Fog lights are installed in the lower part of the front bumper or below the taillights of a car. They primarily help drivers see the road immediately ahead of them in severe weather.
Weather conditions like dust, fog, snow and mist can have a tremendous impact on visibility.
So let’s find out if fog lights are standard on all cars.
Table of Contents
Here’s the answer to whether all cars come with fog lights:
Not all cars come with fog lights. Many cars today don’t come with standard fog lights because of other alternatives. Cars sold in the tropics and regions that don’t experience extreme weather may lack the feature. Vehicles may have rear fog lights and omit the front one to alert the cars behind.
Are Fog Lights Standard on All New Cars Today?
Fog lights have never, at any point, been standard on all new vehicles.
Several vehicle manufacturers have eliminated fog lights from modern cars. This development is the adoption of high-tech headlights, which makes the fog light obsolete.
Cars also have high-tech lighting systems that include infrared sensors. Some are equipped with adaptive headlights, which move with the steering. They also adjust the light intensity in dim driving conditions, hence adaptive.
These alternatives may partly be the reasons fog lights aren’t standard.
That being said, there are constant debates about how vital fog lights are and whether they should even be considered. Some have even described them as “captivating, but not necessary.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration enforces standards that cars must have on American highways yet don’t mandate fog lights. Instead, they consider them as just “supplementary equipment” and nothing more.
However, this doesn’t mean fog lights are unnecessary. They’re effective since they’re placed below the headlights. This helps them focus on the road, below the fog, dust, or mist.
Do Older Cars Also Have Fog Lights?
Well, the question depends on how far back you want to go. So if we’re considering cars from 1890, probably not.
However, cars from the 1970s had fog lights. Fog lamps were also made mandatory in some parts of Europe during that same period.
Although Americans care little for fog lights, it has been a common feature in European-made cars.
We can’t say for sure when the fog lamps came to be. However, in the 1930s, France made road illumination lamps mandatory. But, of course, these lamps had technology that performed similar functions to modern-day fog lamps.
How Can I Know If My Car Has Fog Lights?
The front and rear fog lights have easily recognizable symbols you can see from inside the car.
The front fog light symbol is usually on the same lever as your headlight switch. It is like an oval-shaped symbol with three straight lines to its left intersecting a vertical curly line diagonally.
So please switch it on, and a green sign on your dashboard shows that your fog light is on.
The rear fog light symbol is like that of the front. However, in its case, the lines are on the right of the almost-oval-shaped sign, intersecting the vertical wavy line horizontally.
A light also appears on the dashboard for the rear fog light. Simply put, if you have these symbols, you have fog lights. If they aren’t on the lever, they might be buttons on your dashboard.
You can also find out from outside the car. Although the front lights can easily be recognized from any car’s exterior, the rear ones can get confusing. They’re usually close to the taillights and are similarly bright.
Observe the brightness of your taillight when you switch the headlights on first. You can have someone step on the brake pedal while observing from behind. The lenses below the taillight that aren’t shining are probably your fog lights.
To confirm, the person can switch on the rear fog lights. When you notice the lights come on, you can easily differentiate them from your taillights.
What’s the Difference Between Fog Lights and Headlights?
Fog lights and headlights may appear the same since they both serve as a source of illumination. However, they are very different, as you already know by now.
The fundamental difference between them is the role they each play. The headlights have high and low beam bulbs that serve the purpose of brightening the distance ahead. They are only used in the dark.
Fog lights come into play when driving through unfavorable weather such as fog, haze, dust, or rain. It doesn’t necessarily have to be dark.
They brighten the ground just a little ahead to help the driver stay on the road. Usually, headlights can’t do justice in such situations.
Another apparent difference between the fog lights and the headlights is their positions on the bumper. For example, bumper-mounted headlights are positioned high on the bumper to provide the best view for the driver.
On the other hand, Fog lights are placed below the bumper to perform two jobs. To illuminate the immediate path of the car below the fog and to alert approaching drivers.
These Cars Don’t Have Fog Lights
Omitting fog lights from a car’s design first started with luxury cars.
