Fog Lights Explained

Reader question:

I’ve seen in a lot of new car reviews the mention of a thing called fog lights. I have a lot of questions about these. Do they actually pierce through the fog? Which is better, yellow or clear? Should you mount them lower on the car?


You seem a little fogged up about the issue.

Lately, there have been a lot of different kinds of headlights coming out, and all seem to have their own function, although it’s often the case that they are there just for looks and to annoy other drivers (or at least that’s how I feel). In this rush of new headlight technology, it’s easy to get lost in what exactly a different type does, even when it has a simple, explanatory name like fog lights do. I’m glad that you are asking about this particular example of the personalized headlight trend, though, because fog lights, unlike many other types of head lamps, can actually be of use.

Only if they’re used right, though. If you don’t know how to use them, for example, if you shoot the light right at the fog, it will just reflect off of the moisture in the fog and in every direction, which makes seeing even more impossible than it was before. Because of this, if you’re in fog you should leave the high beam button alone.

Fog lights are generally positioned on the level of the bumper or lower than that, and the light is restricted at the top so that it doesn’t reach out very high and is more likely to cut through the fog. Fog doesn’t usually stay close to the ground, but about twelve to eighteen inches off of it, so lower placed fog lights cut through it at its source.

You also wondered if you should get your fog lights yellow or clear. This is also a great question. You’re just full of them today, aren’t you? Some people say that yellow light supposedly isn’t going to be reflected by the fog as much because it has a wavelength that’s a little more lengthy than white light, but this is a joke. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. The truth is, that in order to get yellow light the manufacturer takes a white light and just places a yellow lens on top of it, which means that you are getting less light instead of more.


Fashun Guadarrama.

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."