Wednesday, March 20, 2019

With this guide, you will be able to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the different type of Headlights that are available in the market today.

We understand that the process of replacing one’s headlight light bulbs can be a daunting task.

Ideally, different types of vehicles will require a specific type of headlight bulbs. Some vehicles are suited for the low/high beam combo while others are suited for fog, low beam, and high beam type of bulbs. It is never surprising to find one type of headlight bulb working best in one type of vehicle but behaving terribly in another.

But we are here for you. Any question that you have on headlight bulbs will be answered. We have a team of professionals who have put their expertise into use to make this replacement bulb size guide a success.

So what is the right bulb type for your vehicle? Users are always reminded to use the correct wattage and the right bulb type when replacing their current headlight bulbs.

Headlight bulb types chart

Tools to use to figure the right bulb type

You can easily use our recommended online bulb finder to figure out the right type of bulb for your vehicle’s model, make, and year.

Users are also reminded to always wear safety glasses when replacing their headlight bulbs for safety reasons.
The procedures for replacing a headlight bulb

  • Start by opening your car’s hood.
  • Slowly turn the power connector at the back of the headlight so as to safely remove it.
  • Slowly twist the dust cover located at the back headlight so as to remove it.
  • Press down the clip that may be holding the bulb in position.
  • Firmly hold the housing of the bulb and remove it.
  • Gently wipe your new bulb with moistened alcohol so as to remove all traces of dust.
  • Insert the bulb housing into position.
  • Now push the bulb into position and ensure that it’s firmly locked into position.
  • Proceed to replace the power connector, dust cover, and the clip if you have them with you.
  • Now turn own your headlights to ensure that they are working effectively.
  • Hurray! You did it!

Guide of headlight bulb color temperature

We cannot claim to provide a comprehensive headlight bulb guide without mention this topic. To start with, always know that the color of the light is always measured in K which is obtained by using the Kelvin scale.

A typical halogen bulb like those found in most cars will be classified as being of warm colors. For it to have an even more temperature, it has to pass through the tinted glass. Now you know why cars that have blue headlight bulbs end up producing white light. But the darker the tint is, the bluer the color will become.

Headlights alignment

Contrary to what many be people may be aware of, your car’s headlights are designed in a way that they would end up being a fi in countries that either drive on the left side or the right side.

This is why the headlights used for left-sided always have low-beam headlights that refract to the left. This allows the light to be disbursed in a way that it moves downward as a way of letting the driver see the road without having to blind oncoming traffic. The vice-versa is true for cars that are driven on the right side of the road.


SAE is a type of stamp that is majorly used in the US while the ECE Is used in European nations. The only difference between the two is only the allowed light intensity and the allowable amount of glare. For instance, America allows more glare.

Load adjustment

The term load adjustment, whenever used, implies that the headlights will typically adjust themselves bending downwards so as not to blind oncoming traffic depending on whether the car accelerates or decelerates.

Projector and reflector headlights

Projector headlights are used when one needs more control over the lights beams. Make no mistake, projector headlights and HID headlights are not the same. HID’s do indeed come in one type of projector housing. But not all projector headlight housing will use the HID bulbs.

Reflector headlamp allows the light to come from a bulb positioned at the center of the headlight using shielding the lights off the sides of the housing. Using this type if headlights will allow the light to be spread out in front of the car on the road.

Understanding wattage

Many people tend to get this aspect absolutely wrong. If you want more light, simply go for more watts. It is that simple. You cannot, for instance, compare the light output of a 40Wlight bulb with a 150 W light bulb.

A marking such as 65/55W means that the low beam is 55W and the high beam is 65W.

Comparing halogen vs LED vs. HID

Halogen headlight is still the main type of headlight found in most cars today. But new technologies such as LED and HID are slowly replacing the halogens headlights. Let’s get into them right away.

Halogen Headlights

Halogen lights contain a mixture of argon and nitrogen together with a tungsten filament contained in a glass tube. The glass tube is designed in a way that it will withstand high temperatures. As soon as the light bulb comes in contact with the electrical current from the car, the tungsten will be heated generating light in the process.

The automotive world comes as the most common type of headlight bulbs with it being installed in over 80% of the cars today. There are mainly preferred for their cheaper prices and the fact that they have a good lifecycle.

But they also come with their own weaknesses where there are notoriously dim and infective when compared to other lighting options. While a standard halogen bulb will end up producing up to 1300 Lumen, there are still far much better lighting options in the market.

The very fact that there are also highly sensitive to other substances makes them be infective. Even touching them with your palm will alter the spread of heat lowering their lifespans in the process.

High-Intensity Discharge (HID)

Introduced back in the 90s, they are still being used up to date. The HID contain a mixture of rare metals and gases that harmoniously combine to produce blue or white glows. In fact, legislators have made it a requirement that all new cars must have such type of illumination.

