LED DRLs or Daytime Running Lights - Feature Explained

In this Feature Explained article, we’ll present the most detailed analysis of your car's LED daytime running lights, or DRL, feature. We’ll list out the pros and cons of LED DRLs, explain how they work, and provide the typical cost of getting LED DRLs from the aftermarket, and its repair and replacement costs. Based on this analysis, we’ll suggest if you should add this feature to your car or skip it.

Daytime Running Lights

What Are The Pros And Cons Of LED DRLs?

The pros, or advantages, of LED DRLs in a car, are:

  • Enhanced daytime visibility: DRLs make your car more conspicuous to other drivers, especially when approaching intersections or changing lanes. This increased visibility can help prevent accidents caused by unnoticed vehicles.
  • Improved aesthetics: DRLs add a modern and stylish touch to your car's exterior, enhancing its overall visual appeal.
  • Energy efficiency: Compared to traditional headlights, LED DRLs consume less power, offering better fuel efficiency.

LED DRLs, or daytime running lights, have the following disadvantages or issues:

  • Battery drain: While LED DRLs are generally energy-efficient compared to traditional headlights, they still consume power. If left on for extended periods with the engine off, they can drain the battery.
  • Replacement costs: While LED DRLs are known for their durability, replacing them can be expensive, especially if opting for genuine OEM replacements.
  • Limited functionality: DRLs primarily serve the purpose of enhancing daytime visibility. They don't illuminate the road at night like headlights and cannot be used as substitutes for headlights or fog lights.

Also Read: Height-Adjustable Driver Seat - Detailed Feature Explained

What Are LED DRLs?

In the world of car safety features, LED daytime running lights (DRLs) have become increasingly popular. These lights, brighter than parking lights, are designed to stay on during the day, making your car more noticeable to other drivers on the road. While not mandatory by law, DRLs can significantly improve your car's visibility, potentially reducing the risk of accidents, especially during low-light conditions like dawn, dusk, or foggy weather.

In India, there are 2 distinct types of DRLs in cars today. Take the Tata Harrier for example. While the base variants of the Tata Harrier come with halogen-powered DRLs, the mid- and top-spec variants get LED illumination for the DRLs.


How Do LED DRLs Work?

LED daytime running lights, or LED DRLs remain on during the day as well as night. To make the car more visible to the traffic in front of you, the DRLs are brighter during the day time and turn dimmer at night when you turn on the headlamps.

Adding LED DRLs To Your Car

While many mass-market cars come equipped with LED DRLs, at least in their higher variants, older car models might not have them. If you're considering adding DRLs to your car, two options are available:

  • OEM replacements: You can purchase genuine LED DRL replacements specifically designed for your car model. These typically offer a seamless fit and function but can be more expensive.
  • Aftermarket DRLs: A wider variety of aftermarket DRL options are available, offering various styles and price points. However, it's crucial to choose high-quality DRLs and ensure professional installation to avoid electrical issues or malfunctioning.

How Expensive Is It To Repair Or Replace LED DRLs?

The cost of repairing or replacing the LED DRLs in your car depends on how it is assembled. If the LED DRLs are not integrated within the headlamp assembly, like in the case of the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, replacing them could cost Rs. 10,000 or more for a pair. However, if the LED DRL is integrated into the headlamp assembly, like in the case of the 3rd-gen Maruti Suzuki Swift, you might have to replace the entire assembly in case of a malfunction. Replacing the headlamp assembly on a Maruti Suzuki Swift or Dzire will cost you Rs. 20,000 or more, including the cost of labour. Hence, we see many car owners installing aftermarket LED DRLs as they function pretty much in the same way as OEM LED DRLs but cost significantly less.

What Is The Cost Of Aftermarket LED DRLs?

If you just need a pair of LED DRLs to make your car more visible on the road and are not bothered about improving the overall aesthetics of your vehicle, you could get LED DRL strips from brands such as Philips, Hella or Osram. A set of Philips Daylight 4 costs Rs. 6,500. However, there are much cheaper LED DRLs from the aftermarket from unknown brands for most mass-market cars sold here. A quick search online suggests that aftermarket LED DRLs mounted on the fog lamp housing for the 2nd-gen Swift costs just over Rs. 2,000 for a pair. Aftermarket LED DRLs for the current Hyundai Creta cost about Rs. 5,000 for a pair.

How Easy Or Complex Is It To Install LED DRLs?

Installing LED DRLs is a very fairly easy process. However, unless you are very proficient at electronics, we would not advise you to carry this work by yourself. Poorly connected LED DRLs could cause a blown fuse or even worse, fire. Once you’ve acquired the LED DRL you wish to connect to your car, take it to a trustworthy mechanic and let them take care of the installation for you.

What Cars Get LED DRLs?

In India, almost all cars currently on sale come with LED DRLs at least in their top variants. LED DRLs are even available as accessory with cars like the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso.

Verdict - Should I Get Aftermarket LED DRLs?

If the purpose of fixing aftermarket LED DRLs is to improve your car’s visibility on the road, then you can go ahead with the purchase. Studies in the US have shown that LED DRLs reduce the chance of road crashes by 3%. So, in a country with one of the highest road fatalities, even a set of affordable aftermarket LED DRLs can go a long way to ensure your safety on the road. However, please make sure that the aftermarket LED DRLs comply with all safety norms in the country and get them installed by a professional to avoid any mishaps or electrical malfunction.

In conclusion, LED DRLs offer a valuable combination of safety, style, and energy efficiency. By understanding their benefits, functionality, and installation options, you can make an informed decision about incorporating them into your car and enhancing your driving experience.

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Nikil Jonathan

Nikil's a huge fan of classic cars, especially Italian beauties such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint and the Iso Grifo. His love for cars and bikes originated when he first laid his eyes on a poster of the Ferrari F40 and the MV Agusta F4 when he was just a child. He also loves all things analogue, especially vintage cameras and turntables.


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