If you own a JK you have probably figured out that the headlights are, to put it nicely, subpar. Lighted candles with mirrors might be more effective than the stock headlights Jeep put on the newest version of the Wrangler. But do not fret, there are options to fix the issue so you can actually see in the dark.
First and foremost you must understand that the wiring harness and computer system that runs the headlights and fog lights from the factory runs off of a pulsating system. This is not your mom and pops Jeep from 2000 where the wiring for headlights was connected to the fuse box and powered by the battery. Since 2007 the Wrangler headlights are now wired into the computer system and run off of milliamps controlled by the computer. There is still a fuse in the fuse box labeled “headlights” and the fuse box still controls the amps sent through the electrical system to the computer for each component, but the computer is now in charge of dispensing power to all things powered within the Jeep.
Second, determine what your budget is for a headlight upgrade. There is everything available from cheap to expensive and everything in between, but keep in mind that doing a headlight conversion on the cheap you get what you pay for.
Third, on any upgrade for your JK headlights, do not just plug in new bulbs to your existing housing and call it good. Or if you do, please carry at a minimum five 10lb fire extinguishers with you at all times so you can put out the inferno when it starts. And it is not if it starts, it is when it starts.
Now, let’s talk light upgrades for JKs:
There are three main light upgrades that are the three major players in the market. That’s not to say there are other upgrades available, but we know that these three upgrades will not turn your JK into a car flambé.
The first upgrade we want to discuss is from our friends over the pond at IPF. IPF has been making quality lighting upgrades for YJ, TJ and JK for many years. The housing can withstand the heat of an upgraded H4 bulb and comes standard with a glass lens etched with refractors to throw a beam wide and at length down a road. The H4 xenon bulb is 155w on low beam and 195w on high beam. The bulb is rated at 3200K which creates a warm white light. This is a simple swap directly into your headlight buckets. Housings plus an H4 bulb and wiring harnesses will run you right around $200 on average. If the pulsating power lead starts to visibly affect the light it is possible to rewire the lights through a Susquehanna Motorsports wiring harness to fix the issue.
A second upgrade is from DELTA, who has been a major manufacturer in the aftermarket lighting industry since 1978. They offer housing upgrades, H4 xenon bulbs and wiring harness that can be found for around $130 on average. The color of this light is a warm white. This is also a simple swap directly into your headlight buckets.
The third option that blows every other option out of the water, is the LED upgrade offered from JW Speaker. LED lighting draws low watts from the vehicle, so the pulsating power lead will not affect the lighting output. These are high end LED lights, die cast aluminum housing, and polycarbonate clear lens. High beam effective lumens is 760 lumens, low beam is 650 lumens. The color of this beam is bright white. Cost of these lights with wiring harness averages around $720 for the pair, but keep in mind the LED bulb will outlast an H4 bulb under general use. This is a direct plug and play unit with built in pulse modulation devices
As stated previously, there are other upgrades available to improve the headlight lighting on your JK, but buyer beware of what you are putting on your $30,000+ vehicle.