Yellow vs White fog lights for your 5th Gen 4Runner – What Should You Install?
UPDATE/DISCLAIMER (FROM DD):
While the installation can be tight, our SLF Fog Lights do fit the 5th Gen T4R (the SLF design is unchanged since it’s release). The SL1 low beams, however, may be an issue. Unfortunately, it was discovered that a recent design update causes fitment problems with the 2014+ low beam socket. Again, I sincerely apologize for any issues this may have caused you and your readers. We removed the SL1 low beam listing from our website several months ago, and are actively working on a solution.
There is a lot of discussion on yellow and amber lighting.
Why install it, what is it used for, does it actually work, etc. The big question for me was what type of fog lighting will give me the optimal setup.
I started off with the stock halogen bulbs that came factory on the 4Runner, but I quickly wanted to upgrade to LEDs due to the brighter light output (more lumens), lower energy draw and lower energy draw.
To start off with, I installed some Philips LED fog lights on my 4Runner.
They were a big upgrade over the factory fog lights as they consumed far less energy, had a greater lumen output and were a nice white color. They worked great for me, but I was very interested in how yellow and amber lighting can be utilized.
The purpose of this article is to first explain the following:
- What are fog lights for?
- How should fog lights be used?
- What type of bulb color you should install?
What Are Fog Lights For?
This might sound self-explanatory, and it is, but amazingly fog lights get utilized for much more than fog.
Fog typically resides a few feet off of the ground, so lighting that is located low on your vehicle, such as fog lights, help to shine a light on the road below the fog without having to shine light through the fog…at least not much.
You see, shining light on particles in the air, such as fog, tends to do more harm than good. Light is reflected, especially white (6000k) light.
The tiny water molecules in the air from fog can really scatter light and provide inadequate lighting for low visibility fog.
By having fog lights near the ground, it minimizes the amount of light that has to travel through the fog. This is why fog lights are located low on a vehicle and typically have a flat lighting profile.
When fog is present, the fog lights shine on the road you are driving on to help you stay on course.
It is a pretty simple concept, but it is important to understand why fog lights are located low and why they have a flat lighting profile.
When Should You Use Fog Lights?
The simple answer is only when there is fog outside – or rain, dust, snow, etc.
I can’t tell you how many people I see driving around with their fog lights on all the time, even when visibility is as good as can be. Driving around with your fog lights on actually hurts your vision down the road instead of helping it.
What?? It is true though.
I will admit that I used to drive around with fog lights on all the time, I thought it provided much better lighting, even when there wasn’t anything in the air.
Although I did have more lighting output, driving around with my fog lights on all the time actually hurt my vision down the road. In fact, when driving at highway speeds, having your fog lights on takes away how far you can see down the road.
Why is this?
Due to the large concentration of bright light right in front of your car, the pupil in your eye contracts when you turn on your fog lights.
In consideration of this, the light that is shining down the road further from your low beams isn’t as easy to see and your eyes want to focus on the brighter light right in front of you.
This is why you should use your low beams and high beams when driving at substantial “highway” speeds. You need to see further down the road since your car is traveling fast.
At lower speeds, it may be beneficial to use your fog lights, but really low beams still can be the better option for seeing down the road.
Here are my suggestions of when you should drive with your fog lights on:
- When particles are in the air: fog, dust, snow, rain, etc.
- In downtown areas with lots of pedestrians.
- You will be driving at a slow speed and the extra light can help pedestrians see you.
- When driving off-road at low speed
Does Yellow Light Cut Through Fog?
I will focus on LED fog light bulbs and simplify the options to two colors – yellow and white.
What color should you use? Is one better than the other?
I’ve read lots of different articles and researched the use of yellow fog lights extensively.
After completing my research, I really only found one concluding point – yellow light is less reflective than white light and easier on the human eye to process.
What does this mean?
Well, all these ideas about yellow light cutting through fog aren’t really true. What is really happening is the yellow light is reflecting less light back into our eyes and the yellow light is also easier to process in comparison to white light.
This is my number one reason why you should consider yellow fog lights – they are easier on our eyes and allow us to see better when particles are in the air.
However, when particles are not in the air white light is better. In consideration of this, white (6000k) low beams are best, but yellow (3000k) fog lights can be beneficial.
Yellow fog lights also provide a bit of style in my opinion.
Some people may like the look, others not so much. I do think it is important to realize that the yellow fog lights do add a unique look that you won’t find many cars utilizing.
You may like this look and you may not, it really is your personal taste.
There are many different ways to get yellow fog lights.
One is to simply install a filter. Although this will work…to an extent, I don’t recommend installing filters.
Why? Filters will cut your lighting output no matter how good they are.
It may only be 10-15%, but this is substantial. Why would you want to decrease your lighting output anyways? For this reason, I recommend installing new lights or bulbs instead of using a filter.
True Yellow LED Bulbs vs. White LED Bulbs with a Filter
Something that is very important to consider is the type of LED bulb you purchase if you decide to go with yellow fog lights. There are some companies that offer yellow fog lights, but they are really nothing more than a white LED bulb with a filter over the diodes.
Once again, this cuts out the light output of the bulb, but it also produces a greenish fog light look instead of yellow. The reason is that a lot of LED fog light bulbs have just a little bit of a blue hue to them.
When you combine this small amount of blue light with a yellow filter you ultimately get a greenish light output. There are better options out on the market though that produce a pure yellow output.
Diode Dynamics SLF Fog Light Bulbs
Diode Dynamics makes a lot of good products for 5th Gen 4Runners. Amongst their product line for 4Runners is LED fog lights.
What sets Diode Dynamics SLF apart from the others?
It is a true yellow (3000k) output, meaning it has no greenish tint to it and there is no filter over the LED diodes, which would ultimately decrease the light output. This LED is similar to that of a Xenon Depot true Yellow LED bulb.
Here are a few specifications of the Diode Dynamics H11 bulbs:
- H11 SLF
- Direct replacement for Toyota 4Runner fog light bulbs
- Optically focused for optimal light output
- 780 lumens per bulb
- Durable zinc alloy heatsink
- The lights pictured here: Check Today’s Price
I previously installed Phillips LED fog lights on my 4Runner and they were great…however, these Diode Dynamics SLF fog light bulbs are amazing! The way the light is focused on is better, the yellow light works great, and it is always nice supporting a product that is made in the USA!
As far as the actual product goes, it is great and high quality like all of the Diode Dynamics products I have used. The real question is should you get these LED lights in yellow or white?
As I previously explained, fog lights have a designated purpose and should really only be used for those reasons, otherwise, you are actually hurting your vision. In consideration of this, it is an easy decision for me to install the Diode Dynamics SLF LED fog lights in yellow as the yellow lighting results in less glare.
I have really noticed a difference in how the yellow light works when driving in dust or rain (I haven’t had a chance to drive in the snow, sleet, etc.). The yellow light produces much less glare and also creates a nice visual aesthetic (in my opinion).
If you are in the market for upgrading your fog lights, these Diode Dynamics SLF Fog Light bulbs in yellow (3000k) are a great option. They are made in the USA, durable and perform great!