When we compare a car to the human body, we can say that the headlights are its eyes. During nighttime or when you’re in a dark place such as a tunnel or parking garage, headlights help the driver see what’s in front of the vehicle. There are some drivers, though, who want to have brighter headlights. They may have some sort of vision problem, or they simply just want to have better illumination in front of them.
While there are two basic types of headlights (reflector and projector), both kinds use the same principle. Nevertheless, reflector headlights are slowly being retired in favor of projector lamps, since projector headlights produce a more intense and more focused light beam.
The choice then comes down to what kind of bulb to use. Headlights use either halogen, high-intensity discharge bulbs (HIDs), or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The bulbs are contained in a housing with a metal bowl covered with reflective mirrors that concentrate the light into a beam. The glass cover where the beam passes through also acts as a magnifying glass, focusing the beam even more onto a point in front of the vehicle.
Halogen bulbs are the most commonly used, except for the high-end models or expensive brands. Recently though, there has been a rise in the aftermarket segment of the popularity of both HID lamps and LED headlight bulbs. There are pros and cons, though, between the two. HID lamps take a bit of time to achieve full brightness; on the other hand, LED lamps go bright instantly.
In terms of intensity of illumination, it’s actually a toss-up between the two kinds, as some automotive enthusiasts prefer the intensity of HID lamps while other car fanatics like the soft brightness of LED bulbs. In terms of power saving or electricity usage, LED bulbs to have the advantage as they consume less electricity than HID lamps. Your car battery will, therefore, last much longer than if you’re using HIDs.
However, the main factor for changing your bulbs is the cost. LED lamps are more expensive than HID bulbs. While HID bulbs are less expensive than LED lamps, they do not last as long. LED lamps last for around 15,000 hours compared to 5,000 to 6,000 hours for HID bulbs. One important thing to remember, though: If you do plan on changing your bulbs, be sure to check your state’s (or country’s) laws regarding headlight color and type so you won’t get into trouble.
Most stock or factory headlights actually perform quite well, especially if the headlights in your vehicle already come with high-intensity discharge lamps as standard. If for whatever reason, you want to convert your HID lamps to LEDs, there are many aftermarket kits available.
You can get these from the most reputable aftermarket accessory store and also online. Do get a certified automotive electrician to install your new LED lamps, so you won’t experience any electrical problems with your car later on.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which kind of bulb is actually best for your needs.
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