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A Guide to LED Lights for Powersport Vehicles

Posted On: 03/16/2021

When you’re out on the trails with an ATV, snowmobile or other powersport vehicle, it’s important to have reliable lighting to help guide your way while also alerting other people on the trails to your presence.

LED lights have seen a huge boom in popularity in just about all applications over the last decade, including in lighting for powersport vehicles. Not only are these lights practical and long-lasting, but they can also look pretty sick, depending on the kind you choose.

So if you’re in the market for new LED lighting for your ATV, here’s a quick look at some of the most important considerations to keep in mind.

Type of riding

What type of riding do you like to do? This will have a pretty large influence on the kind of LED light you get, as different types of lights will be best for different purposes.

There are basic LED lights and light bars you can purchase for your vehicle, as well as some extra add-ons. For example, amber light LED bars are ideal for cutting through fog when you’re riding at night or early in the morning. Single LED lamps with higher power output are idea for use as spotting lights or to add to the power of your headlights. LED whips improve visibility when you’re off-roading at night.

If you need help making your decision, a salesperson can help you determine the kinds of lights that are best for off-roading, trail riding, mudding, utility work on your property, racing or other types of riding.

Legality

There are some laws and regulations to consider when you’re installing new lighting on your vehicle. For example, some areas to not allow LED light bars to be used when on a road. This means if you purchased this type of lighting equipment for your vehicle, it’ll need to be installed so you can turn it off while riding on public roads, and then turned back on when on private roads or offroad trails.

Available space

You’ll also need to consider the amount of space you currently have available on your mounting spot. If you get a light that’s too big for the space available, it could either look completely disproportionate, or it could be impossible to install at all.

Measure the available width, depth and height to determine whether or not your potential LED lights will fit in your mounting space.

Wattage and voltage

One of the biggest benefits of LED lights over traditional lights is that they hardly require any power. This means running those lights shouldn’t put any extra strain on the vehicle.

It’s a common practice for people to replace stock headlights on an ATV or snowmobile with LED lights. This will save you a fair amount of wattage. With how low of a power requirement LED lights have, you won’t have to worry about being limited in your selection due to power.

With regard to voltage, most offroad or powersport vehicles run on 12V, and most LED lights will operate at either 12V or 24V. Just double check you have the correct voltage for your vehicle.

Brightness

We already discussed how the type of riding you do will influence the kind of lighting you get. Brightness is one of those factors that will be crucial to consider.

Brightness is measured in units called “lumens.” While traditional incandescent bulbs typically use watts to measure brightness, LED lights use lumens because those lights have a much wider range of colors, so measuring intensity of light rather than wattage gives a more accurate indication of brightness.

The more lumens, the brighter the lights. Typically you’ll find LED light bars for powersport vehicles that come in anywhere from 1000 to 3000 lumens. Consider how you’re using your vehicle when deciding how much brightness you need out of your lights.

Brand

As with any part, it’s always in your best interest to go with a brand you can trust. There are a whole lot of brands out there selling ATV or snowmobile products, and sticking with the trusted brands will prevent you from receiving a cheap, low-quality product.

These trusted brands are also more likely to offer high-quality warranties. The kind of warranties you get from a manufacturer will say a lot about that manufacturer’s confidence in their product’s quality and longevity.

Budget

Finally, make sure you have at least a rough budget estimate for how much you’re willing and able to spend on lighting. While it’s going to be tempting to blow all your cash on a crazy, over-the-top lighting set that flashes different colors and produces thousands of lumens, that might not exactly align with your budgetary constraints.

And as always, keep in mind that the lowest price is not necessarily the best deal.