The End of Fog Lights (or Fog Lamps) Is Here
Yes, that symbol of 1950s sports car motoring and beloved accessory of the JC Whitney crowd is almost gone. It will soon be relegated to the dustbin of history. The fog light — or fog lamp, depending on your bent — will join eight-track tape players and curb feelers. Though fog lights can be helpful, they’re outdated auto appendages now.
Why are fog lights dead?
The advent of superior headlamp technology has made fog lights obsolete. Ford’s European design director, Amko Leenharts, cites the “bending lights” in LED technology.
“In most of our European products, they’re gone,” Leenharts tells Ford Authority. “If you have the bending lights, then you don’t need the fog lights.”
“Bending light” refers to the technology that adjusts headlight direction based on the car’s steering angle and speed. This tech exposes more of the road, eliminating the need for auxiliary lighting. We’re seeing it now in premium and luxury vehicles.
Infrared night vision systems available in some high-end Audi, BMW, Cadillac, and Mercedes-Benz models cut through the fog. They detect heat and display the images on the dashboard. Also, many new cars use radar and lidar technology.
Are OEM fog lights still an accessory?
New models, like the 2024 Ford Mustang and Lincoln Corsair, lack fog lights. And, of course, LED headlights bring improved visibility and significantly less energy usage. They’re thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s adaptive driving beam (ADB) headlight approval. This tech allows drivers to switch to the high-beam setting without blinding other motorists.
However, many automakers have used a form of ADB for years. Driver input adjusts shutters inside LED headlights. Because the high-beam light is always on, the shutters block part of the beam and direct it down for normal driving conditions. Those shutters drop when the high beams switch on. That allows for the full amount of light to shine.
But the high-beam light itself is stationary. What separates it from ADB lighting is adapting to the driver’s line of sight.
Still, some fog light enthusiasts don’t care about functionality.
What about people who like fog lamp aesthetics?
Some drivers love the look of fog lights. For that reason, we might not see the end of them. But they’ll probably be part of the running lights and not function as fog lamps. Many consumers prefer the cleaner look instead of having accessory lighting.
Those enthusiasts like to pare down the car’s design to its simplest elements. The fewer components bonked onto the body, the better. Hey, variety is the spice of life, so whatever floats your boat.
Soon, fog lights won’t be functional or aesthetic. That’s especially true as we transition further into electrification. With technology improving, even staples like AM radio could disappear.