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16 Blake Van de Loo 1945 Polaris RZR Turbo S KOH 2020 UTV Race Chocolate Thunder

UTV Lighting Upgrades: Brightening Your Off-Road Adventures

When it comes to off-roading, having the right equipment is the key to success. Of course, everyone looks at suspension upgrades, rock sliders, and bumpers, but even advanced off-road drivers often overlook light bars, despite them being absolute game-changers. A well-chosen light bar will enhance visibility and provide an extra level of confidence. 

But with the market flooded with various options, selecting the best light bar for your specific needs can be a daunting task. In this article, we will guide you through the key factors to consider, from brightness and durability to mounting options and beam patterns, to help you get the best light bar for your UTV.

17 Ronnie Anderson 4952 KOH 2020 UTV Race

Improve Off-Road Visibility

You might think that your factory headlights are bright enough for your off-road adventures, but you’ll never think the same after you have actually tried off-roading with an add-on light bar, regardless of whether you are driving an old truck with poor halogen lights or using modern matrix LED lights. Improving off-road visibility largely contributes to your comfort, safety, and it also puts less strain on your eyes when having to drive for prolonged time periods in the dark.

There are additional benefits to be realized besides this. A light bar for truck will ensure that you never go unnoticed. Moreover, a light bar gives you flexibility – you don’t have to use it just to light up what’s in front of your vehicle. You can also use it to light up what’s to the side or use it as a practical light to illuminate the cargo bed, depending on the mounting position. Last but not least, a light bar just looks cool and completes the look of any UTV.

How to Determine Which Light Bar is Best for You

To some, a light bar for a truck may seem like a very easy thing to choose, but there are surprisingly many aspects to consider. Luckily, you don’t need to consider laws in your state very much since there aren’t many restrictions on light bars and lighting in general for off-road UTVs.

Watts are one of the most obvious aspects to look at. However, the brightest light bar is not always the right choice. Depending on your specific use case scenario, you might even want to go with a less powerful light, as to eliminate glare. Generally, a decent light bar should have between 120 and 300 watts.

Just as important as the power of the light itself is the beam pattern, which determines how wide the beam of the light will be. You can choose from a spot, flood, or a combination beam pattern. A spot pattern is narrow but reaches far into the distance. A flood beam, on the other hand, does not illuminate that well into the distance but covers a wider angle. The first option is better for on-road driving, where you’ll want to look far ahead, but that’s not where you’ll be with your rig. The second is the better off-roading option. There is also the combination beam, which offers both but is the most expensive as a result.

The next important aspect in determining which light bar will be the best for you is the LED color. Generally, more amber colors will work better in low visibility conditions, like driving in a fog. A colder shade of white is more versatile and will give you the impression of seeing more. The color will also depend on your personal preference and which color is more pleasant to your eye.

Before you buy a light bar, you should also be sure that it will fit on your vehicle and on the desired mounting location. Light bars range from about 4 to 50 inches in size. A bigger bar will also mean more wind noise at higher speeds. If you intend to cover longer distances with your off-roader, it is worth considering a low-profile light bar, especially if you intend to mount it on roof rails.

Lastly, make sure that the light bar has an appropriate water and dust resistance certification, and that the construction is durable and rigid.

07 Brad Lovell KOH 2020 4WP Every Man Challenge Finish Line

Different Mounting Locations for Your Lights

Even the brightest light bar will perform subpar when not positioned correctly, and so choosing a good mounting location is crucial. When searching for a suitable location, you have to keep in mind not only how well the light bar will illuminate the area ahead of your truck but also how well it will be protected from being damaged and how well you can route a power source to it.

Taking all aspects into account, the best light bar location is usually at the top of the vehicle, where light bars are usually mounted close to where the front windshield meets the roof. This mounting point usually ensures the ideal light distribution. The light can cover a wide angle and can better illuminate the driving surface, as its light beam can’t be obstructed by rocks and bushes, contrary to light bars mounted low to the ground.

Bar lights positioned on roofs are typically mounted on roof rails, with which most UTVs are equipped. If not, there are still other non-intrusive ways to mount it. Some light bars for trucks have the option of being attached directly to the roof channels or magnetically to any part of the roof. Additionally, the higher-end models often come with a variety of brackets that allow you to further optimize the light bar placement such as underslung, top mounted, or front-facing.

Another good location is the front bumper. However, if you would like to get the brightest light bar, keep in mind that due to the proximity to the ground, the light right in front might have a glaring effect and be uncomfortable over a longer time period. On the other hand, this position allows you to illuminate the road immediately in front of your vehicle. A top-mounted light might have a blind spot in front of the bumper, depending on how it is angled.

Using tube clamps, the bars can also be attached to roll bars. With this mounting point, positioning the light beam might be a bit difficult given the possibility of the roof obstructing the beam and the glare from it.

Some smaller light bars allow for integration in the OEM front grilles. This option is ideal if you want to keep the looks of your vehicle as close to stock as possible. Mounts exist both for attaching the bar in front of the grille and behind it.

Finally, some manufacturers offer light bars that can be integrated into the license plate holder. The greatest advantage of these is the ease of fitment. On the downside, these mounts can only hold a limited weight and light bars at this location are the most prone to being damaged. And most UTVs won’t have a front plate bracket installed anyway.

19 Mitch Guthrie Sr 56 Polaris RZR KOH 2020 UTV Race

Enhancing Your Off-Road Adventures

A light bar seriously enhances your capabilities to conquer the terrain ahead of you, as it helps you scan the road ahead, and better assess the size and difficulty of any obstacles. It can also just be a practical tool as a simple light, when using your off-roader for camping. And for that much utility, a light bar isn’t that difficult to install either.

Take a look at 4 Wheel Parts, where you will not only find some of the best light bars but also many other parts for your off-roader.