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Light bar installation
What is a light bar?
A light bar is a set of small LED lights placed in a row within a single light assembly. The set-up is designed to provide wide-beam lighting for off-road terrain driving.
They are typically mounted on the front grille, bumper or bullbar of a vehicle and are most commonly found on 4WD vehicles. There has been some conjecture regarding lightbars and their legality, their mounting positions and need for them, so it’s a good idea to check with the laws in your local area to make sure the light bar is not only fitted correctly but also road legal. If the vehicle is going to be used solely for off-road use then the light bar can be fitted anywhere.
LED light bars use lower currents than some other light options. They don’t need time to warm up and they have a long life span. This makes them a popular option.
Types of light bars
Light bars generally have an aluminium housing and polycarbonate lens and come in various lengths and wattages. They can be as short as 10cm and as long as 127cm, and come in 3, 5 or 10w variants. They can come in single or double stack versions with straight or curved bars.
Light bars will commonly have a dual beam option which means you can select between flood or spotlight beams. The flood beam offers a broader spread while the spot offers greater forward reach. Light bars don’t offer the same forward range of beam as some driving lights but they can provide a wider beam, greater visibility for slow off-road driving and better illumination than standard headlights.
Narva, Ironman 4x4, Dura Vision, Great White and XRay Vision all offer a range of light bars. They will generally come with a two- to five-year warranty and can be dustproof, waterproof and vibration resistant. It really does come down to what suits your requirements and how deep your pocket goes. They can get quite expensive.
Reasons for installing a light bar
- Better visibility at night
- Popular option
- Off-road terrain driving
- Better visibility of animals on the road
- More efficient lighting
Who can install light bars?
It is recommended that a qualified auto electrician install light bars. Whenever any aftermarket electrical components are being fitted, the job should be done by an expert. This ensures correct fitment and no nasty electrical surprises down the road.
A professional will also know the laws in your state or territory and install accordingly. Light bar suppliers may also have qualified staff on hand and offer an installation service. Make sure the installers are qualified to fit electrical components.
Things to consider
- Will the vehicle be road legal with a light bar installed?
- There will be wiring to deal with so budget for professional installation
- Does your bumper, grill or bullbar have enough room to accommodate the size of light bar you want, and will that bar be mounted legally?
- Do you require a waterproof or dustproof light bar?
- Does the light bar come with a plug connection?
- Will the light bar provide a combination beam?
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