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About Daytime Running Lights

Daytime running lights are a relatively new feature in cars, only made possible by the inception of low power lights. But if you were under the impression that these were just another gimmick feature or a mere design element, you are mistaken.

Lights on the cars to use during daytime isn’t a completely new invention though. It was 1970 when daytime running lamps were first featured in higher-end luxury cars. But this wasn’t very popular at the time. One of the reasons was, these old bulbs increased the fuel consumption by a significant degree. Also, nobody wanted more items to add to their car maintenance checklist. These days, DRLs are one of the legally mandated safety features in many countries. This guide will give you a basic understanding of the daytime running lights and will help you make an informed purchase decision.

Different types of daytime running lights

You might ask, how do DRLs help to increase safety? Aren’t cars already visible in broad daylight? This is, in fact, a valid question. One that the critics of DRLs have been asking for years. But even though this question is valid for bright day time, DRLs are actually useful during overcast weather and at twilight, when it isn’t dark enough to turn on the headlight, but the visibility is comparatively low. Some countries in the European Union even require the motorists to turn on the sidelights if their vehicle does not have dedicated DRLs. Here are the important things you should know before you go about buying a pair of aftermarket daytime running lamps for your vehicle.

Daytime running lights vs headlights

So, what are the major differences between DRLs and headlights? There are quite a few to list. Firstly, daytime running lights turn on automatically when you turn on the engine. They also turn off when you turn off the engine or turn on the headlamps. DRLs shouldn’t be too bright either. But they should be bright enough to be noticeable during the daytime. On the other hand, headlamps do not turn on by themselves, unless your car has the feature to detect when it is dark outside and turn the headlights on by itself. Headlights are also bright enough to illuminate the road ahead for the driver to see.

Features of daytime running lights

DRLs come with several features to increase the safety for both motorists and pedestrians. One of them is that DRLs are less bright than the headlamps to avoiding dazzling the drivers of the oncoming cars. The fact that they are bright enough to be seen during the daytime makes them too bright to use at night. So, by design, they turn off when you turn on your headlamps. Statistics show that Daytime Running Lights have effectively reduced accidents and traffic fatalities by six per cent. Even though it increases the fuel consumption by a fraction, that is a small price worth paying.

Daytime running lights kit

Most of the old cars, especially the lower end ones, do not come with factory-installed daytime running lamps. But you can still install them using an aftermarket DRL kit. You can also replace the DRLs if they are blown out. There are a few different types of daytime running lights you can install in your car. There are lights that you can install inside the headlamp assembly, on the bumper or on the car body itself. If your car already has a DRL, you can buy an OEM replacement instead of going for the custom ones. The custom ones draw power from the spare electrical sockets, and you can fit them wherever you want within the limits of the laws.

DRL LED strip

There is no doubt that LEDs are the best lights to use in daytime lamps. There are many benefits to using LEDs for DRLs. Before LEDs became popular, low power halogen bulbs were used for the DRLs. After the European Union mandated daytime lamps, they really took off in other parts of the world as well. The disadvantages of halogen lamps were that they increased fuel consumption by around 0.5 %. They also have a relatively short lifespan. LEDs solve both of these problems. A typical LED DRL uses only 5-10 watts of power and has an average lifespan of 50,000 hours.

Tips on buying Daytime Running Lights

If you do not have daytime lamps on your vehicle, it’s always a good idea to install a set. This will give it a more modern look, and you can also use these lights to customise the car. You might also want to buy a new set if those already in your car are broken. Following these tips will help you buy the right type of daytime lights for your car in any case.

  • Type of the bulb – DRLs are available with halogen bulbs and LED bulbs. Halogen bulbs are basically a refined form of tungsten bulbs and are cheaper. But they consume more fuel than an LED bulb. But you will also have to consider the extended lifespan of the LED bulbs and the reduction in fuel consumption when you make the purchase.
  • Check the brightness of the lights – It is imperative to ensure that the daytime running lamps are not too bright to avoid dazzling other motorists. But they should also have a minimum brightness level to be visible at a distance at the same time. Otherwise, there is no point in installing one in the first place.
  • Placement of the lights – When you are purchasing aftermarket lights, you should also consider how you will be installing the lights. If the car does not already have DRLs, it will be difficult to install them inside the headlamp assembly. In that case, you can buy one that you can fit outside the headlamp.
  • Automatic vs manual controls – When DRLs come pre-installed in cars, they are designed to work automatically without you thinking about it. But when you are installing aftermarket daytime lights, you will come across DRL kits that work manually as well. In this case, there will be a separate switch control the DRL, and you should remember to turn it on when you start the car and turn them off at night.

There is no legal requirement to retrofit daytime lights to old cars in any legislation. However, there is no harm if you choose to do it. But make sure that you follow the guidelines for adding new lights on vehicles. And above all, make sure to use them correctly according to the law and avoid traffic fines. Finally, don’t forget to check out all the other amazing products from the car supplies category.

Question & Answer

Are daytime running lights mandatory?

Rules regarding the daytime running lights vary depending on the country you are in. For example, the European Union and the United Kingdom mandated the use of DRLs back in 2008. They cited the reduction in accidents to back this up. But not all countries have mandated the DRLs. For example, the US. But there is no law against having DRLs running on your car. Despite that, all new middle range and luxury cars have DRLs as a default option because a well-designed DRL can contribute to improving the appearance of the car.

How do daytime running lights work?

In cars that have dedicated daytime running lights, you do not have to turn this on every time. They are hardwired to turn on whenever you start the engine and turn off when the engine stops running. Because they are too bright and distracting to use at night, as soon as you turn on the headlamps, the DRLs turn off. But in countries where DRLs are a legal requirement, you should use the vehicle’s headlights as daytime lights if there are no dedicated daytime lamps in your car. This is a bit costly affair as it consumes more fuel.

When to use daytime running lights?

Even though this is a non-issue if you are using a stock DRL that is factory fitted, knowing when to use them is really important if it is an aftermarket DRL. Never should you ever turn them on after sunset. This is because those lights are simply too bright for nighttime use. Another mistake is forgetting to turn them on when you start your car. Contrarily, those with a stock DRL often forget to turn on their headlamps when driving at night because when they see the light from the DRL, they think that the headlamps are already on.

There is no better way to shop for car lights than to look online. That way, you will come across affordable daytime running lights on sale and save a lot of money. You can find cheap daytime running lights online with a simple search and avoid the hassle of going down to a physical store. Access a wide selection of car lights using the largest product search engine in the UAE. Explore more than 500+ shops offering all types of them here on Shops.ae including brands like Philips, Hella, Audi, Ford, Toyota, Honda, and Renault.