Frequently Asked Questions
HID stands for High Intensity Discharge and is often used as a running light. An HID headlight contains an HID bulb that consists of two electrodes encased in a cylinder. They work by passing an electric current through the xenon gas that is inside the cylinder. This produces a very bright white light. Because they contain xenon gas, which is why they are often referred to as xenon headlights, HIDs are brighter, longer lasting and more efficient than halogens. During the 1990's, some luxury car manufacturers started to introduce HID lamps into cars. Xenon lights first appeared on BMWs. The HID bulbs were able to produce light at much higher levels of intensity while requiring smaller housings and are often found in luxury vehicles today.
You can rest assured that HID headlights are legal if you bought a new car and it came with HID headlights. But if you have an older car you'd like to upgrade, you need to know about HID conversion kits and your local laws. For example, California law has a few stipulations: They are an OEM feature on a vehicle. They are not aftermarket parts, they came standard with the vehicle. So if you want a legal HID, you have to make sure it's from the same make/model and year group as your car. Anything else is illegal.
The first way: Look at the outer lens cap. If the headlights are HID, the types will be D1R, D1S, D2R or D2S on the lens.
The second way: Observe the beam pattern. Turn on your headlights, drive up to a garage door, and look at the beam pattern.
If it's a yellow color, it has a typical output that's more like a halogen bulb.
If you turn on your headlights and it flashes for a second, then over time (about seven to 10 seconds), light peak power and it's a white light, that tends to be HID.
If you turn on your headlights and it's instantly on and a white light, that tends to be LED.
Technology: HID uses gas (Xenon).
Energy Usage: Both have higher energy consumption than halogen, but HIDs are slightly less energy efficient.
Lifespan: HIDs have a life expectancy of approximately 8,000 hours.
Light: Provide bright white light
Price: Approximately $20
Installation time: 25-60 minutes
Warm-up: Takes a few seconds to reach full brightness
Technology: LED lights use electricity
Energy Usage: Both have high energy consumption compared to halogen.
Life span: LED lights can last up to 20,000 hours
Light: A single LED cannot emit bright light, and a cluster of LEDs is usually required.
Price: About $35
Installation time: 5-25 minutes
Warm-up: LEDs do not require a warm-up
Colors: Yellow, white, blue and purple
Xenon headlights provide a wider range of visibility while driving.
HID headlights offer longer life than traditional bulbs. They last three times longer than halogen bulbs. This saves the driver money.
They offer lower energy consumption. Xenon headlights use less energy than halogen bulbs.
HID headlights are much more efficient, producing more light with less power.
Xenon headlights are much more attractive. The light from these types of headlights is cleaner. HID headlights are functional and stylish.
The brightness of the rearview mirror lighting. This is a problem for drivers in front of your vehicle.
The blue light from HID headlights is more scattered by water droplets than typical headlights.