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What Are the Different Types of ATV Headlights?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2016
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An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) headlight is a feature that allows an operator to use the machine after sundown. There are typically two types of ATV headlights available for choosing: the sealed beam headlight and the projector beam headlight. While the sealed beam type of ATV headlight is commonly offered as a factory original light, the projector beam is usually much brighter and offers a greater area of coverage than the sealed beam light. Some light emitting diode (LED) ATV headlights are also used due, in part, to the reduced space a LED light requires.

Upgrading ATV headlights is one of the better methods of increasing the vehicle's nighttime performance capabilities. While the original equipment headlights typically provide the minimum in lighting capability, adding improved ATV headlights is usually a simple bolt-on application that can be accomplished by a novice in a minimum amount of time. While adding improved lighting to the ATV can be beneficial, adding too many lights can require additional upgrades to the machine. In some cases, the battery and the charging system must be upgraded to meet the additional electrical draw created by the new ATV headlights.

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Some manufacturers of aftermarket ATV headlights offer the lights in a kit form that also includes upgraded charging system components. These kits commonly include both the headlights and charging system components, as well as replacement wiring harness to support the increased voltage draw of the new lights. Installing the lights without improving the wiring could result in an electrical short or even a fire. The replacement wiring harness is usually a snap-in fit, with the old harness coming out by releasing a few snap connectors and the new and improved harness snapping into the connectors in its place.

A byproduct of many light upgrades is heat. The headlights are commonly capable of producing enough heat to damage the plastic body panels used on most ATVs. Many manufacturers include templates to allow the user to clear the headlight openings to avoid such a problem when installing upgraded lights. Other manufacturers include mounting brackets that are used to mount the upgraded lights onto the steel rack systems common on the front of most ATVs. When mounted on the luggage rack, the lights can be larger than the body mount will allow, thus giving a greater beam of light as well as remaining in the open to control the heat output.

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