The #1 job of fog lights is to help the driver see what’s right in front of the car. They cast a rather wide beam of light that pokes through the fog. So, when driving through thick layers of mist, a set of fog lights is a must. Now, if you’re the proud owner of a premium-trim RAM 1500, the truck will be equipped with a decent set of fog lights.
However, if it’s an entry-level configuration, or if you’re driving an older model, I highly recommend getting a decent set of “foggers”. But can a regular driver install them, though? Shouldn’t you let the mechanics do it? Well, I’m happy to say that it is quite possible to handle the installation manually. Once you master this guide, you’ll see how easy it actually is!
Choosing the Right Lights
Before you move on to the installation, take a minute to consider the different kinds of fog lights available on the market. Oh, and don’t forget to check the local laws: some states have pretty strict regulations when it comes to light color, type, and brand. As for the bulb type, you’ve got a choice between three types:
- LED lights. It’s safe to say that LEDs are running the show right now. The light-emitting diodes are incredibly popular thanks to the impressive lifespan, bright, vivid colors, ease of installation, and fancy design. On top of that, the LED lights are a power-saving option: they require a lot less energy to work. Sadly, LEDs are also pretty expensive compared to HIDS and halogens.
- HID lights. Next on the list, we’ve got the high-intensity discharge lights – HIDs. Their biggest advantage over the competition is the natural, daytime light. Plus, HIDs are more affordable than LEDs and have a decent life expectancy. So, if you’re looking for the golden middle, they might be it.
- This is the most “ancient” kind of car light. The vast majority of older vehicles are equipped with halogens. Many newer, but really cheap models use these lights as well. Halogens aren’t very long-lasting and tend to burn out when not taken care of properly. They are a low-cost product, though.
Installing the New Lights
Alright, now that we’ve learned about the different types of fog lights available for the RAM 1500, let’s move on to the meat and potatoes – the installation process. First, I want you to get yourself and the truck ready. Next, we’ll carefully remove the housing, the switch, handle all the factory components, and only then install the new fog lights. If there’s no switch, you’ll have to buy a wiring kit (it won’t cost you much).
Step #1: Get Prepared
The first thing you should do is park the vehicle. Make sure it’s an even, smooth ground, preferable on your own territory. Some people prefer to do this inside the garage, but I’d still prefer to install the lights in the open air. Good news: you won’t need any expensive tools for this: just a regular screwdriver, a wrench, and a pair of decent-quality gloves to protect your hands. Don’t forget to engage the parking brake before getting down to business!
Step #2: Remove the Housing
Ok, pop the hood to get access to the stock lights. Now, there are two different types of mounting when it comes to fog lights. If it’s the bumper mount, then the lights are “sitting” in factory-made rectangular holes. So, if you’ve got factory fog lights on your RAM 1500, you’ll find them there. However, some of the more expensive editions of the truck have the fog lights installed on the front grille instead.
Statistically, most SUVs and trucks have the fog lights bumper-mounted, right below the headlights. Well, I hope you still have that Dodge manual lying around. It will help you figure out what type of mounting you’re dealing with. With that out of the way, go ahead and unplug the fog lights switch. It’s connected to the truck’s power system. The housing, in turn, will be secured by nuts, bolts, and a washer.
Use the wrench to get rid of the bolts and remove the housing. Be extra careful; otherwise, you might leave scratches on the front bumper. Is your RAM 1500 equipped with grille-mounted lights? Then lift the housing away from the vehicle – that’s the best way to avoid damaging the truck.
Step #3: Mount the New Fog Lights
We’re almost there! All that’s left to do is mount the new fog lights. At this stage, it is very important for the aftermarket lights to be a direct fit. If they’re not 100% compatible with your truck’s exact make, model, and year, you’ll have to do a lot of DIY stuff like cutting and bending to try and make them fit. So, make sure the lights are a bolt-on, OE-type fit before buying them.
A set of fog lights that was specifically designed with the Dodge RAM 1500 in mind will only take five minutes to install. The housing should easily “drop” into the factory mounting holes. The bolts should line up with the holes to ensure a tight, secure grip. Put the bolts in, carefully thread the nut over the bolt, and don’t forget about the washer. Use the ratchet to tighten everything and reconnect the fog light switch.
If you bought the lights separately, and they don’t come with housing, the whole process will actually be easier. Just unscrew the three bolts holding each fog light, and put the new ones in. Finishing up, close the hood, start the engine, and enjoy your new fog lights! In most cases, the fog lights won’t be aligned properly. To fix that, you’ll need to adjust them. Learn more about that in my other reviews.