The HIDs have many advantages such as the fact that apart from the white light that they produce, they also produce a blue light that contributes to the aesthetic beauty of one’s car. Compared to halogen bulbs, HID’s are white as bright.

Using HID lamps come with an increased vision which also equally increase the reaction time to unforeseen danger ahead, especially at night. Their only downside is the fact that they require much power to illuminate but once they are lit, they end up using less power than halogens. Additionally, the fact that they use rare metal means that they are not cheap which makes them be expensive when replacing them.

Light emitting diodes (LED)

You may be surprised to learn that LED car lights have been in existent as early as 2004 but have only gained popularity in recent times.

The main reason why the LED bulbs are popular is the fact that they are very energy efficient. Compared to halogen bulbs that will use up to 65W and HID using 42W, LED bulbs will use only between 15 and 18 watts. What is even more appealing with the LED bulbs is the fact that they have a long lifespan of up to 40000 hours which means that they can even last the entire lifespan of your car. Pretty incredible right?

LED bulbs are also small in size which means that they can be designed into any design. Their brightness levels are also good keeping in mind that they fall somewhere in between the Halogen and HID light bulbs.

But just most things on this planet. LED bulbs have their own weaknesses. The fact that LED bulbs end creating a small of heat at the emitter when they come into contact with the electrical current, they may end up damaging certain parts of the car such as the connectivity and assembly cables.

Now you know why the use of LED headlights tends to require the additional use of a cooling system together with hit sinks to prevent them from melting.

Even more interesting is the fact that the cooling system is not positioned on the headlights but on the engine body. This fact alone means that manufacturers tend to have a hard time headlights for certain models and makes. This fact alone paints a good picture of why they tend to be expensive when compared to all the other types of lighting system.


For a majority of car model today, the HID lighting system is only used for low beams. This means that the high beam lighting is provided by the halogens light. This is mainly the reason as high beams tend to be switched on and off, which HID is not adapted to.

But for vehicles that have bi-xenon headlights fitted on them, HIDs will be sued to provide both the high and low beam by using a shutter that generally moves up and down when triggered. With the bulb being in position, they would be no delay witnessed when turning it on.

Moreover, bi-xenon lamps often use two bulbs. This fact alone makes them be expensive. The shutter that is used to move the bulb is vulnerable to wear and tear which means that it can malfunction at any given time. But standards Xenon headlights got past this limitation by getting rid of the shutters altogether.

Laser headlight

Whenever one mentions the word laser, many minds tend to drift to the world of Star Wars and other science fiction productions. In such cases, lasers are used as a weapon of deadly causes. But when used in a real life, lasers are not that dangerous.

In fact, many stakeholders believe that lasers would be the next big thing to happen to headlight technologies. This is mainly the case as laser are known to be energy efficient as well as producing brighter lights.

But the only problem is the fact that lasers are so new in the headlight market that only a small number of cars are making use of them. Only rich people who can afford to buy high-end cars can enjoy the power of the laser headlights.

Final Remarks

After everything is said and done, users are reminded to always seek a balance between performance, longevity, and price.

This is mainly the case as headlight bulb manufacturers tend to charge more for bulbs that are whiter and very bright as well. This means that brighter bulbs that have higher color temperature and higher light output will cost more. But if you have no problem purchasing them at higher prices, well and good.

Users should also keep in mind that when it comes to halogen headlight bulbs, the types that end up being white and brighter tend not to last long. As such, you may easily end up being overcharged for a product that would not last long in the end.

The next part is very important for users who want to start using high-end products such as HIDs and LEDs headlights bulbs. The one thing you will be sure of is the fact that you will get a guaranteed white light much brighter and with a lasting life span.

Just keep in mind, if you have a brighter and white halogen headlight bulb, you will have a shorter lifespan. This is the case as higher light output bulbs tend to run more intensely and hotter at the same time this lowering shortening the lifespan of that bulb.

While a high output halogen bulb is expected to last for a year, LED and HIDs will last between 3 and 4 years.

By now, you have all the information you need on headlight light bulbs. We hope that you will make the right decisions.

Most often in the automotive market you can find light bulbs with a different designation. It is carried out according to the common European standard ECE. It uses the following encryption:
T – miniature base lamp, for example, T4W;
R  – light bulb having a base diameter of 15 mm, bulb diameter is 19 mm (R10W);
P  – light bulb having a base diameter of 15 mm, and the bulb diameter does not exceed 26.5 mm (P15W);
W  – lamp with glass base (W4W);
H  – halogen light (H5W);
Y – the presence of this letter in front of the number indicates the orange color of the bulb (PY21W).