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Improving Front End Visibility: F-250 Headlights

Why not upgrade the factory headlights of your F-250? You will be going off-road and you will be working late. Often times visibility will be low on account of the weather. Let’s not forget the effect of tired eyes in low light conditions. Yes, you will be adding cube lights and light bars to the rig but you can’t run these all of the time and even when you are, additional light from the headlights will only help you see better. Headlights do aid with visibility but are also a great way to personalize your F-250. So we ask again, why not upgrade the headlights on your truck?


Table of Contents
  1. Stock F-250 Bulbs
  2. What Types of Upgrades are Available?
  3. Improved Halogens
  4. LEDs
  5. Projector
  6. HID
  7. Which Type to Use for Off-Road, On-Road, Camping, etc.
  8. How to Aim the Lights
  9. Proper Practices for Lifted Trucks
Shop F250 Headlights

Most folks will routinely find themselves at a job site after dark, especially in the winter months. Relying on the stock headlights will only get you so far. Rather than guessing what's beyond your light line, upgrade your headlights so you have plenty of time to react to unexpected obstacles.

F250 Headlights

Stock F-250 Bulbs

Before you decide on buying new headlight bulbs or housings it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself of the factory bulb types. This will help you select aftermarket housings and bulb types.

Even if the bub types are different than the factory equipment, you’ll want to ensure you are purchasing the correct conversion bulbs, kits, or housing for your F-250.

2011-2016 Factory Bulb Sizes

  • - Headlights: H13/9008
  • - Fog Lights: 9145/H10

2017-2019 Factory Bulb Size

  • - Headlights: H13/9008
  • - Fog Lights: 9140

What Types of Upgrades are Available?

The good news for F-250 owners is there are a lot of options on the market when it comes to upgrading headlights. There are a variety of headlight configurations and bulbs to suit every need. The only drawback is sorting through each available option and understanding which is best for your truck in particular.

Improved Halogens

The cheapest way to upgrade your headlight system is by using upgraded halogens. These are designed to fit right in place of existing halogen bulbs without any modification. The drawback is that illumination is limited even with the most powerful option.


  • - Affordable
  • - Easy to Install


  • - Limited Illumination


LED lights are a major step up from halogens. These bulbs will make even the brightest halogens look like candlelight. The drawback is these can have a complicated install on account of wiring harnesses needing to be installed.

These kits also tend to be expensive and there is the issue of running into the boundaries of the law. Luckily, one won’t be left to make their own wiring harness as any supplier offering LEDs will send plug and play harnesses either bundled in or separate from the bulb purchase. These are highly suggested as they save potential hours’ worth of headaches.


  • - Superb Illumination


  • - High Cost
  • - Install can get Complicated
  • - Can Lead to Legal Issues


Projector headlights are the most aesthetically appealing headlights on the market. They offer superior illumination but can be quite expensive. The biggest drawback is the light pattern reaches very far ahead of the vehicle, but the focused pattern makes the path more narrow.


  • - Aesthetically Appealing
  • - Superior Illumination


  • - High Cost
  • - Narrow Light Pattern


High-intensity discharge bulbs deliver on multiple fronts. They are very bright bulbs that come in a variety of colors which is crucial to personalization. The drawback is they can be bright enough to land you on the wrong side of the law.


  • - Variety of Color Options
  • - High Illumination


  • - Can Lead to Legal Issues

Which Type to Use for Off-Road, On-Road, Camping, etc.

Street driven F-250s are limited to a few choices as they can be hazardous to oncoming traffic. For off-road use one can have a field day with lighting options. Whether HIDs, LEDs or projectors are on one's mind, it doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law as they won’t venture off-road.

With auxiliary lighting onboard, one may leave beam patterns out of concern as light bars and cube lights will shine far and wide. Though, this doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to stay focused. LED lights in a clear bulb are a wonderful choice as they will offer the best visibility on the trail.

If you do opt to choose projector lights rather than the factory housing to support LED lights just be mindful that supplementary lighting may be needed to see what’s not in immediate view. It’s also worth considering these lights since they draw the least amount of power. When winches, light bars, and upgraded stereos are equipped and running any sort of power savings are critical. 

How to Aim the Lights

Aiming headlights isn’t something you are always going to need to do. However, in the case aftermarket housings are being installed, it may be a necessary step.

To aim your headlights, you will want to park the F-250 about a foot and a half from a wall and turn your headlights on. You will want to mark the centerline of the pattern and back 25 feet away. Then you will turn the lights on and adjust the lights until they line up with the centerline.

Proper Practices for Lifted Trucks

With a lifted F-250, it’s important to remember the lights are sitting higher which can cast the beam further in front of the vehicle leaving a large gap of an unlighted area just before the grille. To compensate for this, you will want to aim the lights at a lower angle. This step is also critical to not blind other drivers on the roadways. Remember, their heads may sit at eye level with your lights and you will be shining light directly in that direction if this isn’t addressed.