Why Custom Headlights Get Moisture In Them (Spoiler – They Aren’t Defective)
When you’ve got some awesome looking custom headlights, the last thing you want to see when you walk to the front end of your vehicle to check them out is moisture inside the lens. It might look like a foggy cloud from the sky was sucked into your headlights, reverse genie-in-a-bottle style. That thing is just hanging around, causing moisture to slowly drip down the inside of your headlight lens like some type of agonizing torture.
But fear not! This moisture doesn’t mean your headlights are defective or broken. It also doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a whole new pair of headlights like some dealers would have you believe.
How Does Moisture Get Into Headlights?
So wanna know how that moisture gets inside your headlights in the first place? Hope you paid attention in science class. It’s called condensation.
Condensation happens when the outside of the lens is cooler than inside the lens. When you drive around with the lights on for a few hours, the bulbs warm the air inside the headlight lens. The same thing could happen when the headlights sit out in the sun all day.
So now the air inside the headlights is warm. Turn the lights off or pull your vehicle into the shade and suddenly the air inside is much warmer than the outside air. So that warm air hangs around for a while with the cool air just watching it from outside the headlight. The cool air wants inside. It wants inside so badly that it begins to sneak into the tiny vents that are found on most headlights at the top and bottom of the headlight. When that cool air meets head-on with the warm, condensation is formed. That happens on the warm side of the lens, so you’ve got a little layer of moisture on the inside of the headlight lens.
Turn the lights back on, crank up the temperature outside the headlights (or pull it back into the sun) and that moisture will eventually evaporate.
Brand New Headlights
Brand new headlights may have condensation built up inside them because they were shipped from a very dry climate to a not so dry climate. The not so dry climate causes the condensation to build up in the headlights. Even brand new cars on the lot have this problem. The good thing is, it usually clears up in a few days.
There is another reason your headlights could be filled with condensation. The bulb socket boots may not be seated properly. When the headlights are on and hot, that heat will pull moisture in through those tiny spaces where the boot isn’t sealed right. There’s your condensation. To fix this problem, just remove the bulb and the seat and then install it correctly. If the boots are old they could be just worn out and need to be replaced.
Vent Tubes Can Help
Almost every headlight has a vent tube. This does not let water into your headlight. This tube is actually there to allow condensation to escape. Don’t try to plug or block the vent tube or you’ll end up worse off than you are with a little condensation in your headlights.
What If There’s Water Inside The Headlights
If you’re seeing a lot of water actually sloshing around inside your headlights it means the seal around your bulbs or headlight isn’t working properly. There could be rain water dripping into your headlights if that seal is busted or not seated properly. You’ll have to remove the bulbs and/or headlight and check the seal around them. Sometimes, when replacing your headlights with new ones, those seals fall off or just don’t seal back like they should. Get some new ones and your headlights will stop taking on water like Gilligan’s boat.
If you’re still finding standing water inside your headlights, you’ve got a crack or a hole in your headlight. Find it and you’ll find the problem. Even a small crack can let water in over time, so in this case you’ve got to get them fixed or replaced to fix the problem.
If you need any help with your soggy headlights, give Chux Trux a call and we’ll help you out. With more than two decades of custom truck experience behind the counter, we can give you good advice that you can rely on. Call us today.
Point your Fog Lights and Driving Lights in the Right Direction
So you just got a new set of fog lights and you’re ready to install them and hit the road. You wake up for work and there it is! The streets are full of fog. You start your journey and what do you see?
Nothing but a bunch of fog.
Your fog lights aren’t adjusted right and they’re aiming everywhere but where you need them to be.
Or maybe you had a set of driving lights installed and you’re ready to see how well they work once the sun goes down. You decide to take a quick trip to the fast food joint to try out the new lights.
All you end up with is a side order of blindness from oncoming drivers flashing you with their high beams because your driving lights are aimed directly at their windshields.
Not exactly working out like you planned.
