Your Guide to Choosing the Right Light Bar for Your Car

You’ve likely heard of lightbars if you’re in the market for them. But what exactly is a light bar? And how do they work?

A light bar is simply a long strip of lights that usually mounts on top of your car and shines down onto the road. Lightbars can be used as daytime running lights (DRLs), or they can be used to illuminate your vehicle at night. Lightbars are especially useful if you like to drive during off-peak hours or on smaller roads where visibility may not be optimal. They also come in handy when driving through inclement weather, such as rain and snowfall.

If you are looking to add a light bar to your car, here’s how you can choose the right fit for you.

Look for a Specialized Light Bar for Your Car

The size and quality of light bars are different based on your car’s brand and model—so try to find if there’s a specialized light bar made specifically for your vehicle. Suppose you own a RAM truck, go for a RAM bar. Likewise, if you own a Jeep, it would be best to stick with lightbars designed for a Jeep. Choosing a specialized bar for your car makes mounting it more straightforward. Moreover, these specialized bars are of better quality than other regular ones. You can usually find these online or at local auto parts stores.

Some brands offer packages that include new bulbs and mounting brackets, and wiring harnesses. This is especially helpful if you’re installing them yourself because it means one less thing to buy!

What Type of Light Bar Do You Need?

If you’re going to buy a light bar, you have some decisions to make. The light bar you choose will depend on your needs, whether off-roading in the woods at night or driving around town during the day. Here are the options:

  • High-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs produce an intense white light ideal for illuminating large areas from a distance and are used in high-end cars such as those made by Mercedes and BMW. HIDs also use less energy than halogen bulbs and can last up to three times longer than incandescent ones; however, they require more power than LEDs, so they may not work well with certain types of vehicles (such as older cars).
  • LED lights are among the most efficient forms available today because they don’t require much electricity—about half as much as conventional alternatives like halogen bulbs do! They’re also highly durable since they lack any moving parts inside them (like incandescent or HID headlights).

Have You Checked Your Local Laws?

Before you run out and buy a light bar for your car, you should first check your local laws regarding their legality. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has strict guidelines on how bright lights can be and where they can be mounted. For example, in California, you can have up to five white or amber LEDs on the front bumper of a vehicle—but they must not be brighter than 300 lumens each. If you live in another state that doesn’t have such specific laws regarding light bars or other aftermarket lights, there are still some general rules of thumb that will help keep you safe while driving at night:

  • Ensure that the colors on your light bar match those used by police officers, so they don’t mistake it for an emergency vehicle.
  • Be aware that if the lights aren’t properly aimed through their housing and lens coverings (if applicable), other drivers may think that what appears to them as glare is being emitted from behind them instead of from directly ahead of them like it is!

How Much Power Do You Need From a Light Bar?

When choosing a light bar, you’ll need to ensure it has enough power for your vehicle. The more power a light bar has, the farther away you can see with it. If you’re looking for a bright light that will light up the side of your vehicle and get people’s attention, look for high-powered bars. If you want something cheaper and less powerful that will still offer some visibility on dark roads but isn’t as bright as others, choose a lower-powered one.

However much power your car needs depends on how far away you want to be able to see with the lights on—if it’s just so that other drivers can see what color their license plate is (or whether or not they remembered to turn off their high beams), then any amount of power should be sufficient for your needs. This also means that if you drive in areas with many hills or trees obscuring vision ahead of time, then having more powerful lights may help prevent accidents because someone couldn’t see clearly enough where they were going!

Where Do You Want the Light Bar to Go?

Once you’ve decided on the right light bar, it’s time to put it in. The first thing to consider is where you want it mounted. Mounting a light bar at an angle in your windshield will make it more visible from the outside of the car but can distract other drivers who the lights might blind. On the other hand, mounting a light bar on top of your vehicle could cause problems if someone is driving next to you—they may end up with a face full of UV rays.

Mounting your new light bar just above your license plate is a good option because this placement allows for visibility from outside and inside of your vehicle without causing any unnecessary distractions or discomfort for others on the road.

Some More Tips

When choosing the right light bar for your vehicle, you should keep a few things in mind.

  • Choose a light bar that is compatible with your vehicle. Some light bars will be too heavy for specific cars, so make sure to check the weight of the light bar before purchasing it.
  • Choose a light bar that is easy to install and use. A good indicator of whether or not this will be true for you is whether or not there are instructions included with the purchase (some even come with videos!). If there aren’t any instructions, ask someone who has experience installing them before purchasing!
  • Choose a durable product that won’t break easily after prolonged use over time – especially if it’s going on adventures like off-roading trips where these things happen all too often!


Lightbars come in a plethora of different sizes and configurations, so you will be able to find one for pretty much any vehicle you own. There may not be a single “best” answer, but there are certainly a few considerations that can help narrow down the selection. Whether you choose one with clear or colored LEDs, rest assured that these lights look great when properly mounted and make your car more visible to other motorists on the road.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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