All About Truck & Trailer Lights

Why Should I Be Using LEDs On My Truck Or Trailer?

Switching to LEDs over traditional incandescent bulbs provides a number of benefits to your truck and trailer. Everything from reductions in maintainence cost, to improvements in fuel efficiency, and durability.

Technology & Terms


Standardized unit of measurement of the total amount of light that is produced from a light emitting source. The higher the number, the brighter the light.

LED (Light Emmitting Diode)

When electrical current flows through a semiconductor, it excites the electrons within the diode, making them release photons, which we see as light.

IP Rating (Ingress Protection)

Measures how much the total lumens sent into that component come out of it, through the optical surfaces. The higher the rating the greater the amount of light being broadcast. (See Raw vs. Effective Lumens)


Optical Efficiency

Measures how much the total lumens sent into that component come out of it, through the optical surfaces. The higher the rating the greater the amount of light being broadcast. (See Raw vs. Effective Lumens)

LED Watts vs. Power Consumption

Because an LED can be driven at its full capacity doesn't mean there is benefit in doing so. For example, a 3W LED can be driven at 3W, a 5W LED can be driven at 5W, etc. Driving an LED at maximum power generates higher temperature, which decreases lifespan. A balance between LED wattage and the lights; other components, such as the heatsink, allow for maximum operating efficiency and light output, while prolonging life expectancy.

LED Instant-On = Increased Safety 

LEDs offer many advantages over incandescent lamps in terms of safety and economy. A major safety factor is “turn-on” time. An incandescent bulb filament must heat up in order to achieve maximum brightness, which can take 200-300 milliseconds; while an LED achieves full brightness in 100 nanoseconds.
Incandescent bulbs also exhibit an additional disadvantage in that their turn-on times are increased when they are operating at lower voltages due to the voltage drop in the wiring harness. A study by NHTSA of 546 large trucks showed that some trucks have such large voltage drops in the wiring that the voltage across the signal lamp is reduced to the range of 5.5 to 8.8 volts. This may also result in a 5% decrease in light output. By comparison, the turn-on time of LED lamps is relatively insensitive to low voltage.

For the trailing vehicle, the 200 milliseconds faster illumination of LEDs over incandescent bulbs, means a braking distance response increase of an additional 19.1 feet, which is equal to a full car length of extra stopping distance at 65 MPH.

LED Shock Resistance = Durability

Every element of an incandescent bulb is fragile, from the thin glass housing, to the wire filament. Even a small amount of shock or vibration can compromise the filament, and even break the glass, exposing the internal components to environmental conditions, which ultimately leads to failure.

LED’s do not respond to changes in pressure, vibration, shock, or power surges the same way that incandescent bulbs do. LED lamps are filled with an epoxy compound that encapsulates the internal components, keeping them from moving, and provide stability during sudden shock, or impact. The sonically sealed polycarbonate lens and housings protect the LEDs from road and weather conditions, while providing increased impact resistance over glass or acrylics.

Fully Potted Components Provide Ultimate Protection

LED Efficiency = Fuel Savings

Incandescent vehicle lighting, while suitable, is very inefficient. It draws a lot of power from the engines electrical system, requiring the engine to work harder, which increases fuel consumption.

A vehicle equipped with all LED lighting, uses 65% less power than the same vehicle equipped with incandescent bulbs. The lower amp draw not only improves fuel efficiency, but helps to extend the life of the battery and charging system.

It requires 12 LED S/T/T to equal the current draw of 1 incandescent S/T/T

The Real Cost of Replacement 

Lamp Cost (based on avg retail price) $1.50 $24.95 $24.95
Labor (based on $45/hr) $11.25 $11.25 $22.50
Downtime (based on $60/hr) $30.00 $11.25 $45.00
Replacement Cost $42.75 $66.20 $92.45
Life Expectancy (hrs) 1,200 50,000 100,000
Replacement over 100,000 hrs 55x 2x 0x
Final Cost $2,351.25 $132.40 $92.45

Less Maintenance = Big Savings

Faced with rising operating costs and shrinking profit margins, commercial vehicle owners along with fleet managers are looking for ways to reduce expenses. One of the leading problems concerning fleet maintenance are compliance infractions due to lighting. Budgets take a big hit when you add the infraction penalties to downtime losses, maintenance and replacement costs due to the simple failure of an incandescent bulb. The use of LED light technology in commercial vehicles provides fleets with the benefit of an added element of safety, durability, and productivity, plus higher profitability due to decreased downtime caused by lighting failures.
It’s true that LED lights are initially more expensive than their incandescent alternatives, but you have to consider the total cost of ownership. When comparing the life span and maintenance costs, LED lights end up saving money.

Lifetime Warranty

Super Bright LEDs, Inc. warrants that products carrying a Lifetime Warranty will be free from defects in the material and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. If an LED or other internal component fails, return the product to Super Bright LEDs, Inc. for inspection. If, after inspection, Super Bright LEDs verifies that the defect was not caused by negligence, abuse, unauthorized repair or disassembly, we will replace the product with the same product. In the case the exact product is no longer available, a product of equal value may be substituted.