Both of these situations can be fixed if you know how to properly adjust the lights – using something other than the horn blasts from oncoming traffic to tell you they’re aimed too high.
How To Adjust Fog Lights
Fog lights should be mounted on the lower half of your front end. Somewhere on or below the bumper is ideal. They should be around 10 to 24 inches above the ground or at least below your vehicle’s headlights. But with fog lights, lower is better. Since fog usually starts about 2 feet off the ground your fog lights should be below that. If they are higher than the fog the only thing you’ll see when you turn them on is the reflection of your lights in the fog, which is reflected back into your face, making things worse. Kind of like when you hit your high beams in heavy fog. Mount your fog lights under the fog and you’ll be able to see the road ahead.
Mounting them in the right spot is only half the battle. Now you’ve got to aim them where they’ll actually be useful to you on those foggy mornings.
And go ahead and grab a tape measure to make sure it’s perfect.
Park your vehicle on a flat surface with the lights shining on a wall 25 feet away. Not 20 feet. Not 30 feet. It’s got to be 25 feet away for the measurements and lights to come out properly.
Now measure from the center of the fog light lens to the ground. Go put a visible mark on the wall at that exact height.
Adjust the fog lights so they are facing straight forward and the top of the beam is about 4 inches lower than that mark you made on the wall.
This should allow the beams to cut right through the fog like they are supposed to.
How To Adjust Driving Lights
Driving lights are a little different than fog lights because they serve a different purpose. They don’t cut through fog, but they will shed more light on the road than your factory headlights.
IF they’re aimed correctly.
This process is almost exact same as aiming fog lights, but the placement and measurements are different. Driving lights should be mounted above the front bumper or somewhere between 14 to 30 inches from the ground.
You can mount them lower than the bumper, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of having driving lights. The beams would hit the ground sooner and not shine as far in front of you. No use in having a set of expensive lights that could perform awesome, but work like crap because they’re mounted in the wrong place.
To aim the driving lights, park on a flat surface with a wall exactly 25 feet in front of you. Measure the distance between the center of the driving lens and the ground. Go over to the wall and measure that same distance from the ground and make a visible mark on the wall.
Now aim the hot spot of the beam, which is the brightest point, so that it’s about 1.5 inches below the visible mark you made on the wall.
Problems You’ll Come Across
Flat Surface and a Wall
The first thing you’ll find is that it’s not that easy finding a flat surface and a wall you can make marks on. Your garage is probably less than 25 feet deep and even if it is, the driveway may not be all that level.
You can get around this if you’ve got a friend with a garage and a long driveway or even a solid fence near a flat surface. If nothing else, a business/building with a big parking lot or a parking garage will work as long as it’s flat and level.
And instead of making a mark on the wall with a marker, use a piece of colored masking tape. That lime green stuff or even a piece of black electrical tape will show up great. Just peel it off before you leave.
Take Your Time Adjusting The Lights
If your lights have been mounted for a long time, they may be really hard to loosen and adjust. Some new lights might even be tricky because of their location. Take your time when making the adjustments to your fog lights and driving lights because once you’re back in the driver’s seat, you’ll want to see the difference, not be annoyed because the beams are still aiming the wrong way.
Most fog lights are mounted in pockets or insets in the bumper. These are pretty hard to reach to make adjustments. But it’s worth it to use the right tools to loosen, adjust and then tighten them in place. If your lights can be moved, wiggled and adjusted without messing with the screws, chances are they’ll re-aim themselves from vibrations going down the road and you’ll be back in the same boat.
Take your time, do it right and you’ll end up getting the maximum performance out of your fog lights and driving lights.
Ready to shine some light on those dark trails? You might’ve thought it’d be easy to look up some LED light bars, pick the coolest looking ones and go with it.
And now you realize it’s a whole lot harder to choose.
There are so many dang choices out there for off road lights and light bars you might want to forget it and bring a big flash light with you next time. Since that wouldn’t really work well at all, we’ll give you the low down on light bars, off road lights and why LED light bars are where it’s at.