However, this practice is gradually spreading as automakers make changes to their models as they unveil newer generations.
- Jaguar XE: The Jaguar XE has been in the market for over half a decade. If you look closely at it, you won’t find fog lights. Its narrow headlights give it a unique look.
- Mercedes C-Class: Previous generations, like the second and third generations of the C-Class, had fog lights. The fourth generation has no fog lights; although Mercedes dropped the fog lights, they maintained the style, comfort and performance.
- Range Rover Vogue: Since luxury brands are abandoning fog lights, it makes sense for a Range Rover to be one of them. The 2019 Range Rover Vogue is not equipped with fog lights.
- BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine: Modern versions do not come factory equipped with fog lights.
- Audi Q5: During the first generation of manufacturing, the Q5 came standard with fog lights. From the 2018 model, however, they come sparkling without them.
- Mercedes E-class: Like the C-Class, the fourth generation E-Class has no fog lights. Its third generation was equipped with fog lights, though modern E-Class models have daytime running lights instead.
- Mercedes S-Class: Although earlier models have fog lights, they were excluded from the 2014 model.
Note: European cars must have rear fog lights, but front ones aren’t mandatory. That’s why many European luxury brands now exclude front fog lights.
Why Don’t All Cars Have Fog Lights on the Front?
There are many reasons cars don’t have front fog lights.
However, the most obvious reason is that it’s not required by law. American automakers usually adopt technology when regulatory bodies like the NHTSA declare they should make them standard.
As we’ve established, the NHTSA doesn’t even consider them necessary, so car brands follow in their steps.
Another reason front fog lights are omitted is the demand for them. Automakers also implement innovations when consumers develop a strong liking for them. So, car owners across the country haven’t shown any specific preference for front fog lights.
Apparently, not everyone even thinks fog lights are essential. Some argue that they do little to help drivers see clearly in reality and are only effective in theory.
However, few people can dispute that fog lights help other cars notice your presence. That counts for something.
Car manufacturers may also believe their advanced headlight technology voids the use of “unnecessary” fog lights.
There’s also the cost implication to consider. First, brands do their best to minimize the cost of producing their vehicles as it helps with affordability. They probably believe there’s little sense in adding a feature that is not mandatory or preferred by their target market.
In newer cars, fog lights are now replaced by other features. These features may be daytime running lights, cornering lights, sensors, etcetera. However, you should know that these additional features don’t perform the exact function of fog lights.
How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade to Fog Lights on New Cars?
Installing fog lights in a car that didn’t come factory equipped with them requires some alterations. While some cars already have built-in spaces, others don’t.
So you’d only have to find a fitting equal in size for vehicles with built-in slots before the installation begins.
If your car doesn’t have built-in spaces, you’ll have to create them.
You’ll also need some wiring, which isn’t easy. So, allowing a professional to handle the entire process is better.
The labor cost of replacing old fog lights ranges from $37 to $47. Installing new fog lights must include the fog lights assembly. So, including labor costs for wiring and drilling (if needed), you should expect to pay over $100.
Depending on many factors, including location and vehicle type, the price can amount to several hundred dollars.
What Safety Measures Can Help Me in a Fog?
Whether or not you have fog lights, some of these practices can reduce the risk of driving through fogs.
- Switch on your fog light if visibility is limited to about 100 meters.
- Do not use a full headlight beam to avoid reflection.
- Use your wiper to improve visibility.
- Keep a safe distance between your car and the car directly ahead of you.
- Move at slow speeds.
- If visibility gets worse, please find a safe place and park.
- Switch on your parking light if you decide to halt till the fog clears out.
Whether or not your car comes with fog lights, you should be okay as long as it’s a modern one.
Before opting for aftermarket fog lights, question whether they’re worth it. Some geographical locations are more prone to foggy conditions than others.
Also, if you’d prefer fog lights, it’s best to buy a new car factory installed with them. They’re much better and have more appealing aesthetics than aftermarket options.
Ultimately, even with fog lights, forward visibility isn’t very long, and drivers must drive carefully in fogs.