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Are all headlight bulbs the same?

Are all headlight bulbs the same?

There are several types of bulbs for your vehicle's headlights, including halogen, HID, and LED. For better visibility on the road, especially at night or in unlit areas, it's important that your headlights are on. So make sure you choose the right bulb for the type of headlight you need. There are a number of different types of headlight bulbs available.

What is a headlight bulb?

A car headlight is a device that illuminates the road, giving you better visibility. As such, it plays a safety role. It's especially useful when driving on unlit roads or at night. To do this, the headlight needs a bulb called a headlight bulb.

Although we generally talk about headlights in everyday language, it's the headlight bulb that provides the necessary light. This gives you a clear view of the road and makes you visible to other drivers.

There are several criteria to consider when choosing a headlight bulb:

  • Wattage: Information about the wattage in watts and the electrical voltage in volts is printed on the headlight bulb.
  • The type of socket: this is usually asymmetrical. Therefore, it can only be mounted in one direction.
  • Function: here you need to be interested in the type of headlight it will be installed in. As a reminder, a vehicle can have low beam, high beam, parking light, fog light, reverse light, and so on.


Halogen - The Cheapest Headlight Bulbs

Halogen bulbs have a filament and a halogen gas. When current flows through the filament, it heats up and generates light. Halogen bulbs are less expensive than other types, but they are less durable and not as bright. Installing this type of bulb is more complicated because of the fragility of the bulb. When handling a halogen bulb, be careful not to leave fingerprints on the glass. The presence of an oily substance on the glass surface (such as sebum from the skin of your fingers) will shorten the life of the bulb. This is due to a chemical reaction between the grease and the heat generated by the bulb. But if you accidentally touch it, don't panic: just wipe it clean with a cloth.

The incandescent bulb is a technology that is on its way out of the automotive industry. The filament produces about 90% of the heat and only 10% of the light. Halogen technology loses a lot of energy to red and infrared electromagnetic waves. This is the reason for its high power consumption and short life. These traditional incandescent bulbs have a life span of 200 to 600 hours. Halogen bulbs are also very fragile and do not withstand shock and vibration very well.

HID - The Brightest Headlight Bulbs

HID (High Intensity Discharge) bulbs are most commonly found in luxury vehicles. These bulbs use electrodes to heat the gas (usually xenon) that produces light. However, this type of bulb can take a few seconds to reach full brightness. They are usually brighter than halogen bulbs and LEDs, but less durable than LEDs. There is some question about the legality of HIDs because their brightness can cause glare and distraction to other drivers. When installed by the manufacturer, HID bulbs are perfectly legal. On the other hand, if you use a HID conversion kit to convert your halogen bulbs to HIDs, you risk being fined.

In summary, xenon bulbs are a complex technology, but were a true revolution in their time, whether it was in energy efficiency, performance or light color. Unlike halogen bulbs, xenon bulbs have a color similar to daylight. The xenon bulb does not waste energy heating a tungsten filament; it simply creates an electric arc to ignite the xenon gas, which requires less power. As a result, xenon headlights last longer than halogen bulbs, approximately 1,000 to 2,500 hours for xenon and only 200 to 600 hours for a halogen bulb.

The main advantage of xenon is its light output of 3000 lumens and minimal power consumption of 35 watts, compared to 1500 lumens and 55 watts for a halogen bulb. Xenon technology gives drivers better visibility and a clearer beam. Note that while xenon headlights are energy efficient, they are subject to high electromagnetic losses, especially in the violet and ultraviolet ranges.

LED - The Longest Lasting Headlight Bulbs

LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs are made of semiconductor materials that emit light when an electric current is applied. They can last up to 70 times longer than a halogen bulb. Although they are more expensive than halogens, LED bulbs stand out in a number of ways.

Proper cooling of the LED increases its life and light output. It's important to note that LED bulbs are the most durable bulbs available. The lifespan of an LED bulb varies from 2,000 to 5,000 hours. That's enough to last the life of many vehicles, which means you may never have to replace LED bulbs. It uses less energy than conventional systems, making it attractive to use.

When should a headlight bulb be replaced?

Headlight bulbs do not have a specific life expectancy. However, the average life can vary depending on the model. For example, an H7 halogen bulb will last approximately 450 hours or 40,000 kilometers. Of course, this can be extended. In these cases, remember to check the condition of your headlight bulbs every 2 years or 7,500 kilometers.

It may happen that your headlight bulbs don't light up properly, that they start to glow, flicker and go out, or that they don't light up at all. In the latter case, your headlight bulbs are burnt out. You need to replace them quickly.

We recommend that you replace your headlight bulbs in pairs. This will avoid having a difference in illumination between the two, which will affect your visibility on the road.

Although it's not required, we strongly recommend that you always keep a set of headlight bulbs in your glove box. This will allow you to change your faulty headlight bulb immediately and continue riding in complete safety.

How do I change a bulb in my car?

In a modern vehicle, it is relatively easy to change the bulbs in your low or high beam headlights. First, you need the right bulb. Check your owner's manual to find out which bulb you need for your vehicle. The bulb should be changed in a dry, bright place outdoors or in a well-lit garage. A small flashlight may be helpful. To install the new bulbs, you'll need a pair of clean cotton gloves or dish towels to handle the new bulb.

On most car headlights, you will first need to remove a plastic cover. Covers are usually designed to snap on. Once the cover is removed, you can disconnect the connector from the old bulb. When you do this, make sure you only pull on the plug and not on the wires. Now you can remove the old bulb. Make sure the two bulbs match before installing the new bulb.

Do not touch the glass bulb of the new lamp with your bare hands or fingers. Greasy skin will shorten the life of the lamp. Wear gloves or use paper towels and only touch the base of the lamp if possible. The new bulb can only be inserted in one position and will lock into place. You can then reinsert the bulb and replace the cap. You should then check that the headlight works again.

The headlight bulb is an essential part of your headlight. It gives you a better view of the road and makes you more visible to other road users. Remember to check them regularly to make sure they're in good condition. If they fail, replace them quickly to avoid taking risks on the road.

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