SMART SHOPPING PSA: 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE DROPPING $50 ON THOSE LEDs
So you’ve been looking for a headlight upgrade kit, and now you’ve found one for a great price – it’s not from any brand you recognize, but hey, it’s less than $50! At a glance, it seems not too different from any of the other LED kits you’re scrolling past on your hunt for the best bargain. Are you going to go for it? Well, it’s a free country, it’s your money, and $50 might seem like pocket change to you – but before you dive into the best deal you’ve found this year, let’s take a look at some important things you might want to consider.
How long will this really last?
- People don’t get worked up about lifespan until it suddenly gets cut short. Knowing that brightness and looks are what customers focus on initially, generic manufacturers often dabble in the shady practice of “overclocking” aka pushing the light’s chip set past its sustainable power capacity. If you purchase a product from one of these sellers, you may get the brilliant output you expect initially; however you will experience a quick burnout and sometimes even heat-damaged housing, which can cause thousands of dollars to replace. When a company is relying on a low price point to push out products, you’ll want to take special care to ensure they’re not cutting corners in the design and forcing you to compromise on durability.
Can you depend on the warranty to pull through when you need it?
- Unfortunately, the market for LED upgrades has been overrun by “disappearing” sellers who enter the product space briefly to make as much money as they can and then bounce. Do your research – if the seller has been around for less than, say, 3 years, that may be a red flag. Not only do they probably lack the industry experience necessary to provide quality products or technical assistance, but the absence of any history may also be an indicator that the seller will vanish from the marketplace by the time you try to reach out for support. Lifetime support and warranty doesn’t mean much if the company doesn’t exist anymore.
Are the product reviews legit?
- Businesses these days often rise and fall by the hand of online reviews. With this in mind, sketchy dealers often resort to fast-generated, fake 5-star reviews on Amazon, offering willing participants cash or free products in exchange. So if that product rocking raving reviews despite the pixelated graphics, questionable grammar, and/or haphazardly copy-pasted marketing copy from other brands seems off to you, it probably is. You’ll be in for a disappointment when the product doesn’t quite live up to the compensated reviewers’ claims of quality.
Does the LED headlight kit come with more than just a pair of bulbs?
- If there’s no mention of accessories included, your chances of that LED upgrade going quickly and smoothly aren’t high. A reputed, knowledgeable seller should know that many vehicles require capacitors and TIPM resistors, and you should make sure you’re getting what you need in the box before a pair of useless bulbs shows up at your door.
Does the automotive community show love to this company and its products?
- A quick search on the major social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube – should indicate whether you’re looking at a popular seller. Given the large, passionate automotive community that thrives online, a seller with little to no social media footprint or mentions should strike you as suspicious. Look for regularly generated quality content (quality original photography, re-posts from automotive influencers, creative videos, etc.) with engagement – you’ll be better off trusting your money with guys that have an established positive presence in the community.
Yeah, so $50 isn’t a lot to lose. And we’re not even trying to claim that a $50-or-less lighting kit is necessarily junk (we totally back our budget-friendly FluxBeam CORE kit, which isn’t too far off from that price range). All we’re saying is that you’d probably rather spend $90 on great LED headlights than $50 four times burning through bad ones – agreed? Know your priorities, do your research accordingly, and make the best decision for yourself.
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