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The car market is changing quickly, as are the cars themselves. With every new turn, the market makes the cars must follow. To maintain steadily growing prices, our cars, motorcycles, and pickup trucks must become more complicated, offer more features, and ultimately offer us more in every way, whether we want it or not, which leads us to puddle lights. These are brand new by any means, luxury brands like Audi and Buick have been using them for a little while, but they are growing in frequency. Why? What are they? Do puddle lights serve any useful purpose? 

Ford puddle lights patent
Ford Puddle Light EV patent | Ford

What are puddle lights? 

Puddle lights are tiny lights built into the bottom of a car’s side-view mirrors that light up the ground underneath the car door, often in the shape of the car maker’s logo. These lights often open when the key fob is nearby, a door is unlocked, or the doors open. 

These lights are typically only found on luxury brands like Audi, BMW, Jaguar, and others. The original idea for this luxury feature was to light up the ground where a person would step right before getting into (or out of) the car. 

These lights would make drivers and passengers aware of puddles, ice, or rough pavement directly outside the car’s doors. However, puddle lights have since taken on the additional purposes of style and flair.

No wonder cars are getting so expensive

Mercedes Star reflected in a puddle
The Mercedes star | Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images

These puddle lights have found their way into the bottom of doors in the front and rear as well. The idea remains the same; drivers and passengers can see what they are stepping into when exiting the vehicle. It’s a nice idea, but is it really necessary? 

As new cars require more safety and comfort features, many buyers also expect more bells and whistles. While vehicles have gotten exponentially nicer over the past 10 years, these features have also driven costs through the roof. 

According to, new and used car prices have hit record highs over the past year due to production delays, supply chain issues, and the amount of required tech and features in cars. Things like backup cameras, lane departure warnings, and parking sensors have become all but standard these days. While these features are great and keep up safer, they are a big part of why cars cost so much more these days. 

When did puddle lights come out? 

According to, we’ve had puddle lights for nearly 15 years. Originally, these lights were simple lamps meant only to illuminate the ground in front of a car’s doors. However, around 2015, luxury makers like Land Rover, Mini, Buick, and Lincoln started modifying the puddle light lenses to show the Marque’s logo projected on the ground. 

This little branding flair marked the beginning of the style component of the puddle lights. This nifty feature quickly shifted from a clever and helpful feature to one meant only to serve the vanity of luxury car drivers; practicality turned flex. 


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