First off, what are traditional off road lights?
Yes, that little yellow smiley face probably popped into your head when you pictured an off road light. Those are covers for KC HiLites and they’re still around, selling some great off road lighting. There are also several other companies with some pretty awesome off road lights and light bars, like Rigid, Anzo Lighting, KC HiLites, Lazer Star and more!
Halogen Off Road Lights
These are the Halogen lights that have been around for a while, mostly in headlights. They shine pretty bright, but use a lot of juice to do it. They’ve got a slightly yellow glow and don’t last as long as HIDs or LEDs.
You’ll find Halogen bulbs in a ton of off road lights and they are a little less expensive than LEDs or HIDs, but they won’t last as long and won’t look as bright or crisp.
HID Off Road Lights
HID bulbs have been creeping into the automotive aftermarket for years now. More and more car makers are starting to use HID bulbs in their headlights because they give off a lot of light. HIDs actually shine farther distances than LEDs or Halogen bulbs. They use a little less power than Halogen bulbs and last a little longer, but still won’t last like an LED light. Plus, their size makes mounting them restrictive in a lot of applications, plus, their starting price is seems like it's somewhere North of a used car.
LEDs are where lights are headed. Not only do they outlast Halogen and HID off road lights by years, they don’t use near the amount of power. They’re bright, look awesome, are available in different patters (flood, pencil, fog, etc.) and can come in different colors. And because of the different shape of an LED bulb, they can fit into some very tight spaces, unlike HIDs and Halogens. We won't bore you here with the scientific speak. But to put it in the simplest of terms, LEDs are just little “bulbs” that are inserted into an electrical circuit. But unlike regular incandescent bulbs, LED's don’t have a filament like a regular light bulb. LEDs are illuminated from the electrons move within a semiconductor material. This makes them incredibly efficient requiring very little battery drain, and are extremely durable over time. The scientific version of this reads more like reading how a nuclear reactor works, but we won't bore you with that here. Just trust us in telling you that the quality of an LED light is determined largely on the quality of the circuits and circuit boards that power them. Sort of like a flat screen TV. They all look cool on the outside, but it's the insides that determine the quality of what you see.
LED Light Bars
LED light bars are the slim-sized lights you see sitting just on top of the cab of a truck, in the grille or along the rear tailgate as a brake light. These light bars have so many different uses, once you buy one you’ll be hooked.
Another great thing about LED light bars is they won’t burn out or break. They don’t have a filament like Halogen or HIDs do. LED lights work off of a chip that comes on instantly at full power as soon as you flip the switch. Like any product, there are "good, better and best" versions in terms of quality. Most of your higher quality units are built in the USA. And these are definitely a "get what you pay for" product.
When The Chips Get Tough
The chip is very tough and literally lasts thousands of hours longer than HID or Halogen bulbs. That little chip is durable enough to hang on even along the roughest, wettest trails you can find. It’s not as vulnerable to vibrations or jarring trails as traditional bulbs are and is perfect for all kinds of off road uses.
Yeah, LED light bars can be a little more expensive than other light bars, but they’ll outlast any other type of light bar, so you won’t have to worry about replacing bulbs or the whole light bar. And you get more choices with LED light bars. They come in varying sizes between 4 to 50 inches. No matter where you need one, we’ve got the right size.
LED lights come in different colors for different applications: white, red, amber, blue, green and more. There are even color-changing LED light bars that can chance or “dance.”
You won’t get anything close to these features from traditional off road lights. They may as well be that old light bulb in the closet with the little string hanging from it. LED lights and LED light bars are the now and the future of off road lighting.
