Your headlights are among the most important car parts on your vehicle. Without them, you can only drive your car during the day. They are also among the easiest to take for granted. You may not realize that there is a problem with one of your headlights until it goes out, and perhaps not even then. Nevertheless, a nonfunctioning headlight reduces illumination, which could put you at risk for collisions with objects, vehicles, or pedestrians you cannot see. Depending on where you live, it could also incur a citation because of the safety hazard.
You may already know how to change a headlight, but you may not know about the different types available or how they compare to one another. This guide informs you about the different types of headlights and teaches you how to maintain them regardless of which you decide on.
The Different Type of Headlight Bulbs
There are many different types of headlight bulbs, but three are the most common: LED, halogen, and high-intensity discharge.
Headlights made with light-emitting diodes are the newest type. Of the three most common types, they last the longest. They are also the most energy-efficient because they produce little to no heat. They provide illumination that is brighter than old halogen bulbs to provide you adequate illumination as you drive. However, they are not so intense that they cause discomfort to oncoming drivers. Because LED technology is relatively new, these headlights are more expensive than the other types.
Halogen headlights are the oldest type. They are the least expensive but also the least energy-efficient since they produce the most heat. They operate similarly to incandescent lightbulbs. The main difference is that halogen bulbs are filled with a different gas than incandescents, which helps the metal filament inside to go longer without breaking.
The third type is the HID headlight. It is older than LED headlights but more recent than halogen. An HID headlight is filled with xenon gas rather than halogen gas, and instead of a metal filament that glows, it contains two electrodes that create a high-voltage arc between the two of them. HID lights take a little while to warm up and can dim over time. However, they are more energy-efficient than halogens and produce a brighter white light. The HID’s brightness can be both a disadvantage and an advantage. They may cause other drivers discomfort, and some countries have deemed them too bright and banned them altogether.
How To Maintain Your Headlight Bulbs
Whatever type of bulb you eventually decide on, you can help make it last longer by following these maintenance tips:
- Change both bulbs together. If one has already failed, the other may be likely to go soon.
- Check alignment. Driving over rough roads or potholes can displace the bulbs so they do not shine in the right direction.
- Check illumination. Regularly make sure that both headlights are functioning by parking in front of a wall and checking for two light spots.
When you have decided on the type of headlights you want, you should be able to purchase the bulbs online or at most auto parts store locations.