Update your Car Lighting: Xenon HID Bulbs vs. LED Headlights
Car lighting is a crucial factor that requires your attention when you are ready to upgrade to a newer car or update your existing vehicle. Automotive lighting technology has come a long way since lamps powered by kerosene oil and later acetylene gas headlamps. In 1915, when the Guide Lamp Company first introduced modern electric headlights technology, car drivers had to get out of the car and switch on/off the lights. And, now we have so many options that it is overwhelming and exciting at the same time.
Halogen Headlights: Common yet not Optimal
Did you know the current standard halogen headlights are only a few decades old? Introduced by Italian carmakers in 1962, halogen headlights became quite popular in America in the late 1970s because they produced better light than tungsten headlamps. Although quite common now, you can call halogen bulbs outdated.
If you are on the road for long hours, the light from halogen bulbs can prove to be an annoyance. The light emitted by halogen bulbs is indistinct and inadequate. Halogen lights produce slightly more than 1000 lumens of light. On a winter night, the amount of light can become insufficient, and you may need a brighter option. Additionally, halogen headlights are not eco-friendly and can generate a high amount of heat. Road vibrations can affect the filament, and bulbs may slowly burn out. Luckily, technology is evolving, and you have several options.
Gases such as iodine or bromine fill the halogen bulbs and heat the filament to make it burn hotter and brighter. In HID (High-Intensity Discharge) light bulbs, there is no filament, and Xenon gas is used in the bulb to create a charge between the electrodes. However, to jump-start the process, you will need a Xenon lighting ballast to use energy from the car's electrical system and create a spark inside the HID headlight. Once the spark is created in the headlight unit, the ballast reduces the energy intake because HIDs do not require much heat once they have reached optimum performance temperature. HID bulbs offer a wide range of benefits.
- Xenon headlights are brighter and last longer than halogen.
- They offer the best illumination and broad coverage on the road.
- The headlights produce less heat, so they are energy-efficient.
- HID bulbs produce a crisp white light that enables you to improve your vision on the road.
HID bulbs are a relatively newer technology than halogen bulbs, and their costs are also slightly higher. Additionally, as HID lights are brighter, you need to ensure accurate installation. Otherwise, they may end up inflicting glare on oncoming drivers. For the same reason, HID headlights are still not common in car models across America.
Another alternative to using old halogen bulbs is the advanced LED headlights. Light-Emitting Diodes undergo a process called electroluminescence and emit light. LED bulbs require little energy to kickstart, and they will emit light without any warm-up time. This way, LED headlights prove to be a superior alternative to halogens and HIDs. It is helpful when you are traveling through a tunnel, and you need the light from headlights immediately. It is also useful when you are traveling at night.
The benefits of LED headlights include:
- LEDs utilize minimum power to ignite.
- Unlike HIDs that require time to light up, LED headlights offer instant and bright illumination.
- LEDs deliver focused rays of light and ensure better visibility on the darkest of the roads.
- Small in size, LEDs offer better customization options to auto manufacturers.
When you are choosing LED headlights, make sure you retrofit them accurately. LED bulbs do not heat themselves, but they can trigger excess heat in the surroundings. You may require a complicated cooling system to avoid heating issues. LED headlights are a relatively new technology and, thus, expensive than the traditional halogen bulbs.
HID Bulbs vs. LED Headlights: Your Choice, Your Preference
When you want to move away from halogen headlights and make a choice between HID bulbs and LED headlights, you need to consider the amount of time you spend driving each month. For example, if you do not drive your car often, it does not make sense to invest in LEDs. However, if you travel frequently and most often at night, using LED headlights can prove to be a better option. If you retrofit LEDs to your existing car model, you may need to replace the headlight unit because it requires a cooling system.
If you want to avoid the yellow lights of halogen and do not want to spend a lot, HID headlights can be a great option. If your existing car came with halogen bulbs, and you want to convert them to HIDs, choose an HID conversion kit with ballasts. When you are retrofitting HID bulbs in an automobile that came with halogen lights originally, consider the local laws so that your car remains road-legal.
Each lighting option has its pros and cons. Whether you are buying a new vehicle or looking to retrofit a new lighting system for your current automobile, understand your preferences and consider whether the technology is compatible with your car model.
Do you want to upgrade car headlights to HID? Are you looking to buy LED headlight bulbs for your automobile? Choose a reputed automotive lighting store to ensure a safe and bright upgrade.