If you want to find just the right LED light bar for your truck or Jeep, check us out here at Chux. If you need some help picking the right one or if you have more questions, feel free to call us up, send an email or comment here.
by Chris Ripper
Fog lights, driving lights or long range lights...what's the best for me? That’s always a tricky decision to make. The sensible way of going about it is to buy what suits your driving pattern. There really is not a one-size-fits-all kind of answer. If you do mostly highway driving, for example, your requirements will be different than someone who drives mostly on rural roads. A long distance highway driver might require and use all three kinds of lights. On highways obviously long range or driving lights would be the answer, but what happens in fog or bad weather when it’s difficult to see the road? To make the right decision a driver really must have a clear understanding of what these different types of lights are designed for and meant to do.
Fog lights are designed to illuminate a wide path of road with a relatively short distance. These are great for people worried about deer jumping in front of you on the road. The proper mounting of fog lights are at a height of between 18” and 20” above the road. Fog forms about 20-24” above the road and stretches upward farther than we can see. When fog lights are mounted properly, they project their light under the fog and forward down the road. This helps you “see through” the fog, but of course there are limits. If fog lights are mounted too high, the light reflects off the moisture in the fog and creates a blinding effect on the driver. You’ve probably experienced this by hitting your high beams during foggy road conditions and discovered it’s like someone threw a sheet up in front of you. Fog lights must be mounted properly or their effectiveness is diminished.
Most fog lights are yellow in color though they can be white as well. There is no specific reason why fog lights are yellow. No, it is not the maker’s favorite color. This appears to follow an old convention which is not based on any scientific reasoning because yellow light does not offer any more penetration than white light. One theory that does sound plausible is that fog lights are yellow to indicate to other drivers that driving conditions are poor, and they should slow down and exercise an increased level of caution. Another is that a yellow filter (your fog light lens) sharpens your vision. You may have seen yellow tinted safety glasses that some guys wear when shooting guns to make things look more distinct. Same principle.
Fog lights are intended to be used when visibility is poor and obstructed by fog, rain, or snow. They are intended to illuminate the road surface and the curb, shoulder, and edges of the road. Fog lights have a limited range and are most effective at low speeds. In poor visibility fog lights do the job of dipped beam headlights. Because of their design, fog lights reduce the glareback from fog or falling snow which makes them a better choice in such conditions. But only if mounted properly 18-20” off the road as discussed above.
Fog lights are often fitted on cars in many countries where weather conditions do not justify the need for them. In such cases they are largely cosmetic and are available as optional extras. Studies in North America have shown that more drivers use fog lights incorrectly in good weather rather than use them correctly when they are most needed. However, where they are extensively used and quite rightly, is to light up the side of the road and watch for deer in deer-prone territory. Hitting a deer, fog or no fog, is no fun at all. But at least if you are in Arkansas that dead animal will not go to waste. Too bad California did not have such sensible laws.
Driving lights are particularly bright lights which improve the range of light beyond what your high beam headlights offer. They help identify obstacles and signs well before they become visible than with normal high beams. They have a rectangular beam which produces a beam of powerful intensity with a longer, wider reach. Driving lights illuminate the side of the road making them more visible. In general, driving lights are designed to provide better visibility than high beam headlights and by extension, a safer driving environment. Driving lights are the ideal choice when driving on highways at high speeds. Like a high beam, they have to be dimmed in the face of oncoming traffic.
The latest technology in driving lights is High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights which provide 40% better road visibility and 50% brighter light. They are more expensive than the old yellow halogen lights and have surpassed them. HID gives you more than just brighter light – it has a longer lifespan and consumes less electrical energy. With dual, high-temperature filaments, HID lights produce the brightest, whitest light possible. Wow, you may even wake up the neighbors with light that bright.
Xenon HID headlights produce a blue hued, whiter light with a wider coverage of about 70% more of the road. With their superior light intensity they produce well-defined images with a reduced power consumption of just 25 percent. Xenon lights are extremely durable and because they have no filaments are able to withstand shocks and resist vibrations. While they are a more expensive option, they are eco-friendly, consume less energy, and last longer so they are a terrific purchase choice that make up for the higher cost.
