Fog lights are auxiliary headlights designed to enhance visibility and make your car more visible during foggy conditions. Located at the front and rear of the vehicle and mounted lower than standard headlights (some vehicles even have them mounted in the grille), they illuminate a wide and short area of light directly in front of your car, helping drivers see better under demanding driving conditions.
Why do you need fog lights?
Fog lights are crucial pieces of equipment when driving in foggy conditions. Unlike headlights, which bounce their light off the fog and back into your eyes, fog lights beam directly down the road. This prevents glare from obscuring your vision and allows you to see what lies ahead. Fog lights also help other drivers see you in poor weather conditions—so it’s a good idea to have them on hand if you’re someone who does most of their driving during rough weather or at night.
Different countries have different rules regarding the use of fog lights—in some places, they are required, while in others, they are forbidden by law in certain circumstances—so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with these laws before setting out on a trip or moving permanently to another country.
Now that we know what a fog light is, how do you choose between aftermarket and OEM?
Aftermarket fog lights
Aftermarket fog lights can be used in a variety of ways. For example, off-road enthusiasts often choose to use aftermarket fog lights that are specifically designed for off-roading. Since the environment at night is even harsher with limited visibility, you need a pair of fog lights that can cut through the thickest fog or dust without fail. These characteristics make aftermarket fog lights perfect for such extreme conditions.
On the other hand, some people don’t actually need a powerful light as an off-road vehicle but just want something brighter than their current OEM lamps. After all, most OEM fog lights are nothing more than dim bulbs set in plastic housings with no means of adjustment—which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence when you’re driving down a dark mountain road and can barely see 5 feet in front of your vehicle. If this sounds familiar to you, then an aftermarket set may be a good choice for your application!
Top 5 advantages of aftermarket fog lights
- LED fog lights are brighter than halogen ones, and they’re getting cheaper all the time.
A good pair of LED fog lights will be more expensive than a pair of OEM fog lights—that much is true. However, these days, you can get an excellent set of aftermarket LED fog lights for a price that’s hardly more than the cost of halogen bulbs from the manufacturer. Plus, if nothing else, installing an aftermarket set means that you won’t have to worry about replacing blown OEM bulbs any time soon!
- LED off-road fog lights have a longer lifespan.
Let’s face it: we’ve all been around long enough to know that stuff breaks, especially when it comes to your car and its parts… not to mention the fact that most things nowadays seem like they aren’t built as well as they should be! But guess what? Aftermarket lighting products aren’t usually like this (at least not in our experience!). When it comes to aftermarket off-road light bars or fog lamps themselves—they’re designed better, they last longer, and they’re far less likely to fail on you when you need them most!
- LED off-road driving lights are more environmentally friendly.
OEM fog lights
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) fog lights are made by the same manufacturer that built your car, so they’re designed to fit your specific make and model—unlike aftermarket lights, which can be hit or miss. Unfortunately, this makes OEM lights more expensive than other options: they’re original parts from the manufacturer, not third-party reproductions. The upside is that you know exactly what you’re getting because it’s “original equipment.” You may even be able to find a set of used OEM lights online if you don’t mind the inevitable scuffs and scratches that come with being “pre-loved.”
The Advantages Of OEM fog lights
Although OEM manufacturers, at least theoretically, ensure certain compliance to best practices and standards, that doesn’t mean that every product is perfect. However, it does mean that when it comes to fog lights, OEMs know what they’re doing because they make products specifically tailored to your vehicle’s year/make/model. They also use premium quality materials in their manufacturing process, which means that the chances of something breaking down quickly aren’t as high as they would be for an aftermarket product.
Many OEM manufacturers also include installation instructions that any shade tree mechanic could follow—and in some cases, even offer pre-packaged hardware, so you don’t have to go hunting around in your local auto parts store or online (though if you do plan on installing yourself, please make sure to read and follow all safety precautions!).
Because OEM products are made specifically for your car model in mind—not just based on generalizations about a particular brand or type of vehicle—you can rest assured knowing that it will fit exactly right the first time around (yay!) and won’t need any special adapters installed at an extra cost just so it works properly before being put into service (nay!). It may seem like a small thing, but there’s something satisfying about getting exactly what was promised without hassle or adaptation needed; plus, there are no surprises later on down the road when things don’t work out as well as originally anticipated (which is always nice!).
Do I need to buy OEM fog lights? (vs. aftermarket foggies)
Sure, you could spend several hundred dollars on a new OEM fog light—but they’re usually not worth it. You can get a really good aftermarket fog light for a fraction of the price, and often times they’re better than their original equipment counterparts.
They’re also almost always cheaper since there’s less R&D involved, and you don’t have to pay for all the marketing costs (it’s just not as fun to say “OEM!” as it is to say “aftermarket!”). Oh yeah, and if you want an exact replacement for your particular make and model? Easy peasy. Just search online or go by your local auto parts store—they’ll almost certainly have something that works great for you.
Our Favorite Pick for Aftermarket Fog Lights: KC Lights
If you’re headed out for an evening drive and want to ensure that the roads are correctly illuminated, KC is here to light up the path towards your new adventure.
“Committed to customer satisfaction since 2004, KC has been manufacturing automotive fog lights and driving accessories. Being a family-run brand at heart, our success has been carried out by our commitment to crafting and providing premium products that enhance both performance and safety during unpredictable driving conditions.
Our top-tier product comes from the company’s ISO certification program, which means that each component is tested to meet specific technical requirements for an accurate output. Over and above that, our lights are manufactured with high-quality materials specially designed to give you the most intense beams on the road, even during cold, frosty, or rainy weather conditions.
KC is one of the reputable brands when it comes to aftermarket driving lights, and you can rest assured that your purchase will perform as advertised as long as you choose carefully between our products. Keep Calm & Adventure Further – safety is included with KC.”
Your car, your budget, your fog lights
You could say there are three main factors to consider when deciding between OEM and aftermarket fog lights: what you want to achieve, your budget, and your car.
If you’re looking for a simple switch on a low budget, go with aftermarket fog lights. Aftermarket carries the widest variety of options available, so it’s easy to find something that will suit the look of your vehicle at a reasonable price. You won’t need to know anything about the make of your vehicle or any other technical details because these products can be installed and removed without any extras (except for maybe some wiring).
But if you’re looking for something more high-tech that drastically improves driving conditions in severe weather (or makes an impression on fellow drivers), OEM fog lights are the way to go. While more expensive and harder to find, OEM is worth investing in if you want assurance that it will have been tested for safety (not just for looks) and know that the specs match up with your vehicle’s.
All in all, both options operate on the same principles and have the same goals: reducing the amount of glare produced by light reflecting off moisture or snowflakes in the air while reducing blind spots and improving driving conditions. The choice is yours.