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  1. #1
    Jr. Engineer Chevy Girl's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Seattle, WA
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    Default What are the different types of car and truck lights?

    ok, I'm confused. There are so many types of lights, can someone help sort it out?

    Regular headlights from the factory
    HID lights
    xenon lights?
    external lights like Hella and KC lights
    fog lights (including HID as an option)
    LED lights

    Is that it?

    I just was looking for some more and came up with this
    Chevy Trailblazer LS 4x4
    Seattle, WA

  2. #2


    Hello Chevy Girl! All I know some information about types of car lights.

    Here are the type of car lights.

    Head Light - this light is a High and low beam, You can use it in night time driving. You can also use it in bad weather so people can see you coming.

    Clearence lights front, amber, so people can see you when headlights not on Rear tail lights. You can also use it for night driving or in bad weather so people can see you from the rear.

    Turn signals front and rear - so people will know your intentions when turning

    Back up lamps - Used when car/truck is in reverse to show people behind you of your intentions to back up, also at night gives a glow to see when backing side clearence lights, so people can see your car/truck from side.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Chevy Girl View Post
    Can someone help sort it out?
    What exactly are you trying to sort out? Is there specific information you're trying to find?
    00 Chevy Tahoe LT, 5.3 4x4

  4. #4
    Master Mechanic zigger215's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Fairbanks, Alaska


    Xenon and HID are the same technology.

  5. #5
    Jr. Engineer Jamm3r's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Minneapolis area


    Quote Originally Posted by Chevy Girl View Post
    ok, I'm confused. There are so many types of lights, can someone help sort it out?

    Regular headlights from the factory
    On GM trucks, the stock headlights are quite good. Over time the lenses will fog and then you have to replace them with aftermarket copies from Tyc or someplace.

    HID lights
    xenon lights?
    HID and xenon are the same thing, brighter headlights than halogen while still complying with the letter of the DOT restriction on wattage. I don't believe these solve any problem I actually have.

    external lights like Hella and KC lights
    Not legal for street use so these are offroad lamps. Some people put them on just for bling, too.

    The problem with offroading with just headlights isn't one of brightness. It's that the headlights have too narrow of a beam. Offroad lights provide lighting higher, lower, and further to the left and right, so that you can see and avoid obstacles, and navigate a little better. Grill or bumper mounted ones work best because they don't reflect off the hood into your eyes the way cab mounted ones can.

    fog lights (including HID as an option)
    Most people don't understand the real purpose of fog lights.

    So, in thick fog and a light wind, people sometimes drive off the road because they get disoriented by the moving fog, and they start steering relative to the fog not the road. I've seen people do this and have felt the vertigo and the urge to steer off the road myself but, like most experienced drivers, have always been able to focus on the road itself and ignore the mist.

    The purpose of fog lights is to illuminate the road surface without illuminating the fog, so that the road is more visible and more prominent in the field of view, making it easier to stay on the road for experienced and n00b drivers alike.

    As such fog lights have to be mounted low to be effective, and light output doesn't matter too much. I like the stock fog lights on my nbs truck.

    Of course, like any lighting, you can put them on for the bling.

    LED lights
    Use less electricity, usually last longer, and are available in cool colors.
    Minneapolis area - 1997 K2500 regular cab long bed + 8.5' Western Unimount plow + modified transmission + 2nd battery + modified camper charge circuit + 1971 Cayo camper -and- 2004 4x4 Suburban 2500 8.1 + Maxbrake controller + 2nd battery + modified trailer charge circuit + Reese receiver, pulls 30' Airstream trailer

  6. #6


    Adding to what jamm3r said about extra lights, some are street legal and called driving lights, but they must be DOT certified. All they do is add some extra brightness for the heads with a similar light pattern to factory lows.

    Some states have very specific laws about lights. In CT where I live you can have up to 4 pairs of lights on a vehicle including headlights, so you can have a pair of driving, pair of fog, and pair of off road, BUT only one set can be one with the head lights at a time.

    I still have factory headlight and tail light lenses, but I take very good care of them and they were made by Sylvania.

    1996 Chevy Tahoe LT 5.7L V8 4X4 205,000+ miles. Built proudly at Janesville Assembly in Janesville, Wisconsin
    Basic mods: Lights all over, bunch of electrical work, and a couple cooling mods.

    Check out my other mods in My Garage:

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