lights, and they're nearly worthless junk... although they are handy for seeing the lane markings immediately in front of the vehicle in some conditions. I believe that they are on production cars as "bling", not for any functional reason.

I can't imagine what a "fog/midrange" or "driving/fog" light would be. A fog lamp cuts off below the horizon to reduce bounce-back from the fog (or snow or rain) which obscures the driver's vision. Fogs light an area so close to the vehicle that they are useless at normal highway speeds; that bright area of road which is too close for the driver to need to see (at highway speed) reduces the driver's ability to see the dimmer road further ahead. A lamp arranged for midrange or further isn't a fog light.

Driving lights are auxiliary high beams. Cornering lights are driving lights aimed to each side of straight ahead. None of these are usable with oncoming traffic (and usually must be wired to go off when the headlights are dimmed), but can extend the range or breadth of the lit area. In the right conditions, they can be very useful; they would make it easier to see crossing wildlife (we have mostly deer and moose), or to see stationary hazards in the road earlier. I haven't gone to the trouble of adding them because those conditions are a minority of my driving conditions, and because on most cars it's not easy to do a good job of mounting them and running wiring; a truck with a massive grille area is easier.

Certainly LED lamps from a reputable source such as Rigid seem like a suitable choice.
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Old 03-01-2017, 03:52 PM   #5
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The factory fog lights I'm used to light up the peripheral area, being a wide narrow beam I can see what is on the shoulder and median. They supplement my headlights and I drive at night with both on. My driving lights I installed on my FJ were as bright as my headlights but had a more narrow beam. I had them positioned to just exceed my headlights field of vision. Most people are driving blind if they exceed the speed limit as if there was something in the road by the time it was seen or illuminated they would have already hit it. Thus any extension of the field without impacting on coming traffic will help night driving. These lights all shut off in the high beam mode unfortunately and I believe they are required to under Federal Highway rules.
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Old 03-01-2017, 03:57 PM   #6
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I will have to ask a buddy who just bought LED replacement bulbs for his OEM halogens in his fog lights. He bought the brightest he could, and they seem to be extremely bright, maybe too much. I think he paid well over $100 for two bulbs.

They are on a Toyota FJ, which he has tricked out for trail riding.
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Old 03-01-2017, 04:00 PM   #7
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My RAV4 came with OEM fog lights. One lens broke within the first month I owned it. Replacement involved removing the bumper cover and the inner fender to remove the lamp. Estimate was over $400.
I had a piece of Lexan cut to shape and glued it over the broken lens with some sort of caulk. Haven't turned the fog lights on since ( eight years ).
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Old 03-01-2017, 04:06 PM   #8
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Mine were PIAA lights, similar to these https://www.walmart.com/ip/37664472?...ruiser&veh=sem
I also installed LEDS in my mirror lights, trying to find some pictures.
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Old 03-01-2017, 04:13 PM   #9
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We have factory installed fog lamps on our Subaru and have used them a couple of times when driving in fog . They did make seeing in the fog a little easier . Pat
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Old 03-01-2017, 04:35 PM   #10
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Found my pictures with the fog lights on the FJ hooked up to my first 19 Escape and the led mirror lights
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Old 03-01-2017, 05:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
The factory fog lights I'm used to light up the peripheral area, being a wide narrow beam I can see what is on the shoulder and median.
...
These lights all shut off in the high beam mode unfortunately and I believe they are required to under Federal Highway rules.
It can be amusing to see what's in the ditch, but at highway speed by the time fog lights illuminate a location in the ditch, it's far too late to do anything about it. That's one reason that that fog lights should shut off in high beam mode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
My driving lights I installed on my FJ were as bright as my headlights but had a more narrow beam. I had them positioned to just exceed my headlights field of vision.
...
These lights all shut off in the high beam mode unfortunately and I believe they are required to under Federal Highway rules.
Are these aimed like the low beams, or like the high beams?
  • If they are aimed like low beams, then I don't see how they would be "positioned to just exceed my headlights field of vision". They will add brightness and help vision, just like the extra pair of headlight in a traditional four-lamp system, but to be valid low beams (safe for oncoming drivers) they need to cut off at about the horizon, or be aimed below the horizon.
  • If they are aimed like high beams, then there is no reason for auxiliary lights like this to shut off when the high beams are turned off - in fact, the opposite is true: any lamp aimed high like high beams must only be on when the high beams are on. If these are on with the low beams, you're dangerously interfering with the vision of oncoming drivers.
From the photo, it appears that the lights on the bumper in front of the grille are only suitable with high beams, as there appears to be a lot of brightness way above the horizon.
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:06 PM   #12
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From the photo, it appears that the lights on the bumper in front of the grille are only suitable with high beams, as there appears to be a lot of brightness way above the horizon.
I only ever seen fog lamps located under the bumper, down low. I've seen driving lights above the bumper ( and even on the roof ).
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:19 PM   #13
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Found my pictures with the fog lights on the FJ hooked up to my first 19 Escape and the led mirror lights
The lights in the mirrors are not intended as driving lights - they seem to be just front marker lamps, using a low-power bulb (a small 5-watt wedge-base incandescent, either a 168 or 194). A brighter source in this reflector would probably not have a good (or legal) pattern... although I realize that many FJ Cruiser owners have put in much brighter LEDs. A driving light in this position would be illegal in many places, since driving lights are typically not permitted above the height of the headlights, and low beam headlights should not be this high.

They're essentially just decorative, and probably run with the tail lamps and other marker lights.
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:26 PM   #14
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I only ever seen fog lamps located under the bumper, down low. I've seen driving lights above the bumper ( and even on the roof ).
Yes, fog lamps should be well below the driver's eye level, and are usually in or under the bumper... but aftermarket installations can be found just about anywhere on the vehicle. Driving lamps should be reasonably high, but only potentially illegal aftermarket installations (or "for off-road use only") are above the headlights.

Yes, it was fashionable decades ago to put some big driving lamps ("aircraft landing lights" were popular) on off-road styled truck rooftops, and the location is fashionable again with modern LED lightbars, on raised pickup trucks and Jeep Wranglers. I would consider that for my car using the roof rack mounting points if it were reasonable to run power up there; however, I would use them only carefully, and I would check local legality first.

The FJ Cruiser mirror lights are a decorative imitation of off-road driving lights, kept dim enough to be legal.
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:32 PM   #15
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After market replacement bulbs for high beams would be the easiest and cheapest. As others have said, fog lights have limited usefulness.
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:34 PM   #16
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Mine were PIAA lights, similar to these https://www.walmart.com/ip/37664472?...ruiser&veh=sem
If they are actually those lamps - a fog pattern - they are aimed far too high for fog use. If they are those lamps and used for longer-range light to the sides, they should be wired to work only with the high beams so that they go off when you dim for oncoming traffic. In the photo they appear to be on with the low beams and bright above the horizon, which is a problem for oncoming drivers.

I see a lot of mis-aimed "fog" lamps turned on with low beams, causing glare problems for me on the rural roads near my home.
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