Headlight bulbs are indispensable to every car that is out on the public roads. It is impossible to drive a vehicle without functional headlight bulbs, as they don’t just light your way, but also let other drivers that you are also out in traffic.
When driving in dark areas, at a higher speed, not having functional headlight bulbs on your car can be extremely dangerous, both for you and other traffic participants. An unlit car can get involved in disastrous car accidents, so never take your car out on the road if you have malfunctioning or broken headlight bulbs.
In the following lines, you will learn everything you need to know about headlight bulbs, how they work, different types of headlight bulbs, and how to make the right choice. Every car comes equipped with a set of headlight bulbs, but they may get broken or not deliver the amount of light you may want.
So, read the following information and make an informed decision when you’re looking to change or replace your car’s headlight bulbs. Although it may not seem that important, choosing the right headlight bulbs can save you from a lot of trouble and increase visibility when you’re driving, especially at night.
What are headlight bulbs and how do they work?
Headlight bulbs are the light bulbs found inside your car’s headlights. While these bulbs are rather small, the construction of the headlight will amplify the light they are producing, so that they are effective without draining your car of energy. So, each time you start the engine of your car or, depending on the car model, turn on the lights, the headlight bulbs will turn on.
However, there are cases when these lights simply stop performing as desired. They start emitting a yellow or faded light beam that is not giving you the level of visibility you would like when you’re driving. This is when you should seriously consider changing your headlight bulbs so that the car’s headlights are equipped with light bulbs capable of allowing you to drive in safe conditions.
The headlight bulbs work depending on their type and how they are made. Also, not all types of headlight bulbs may be suitable for your car. In the lines that follow we will talk about how each type of headlight bulb works and how to choose the right headlight bulb for your car.
First, we will start with halogen light bulbs, which are the traditional type of headlight bulb. They are the cheapest version when it comes to headlight bulbs and works pretty much like any other light bulb with filaments intended for home use.
In spite of being the oldest type of headlight bulb on the market, the halogen light bulb is still widely used and fits a broad range of car models. They turn on when electrical current heats up their internal filaments. As the name suggests, the bulbs are filled with halogen, a gas that will allow them to light brighter by increasing their temperature. There are cases when these light bulbs are filled with xenon gas, instead of halogen, for a whiter light.
Then there are the Xenon or HID light bulbs. It is worth mentioning that they are different from the filament light bulbs filled with xenon gas. HID comes from High-Intensity Discharge and these light bulbs will not have any kind of filament inside. These lights work with the help of an electrical arch that forms between two electrodes.
The xenon gas tube found inside these lights will trigger a gas discharge that will make the lights shine brightly. They are slightly more expensive than traditional halogen light bulbs, but they fit in the same manner.
Finally, there are the LED headlight bulbs. Light Emitting Diode, which is the meaning of LED, is a light bulb that can offer an impressive number of hours of bright light. They are the ones that last the longest, which makes them more and more preferred by car owners.
Only newer car models come equipped with this type of headlight bulbs. While it is possible to upgrade your traditional light bulbs with LEDs, your car may display warning signs on the dashboard that the car’s lights are not working. This is due to their low energy consumption, which makes it hard for the car to see them running properly.
Types of headlight bulbs
As mentioned earlier, there are three main types of headlight bulbs that can be used on cars. Depending on your car make and model, these lights can be part of the car’s original headlights set or you may have to upgrade if you want brighter light or better light bulbs. Here is some info about all types of headlight bulbs available on the market at the moment.
01. Filament or halogen headlight bulbs
This is the most common type of headlight bulbs found on cars. The majority of car makes and models have halogen or filament light bulbs inside their headlights. These light bulbs are very affordable and can offer a decent amount of light. Also, they can fit any type of car, so you will have no issues if you opt for this particular type.
02. Xenon or HID headlight bulbs
Do not think that HID headlight bulbs are one and the same thing with xenon gas filament light bulbs. They are different types and work in a different manner. Filament light bulbs filled with xenon gas work in the same manner as halogen light bulbs, only that they are brighter due to the presence of the xenon. HID headlight bulbs, on the other hand, have a xenon gas tube inside that fuels an electrical arch generated by two diodes.
03. LED headlight bulbs
These headlight bulbs are the newest type of light bulbs for car headlights on the market. So, they are available only on newer or high-end car models. However, it is possible, in some case, to replace regular headlight bulbs with LED headlight bulbs. But you may have some trouble with your car recognizing the functionality of the LED bulbs, if it was not equipped with the right kind of technology.
- The variety of headlight bulbs allows you to make the best choice in the case of your car. You just need to make sure that the selected headlight bulb is suitable for your car
- Your car needs proper headlight bulbs in order to give you a suitable level of visibility, regardless of the time of day or night or weather. So, make sure to choose an adequate type of headlight bulb for your vehicle
- Even if your car is equipped with traditional headlight bulbs, it is possible to upgrade the light bulbs by selecting newer technology, like HID or LED headlight bulbs. However, be prepared for your car to give you some warnings. Of course, this is not always the case
- Halogen light bulbs can end up emitting a faded or yellowish light beam, which will provide a low level of visibility during nighttime
- LED headlight bulbs may not fit in the case of older car makes. You should check if these light bulbs fit your car if it’s older and was initially equipped with regular headlight bulbs. It is possible to upgrade, but it is not applicable all the time
WH questions about headlight
What headlight bulb type offers the brightest light?
The best answer to this question is the LED headlight bulbs. This particular type is the newest on the market and is known for providing white bright light, without consuming too much energy.
Also, they are the most durable type of headlight bulbs available at the moment, which makes them preferred by many car owners. So, in spite of their reduced size, LED headlight bulbs are capable of providing very bright light.
Which type of headlight bulbs is most energy-effective?
Again, the answer is LED headlight bulbs. LEDs are highly effective when it comes to energy consumption, can offer countless hours of light, and are very resistant in time. Because they consume so little energy, installing them on older cars can lead to the appearance of warnings on the car’s dashboard.
The car will announce you that the lights are not working, as it detects a very low level of energy being consumed by these particular headlight bulbs.
Why LED headlight bulbs are not suitable for all car makes?
This depends very much on the age of a car. Some cars will work well with an LED light bulb upgrade, while others will not be able to support this kind of technology. There are also cases in which warnings may appear, as mentioned earlier.
This is due to the fact that LED headlight bulbs are made to function in a more effective manner, with a minimum consumption of resources.
Where can I find out if I can upgrade my car’s headlight bulbs?
You should definitely talk with a specialist if you want to upgrade your car’s headlight bulbs. You need to make sure that the upgrade is possible for your car model. Also, check the local regulations concerning the type of upgrades you can make to your car, so you won’t have unpleasant surprises if you want to opt for light bulbs with a bluish light, for example.
There is no doubt that a car can’t function without proper headlight bulbs installed in the right place. The headlights of a car have a clear purpose and the headlight bulbs will make sure that this purpose is achieved. Cars were made to increase the comfort of our lives, but they should be used in conditions of maximum security.
This also means using the right types of headlight bulbs at all times. If you notice that the existent headlight bulbs are fading or do not deliver an adequate level of light, you should replace them right away.
If you want to replace your car’s headlight bulbs fast and without spending too much money, regular halogen or filament headlight bulbs are the most adequate option. They are still widely used and will fit almost any car make. Not to mention that they are very affordable.
In case you consider an upgrade, you should talk to a professional first. He should see if the desired upgrade is possible and recommend the best types of headlight bulbs in your case. Do not purchase a different type of headlight bulbs than the one that is already on your car, before checking if they are suitable for your car. Otherwise, you may end up not being able to use the bulbs you just purchased.