As the name suggests, long range lights provide a narrow, longer range beam unlike a standard headlight high beams, which projects a wide, short-range beam. A long range light adds greatly to distance visibility and is the ideal option when driving at high speeds. Long range lights are perfect for true off-roaders such as hunters and off-road aficionados. They are also great for driving in rural areas with limited street lights or where illumination is generally poor (like at night, when the sun goes down!). Long range lights enable you to spot signs and hazards at a greater distance so you are prepared and ready to take the necessary action. Long range lights can be blinding though. They are generally not street legal so use common sense when purchasing these.
Which is the right choice for you?
You would now have a clear picture of the benefits and applications of different types of lights. Fog lights are perfect if you need a wide beam to illuminate the road immediately ahead of you. They are the perfect choice if you live or drive in areas with considerable fog, rain, or snow where your visibility is impaired and you are forced to drive at slow speeds.
Driving lights are for you if you drive at high speeds and on highways. They light up the road well ahead of you giving you fair warning of hazards, obstacles, and signs. Driving lights are used along with your high beams to improve your overall visibility and provide a better, safer driving experience.
Long range lights should be your selection if you engage off-road driving or drive through poorly lit areas. Like driving lights they give you warning in advance, but with a more focused, longer reaching beam.
While fog lights might not be necessary for you if you live in an area that rarely experiences fog, there’s no reason why you should not have the advantage of both driving and long-reach, off-road lights. We can always fit your vehicle out with custom brackets to mount your lights, giving you the best of all worlds.
Do not spurn fog lights too much either. You may always move and perhaps you want to take your car to the coast or in the mountains where fog is common?
Light Up the World
Chux Trux is a full-service auto lighting company. What others know about lights we’ve forgotten. To us, each of our customers are special. We study your needs then recommend what’s best for you. We stock the best range in automotive lighting products from some of the icons in auto lighting such as KC HiLites, Rigid Industries, Vision X Lighting, and PIAA Corporation. Give one of our 3 retail stores a call or email us
By: Chris Ripper
What do you mean you don’t have LED off-road lights on your truck or Jeep yet? You’re not still using those “old fashioned” halogen lights are you? The best rock crawlers and desert racers in the country have been making the switch to LED offroad lights because of their superior close and mid-range illumination. And you should too.
There are other advantages to LED off-road lights; you get all this better light from a smaller unit that weighs less and is easier to mount than halogen lights. You get a very smooth and even light. The light from LED off-road light units provides more lumens per watt making them brighter than HID lights in terms of brightness and color but they use much less power. The solid state technology only found in LED offroad lights is very durable and will stand up to the elements for years to come.
Although LED off-road lights do not produce very much heat as they emit light, as is the case with halogen lights, they do give off a certain amount of heat at the bottom of the emitter. This can create a potential risk for adjacent assemblies and connecting cables. However this problem is easily taken care of with a heat sink.
One of the leading manufacturers of LED driving lights and off-road lights is VisionX. They have been supplying lighting for race teams like Norman Motorsports, Riot Racing, and Team Subaru Canada for many years. These teams rely on the high quality, high light output, and low weight of LED offroad lights for their success. VisionX has a wide variety of styles and sizes of LED light bars and spots to suit every off-road application.
Lazer Star is another company with a great line up of LED off road and driving lights. They specialize in high performance LED light bars that are designed for off road racing and extreme driving conditions. Their LX LED light bars can be mounted almost anywhere on your vehicle and will put out a strong, bright beam of light to keep you safe out on the trail.
Rigid Industries has LED off road light set ups that will fit any budget. They have light bars that range from four inches long to a whopping 40 inches! So you can add LED driving lights to everything from your ATV to the largest truck and anything in between.
And of course, you can find all of these fine products and the expertise you need to buy and install them at Chux Trux. All three Chux Trux locations in the Kansas City area have an expert sales team to help you get the right lights for your rig.
So stop stumbling around in the dark ages with those old technology halogen lights and step up to the bright new world of LED off-road and driving lights!
