2012 Jeep Wrangler Long Term Road Test


2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport: Headlight Help

January 20, 2012

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Our 2012 Jeep Wrangler's low-beam headlights were never very good to begin with. Folks around the office have compared them to lanterns on more than one occasion.

But its more than just their general dimness. The light seems to pour out of a slot, as if our Jeep was fitted with World War II blackout covers, the kind that used to be mandatory to lessen the chance of being seen by the enemy flying overhead.

Any shot of the front end will show that our Jeep has driving lights in its front bumper, but those don't ever do very much, right? Might as well try them.

Now, if I can only find that switch. It's dark in here, and the location of switch isn't obvious. There's certainly nothing backlighted to find.

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This all happened while Mike and I were coming down from Santiago Peak in the pitch dark last weekend. With no owner's manual in the glovebox to consult, I pulled over and hunted around with a flashlight until I found the switch. As you can see it was staring me in the face the whole time -- sort of.

Oh sure, it's easy to see when the headlights are off, but that's not when I needed to find it. Once the headlights were on the icon I was seeking had rolled up to the top where it wasn't that visible -- especially inside a dark cabin on a very dark trail.

But that only applied this first time. Now that I know it, I know it.

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What a difference! The total amount of light jjust about doubled, with all of it illuminating the dark spot where the rocks, water bars and the edge of the road were hiding. The near distance was now fully illuminated. 

That thin line that separates the two only appears close to the vehicle; the height difference between the upper and lower beams quickly resolves itself as the beams converge. Still, a small adjustment wouldn't hurt. 

Because none of the new light goes up, oncoming drivers on the road are not getting blasted with any more light. Anyone who flashes their brights to complain is simply counting lights and coming up with a result greater than two.

But this one-two combination still doesn't add up to awesome on the street. As for the high beams, they're junk. The driving lights wink out when they come on and the weak slot of yellow light simply moves up higher. Josh's Camry high-beam photo is ten times more impressive. (OK, maybe three times.)

An upgrade is still in the cards, but until then I'll be using the driving lights all the time. 

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Jeep Wrangler in VA is:

$139 per month*
* Explanation
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