Toyota Nation Forum banner

1 - 1 of 1 Posts

9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Be in the know…

Have you ever wondered “How do I know which light is best for my vehicle?” That’s a great question, and we are here to help! Since the light patterns are unique and all our automotive needs are so diverse, this Be In The Know is here to explain and illustrate the differences found in automotive light beam patterns. Tom Silverblatt - Owner


When describing automotive light beam patterns, all are designed to project light in different patterns for different functions. Factors like the shape and output of light beam patterns are established through distinct designs and unique placement of the reflectors, projectors and lenses. For example, one design uses a precise pattern on the reflector to direct the desired light pattern behind the light bulb, whereas another design places the precise pattern on the lens of the light housing. A third method of directing the light to the desired pattern is with a projector lens in front of the light bulb. Now let’s take a closer look! Automotive light beam patterns include:


This lighting pattern is designed to project light in front of the vehicle and a range of 25º to the side from the center point of the vehicle. The purpose of this pattern is to increase the light exposure farther down the road. Because of its brightness, this light also aids the low beams to light up any upcoming hazards and reflective street signs. However, these MUST be turned off during traffic as they could temporarily “blind” or disorient other drivers.


As described by the name, the Pencil Beam pattern is a very tight (narrow) projection of light in front of the vehicle with a beam of 10º to the side from the center of the vehicle for maximum range and brightness. These are used on long straight desert roads to light up hazards and signs for a very long distance. These MUST be turned off when there is oncoming traffic because they are very bright and aim straight out and not down.


Fog light patterns are designed to work with your low beams to light up the area just in front and to the sides of the vehicle. This is to improve visibility in fog, rain and snow. To prevent any light reflecting back to the driver from any of these elements, the light pattern must remain in the lower half of the lamp. The beam pattern should be 100º or more from the center for side lighting - In a perfect world that would be of 180º from center.

This beam pattern is intended primarily for distance illumination and for use when not meeting or closely following other vehicles. High beam headlamps allow center-weighted light distribution without any control over light directed toward any other highway users. They are only suitable for use when no preceding or oncoming vehicles are present.

Lower beam patterns are intended to lighten the road and the areas ahead of the vehicle when meeting or closely following another vehicle. They must project an uneven pattern with a sharp asymmetric cutoff to create a defined separation at the top of the pattern that provides adequate forward and lateral brightness but controls glare by limiting light directed towards preceding or oncoming drivers.

1 - 1 of 1 Posts