By: Chris Ripper
Let’s start at the very beginning. Lights are an essential part of any vehicle and of course, come from the factory with them. While some high end car manufacturers might offer you a choice of lights, most manufacturers don’t. What you see is what you get. That’s all there is to it. But the lights that come from the factory are of the barest minimum enough to meet the required standard and no more. Let’s face it – for real safe driving and good illumination they belong on the junk heap. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the nearly half of all fatal accidents happen after dark though only about 25 percent of daytime traffic is on the roads. Is that a coincidence or is poor illumination from factory lights a large part of the cause?
Let there be Light!
How about we have a look at the various kinds of lights for illumination – we’re not talking warning lights here like tail lights, indicators, and so forth.
Though vehicle high-beams are good enough to drive around in cities and well-lit roads, if you are an outdoor person and like to make your own way, then driving lights are an essential addition to your truck or Jeep. Now that you have spent tens of thousands of dollars on your Jeep or truck, why should you choose driving lights and spend hundreds more? After all, money doesn’t grow on trees (not in my world, at least). The point is vehicle manufacturers do not pay much attention to the fact that truck owners will also be driving off road, on country roads or terrain where there is little or no light during the night. In these conditions, the high-beams of the vehicle are just not sufficient. If you are into off-road driving, the driving lights can help you avoid hazards such as animal collisions or holes or dips in the road. Driving lights can be installed in the bumper, on top of or under the bumper, on grille guards and many other places. The guys at Chux have lots of creative ideas for mounting these. The ideal choice for driving light bulbs is tungsten-halogen or the more advanced Halogen Infrared (HIR) bulbs. The most recent technological advance are the ultra-efficient and incredibly bright LED lights with their low power consumption. These come in many shapes and sizes, including the “LED light bar” design that come in small sizes of 10” long by just a couple of inches tall to 36” or even longer light bars with multiple rows.
The fog light is the second kind of illumination lamp to assist in driving in poor weather conditions. It is designed to project a wide beam of light which is bar-shaped and has a sharply defined horizontal cut-off (bright below and dark above). The objective is to illuminate the immediate foreground, lane markings, and the edges of the road. Most factory-installed fog lamps are useless for their intended purpose producing far too little to serve drivers effectively. The cut-off is poorly defined resulting in too much glare shining into the eyes of oncoming drivers. Terrific fog lights produce selective yellow or white light with tungsten-halogen bulbs. HID or Xenon bulbs are unsuited for fog lights and blue is the wrong choice of color. Plus it may not match the color of your truck and that would defeat all purposes.
The downside of factory-installed/OEM lights is that they produce barely enough illumination to steer by, compared with a quality and working set of aftermarket lights. In many cases, when you turn your factory fog lights on, you can’t even tell they are on since they typically put out no more light than your factory headlights. That’s just sad. Except for high end and luxury cars, most OEMs install the cheapest kind of lights that meet the minimum required specifications. Statistics have proven that they fall far short in providing enough of impressive visibility for normal driving, much less for poor weather driving where their scattered beam often proves to be hazardous.
Aftermarket (A/M) lights are made by several manufacturer’s. Their objective is to produce better quality lights which offer brighter, more sharply defined illumination for your driving safety and convenience. You can invariably find an A/M light which will fit into the factory locations on your car or truck. But if you cannot, that’s not a hassle because we can always build a custom bracket to mount your lights. Whether it’s driving lights, fog lights, or off-road lights you need, you’re certainly far better off with A/M lights. And you’ll actually use them because they’ll provide you with a whole new night driving experience. Use them in bad weather and you’ll know what we’re talking about. Still not convinced? Ask any user of A/M lights and they will explain to you the clear and distinct difference.
At the Forefront of Truck Lighting
We are a full-service auto lighting company. Tell us your problem and we’ll meet all your lighting needs. Always at the pole position, Chux stocks the full range of some of the icons in auto lighting such as KC HiLites, Rigid Industries, Vision X Lighting, and PIAA Corporation.By: Chris Ripper