What you need to know about aftermarket daytime running lights

CAR explains the benefits of fitting aftermarket daytime running lights and recommends some of the best products.

The best aftermarket daytime running lights

by Chris Williams |

Daytime running lights, or DRLs, have been part of new car legislation for the last decade. Legislation demands new cars bound for the European and UK market from 2011 onwards, need to have DRLs fitted.

The reason is that numerous studies undertaken by various bureaucratic departments have deemed DRLs to make cars more visible to other road users and pedestrians. In turn, resulting in fewer fatalities.

However, along with the legal requirements, LED daytime running lamps have come into fashion in the last few years. Car manufacturers use them to individualise their cars with signature patterns and shapes for their DRLs. Obvious examples of these would be Jaguar's horizontal J-shaped design or the LED halos on Mini headlights.

Daytime running light buying tips:

First and foremost, stick with reputable brands. Trusted aftermarket names such as Ring Automotive or electronics giant Philips manufacture quality DRLs that will actually do what they're supposed to: work.

In addition to being made properly, DRLs from reputable manufacturers also adhere to official testing standards set by the Economic Commission for Europe - specifically ECE 87, regarding daytime running lights. Make sure the DRLs you want are 'E approved'.

Quality DRLs do vary considerably in price, depending on what style or shape you opt for. But you can pick up a good set from around £25 or £30.

Related: CAR's guide to headlight bulbs | The best LED accessories for your car

Can I fit aftermarket daytime running lights myself?

You can. DRLs come with fitting instructions. It can be a little fiddly - refer to the video from Ring Automotive below as a guide - and involves fitting the brackets and connecting the lights up to the battery. Alternatively, you can get them installed professionally.

CAR's top aftermarket daytime running lights:

Philips DayLight 9 LED Daytime Running Lights

Reliable, functional DRLs
Philips DayLight 9 LED Daytime Running Lights
Amazon

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These DRLs from Philips are a hardy and functional option. The nine LEDs sit in a tough aluminium housing and are protected by water and impact-resistant lenses. Installation is easy with these thanks to their clip-on brackets, and these lights are compatible with EVs, hybrids, and vehicles with start/stop systems.

Specifications
Dimensions 125 x 23.1 x 31 mm
Colour temperature 5700 K
LED lifetime 5000 hours
E approved Yes
Wattage 16W

Ring Automotive BRL0379 Cruise-lite Ice Daytime Styling Lamps

Best budget DRLs
Ring Automotive BRL0379 Cruise-lite Ice Daytime Styling Lamps

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Like the Philips DRLs above, these DRLs from Ring Automotive serve the functional purpose of improving vehicle visibility during the day but are a bit smaller and more subtle. There are eight LEDs to each light that give an ice white colour. They come with fixing brackets, self-adhesive strips, and fitting instructions.

Specifications
Dimensions 115 x 25 x 40 mm
Colour temperature Ice white
LED lifetime Not given
E approved Yes
Wattage 16W

Osram LEDriving LG Daytime Running Lights

Sleek looking DRLs
Osram LEDriving LG Daytime Running Lights

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This set from Osram offers more style with its set of DRLs. Tapering inwards and with a curved shape, they are quite striking but still function very well. Not only do they shine brightly, but they also give a long life of about 5,000 hours. These are also dimmable.

Specifications
Dimensions 167 x 32 x 42 mm
Colour temperature 6000 K
LED lifetime 5000 hours
E approved Yes
Wattage 15W

Simoni Racing Nook LED Daytime Running Lights

Stylish L-shape DRLs
Simoni Racing Nook LED Daytime Running Lights

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These DRLs do have u2018Racingu2019 in the name but they are road legal. Simoni Racing has provided stylish L-shaped DRLs at a great price. Each light has six LEDs and comes with fitting brackets.

Specifications
Dimensions 190 x 20 x 40 mm
Colour temperature 6000 K
LED lifetime Not given
E approved Yes
Wattage 19W

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Ring Automotive BRL0397 Aurora Daytime Running Lights

Simple and bright
Ring Automotive BRL0397 Aurora Daytime Running Lights
Amazon

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The Aurora DRLs from Ring Automotive are big and bright. Each light has five large LEDs that stand out very clearly to other road users and to pedestrians. The lights come with fitting brackets and fitting instructions.

Specifications
Dimensions 145 x 55 x 57 mm
Colour temperature 6000 K
LED lifetime Not given
E approved Yes
Wattage 15W

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Philips DayLightGuide Daytime Running Lights

Best modern look
Philips DayLightGuide Daytime Running Lights
Amazon

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Last but not least is the set from Philips featuring Luxeon LEDs. Luxeon LEDs are Philipsu2019 trade name for its high-power LEDs. This means that along with the dimmable nature of these DRLs, they can be used day and night. Unlike the others here, these lights donu2019t have individual LEDs but rather a pair of light strips. Like the Philips DRLs above, these lights are also in a tough aluminium housing and protected by water and impact-resistant lenses.

Specifications
Dimensions 165 x 23.1 x 34.7 mm
Colour temperature Up to 6000 K
LED lifetime 5000 hours
E approved Yes
Wattage 15W

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