Automotive lighting technology has advanced considerably in the last few years and it is now easier then ever to upgrade your headlight bulbs to produce a much more powerful and brighter light so you don’t have to put up with the standard and dull headlight bulbs that were fitted to the car when it was first produced.
Brighter headlights can really give you car a night time look than makes it stand out from the crowd, whilst also making driving safer and less stressful, as you can see much further into the darkness, especially on unlit roads. h7 bulbs are the most popular fitting for headlights – closely followed by h1 bulbs.
Essentially there are two different ways ways to upgrade your headlight bulbs and which are listed below:
1. Install xenon bulbs
2. Install high wattage headlight bulbs
Each system has its own unique features and merits so within this lens I will talk about each on in turn.
Replacing Your Headlight Bulbs with Xenon Bulbs
In order to understand how the latest xenon bulbs work, it is a good idea to first look at the basic principles that allow a light bulb produce light.
When you switch on your headlight bulbs, the tiny metal filament that you can see through the glass heats up to a very high temperature, almost to the point of melting. However the filament doesn’t burn up because there is no oxygen inside the glass bulb.
Normal bulbs, like the ones you would use in household lights are filled with a basic inert gas that lacks oxygen, however back in the 1960′s headlight bulb manufacturers realised that if they filled the glass bulb with a halogen gas, instead of the basic inert gas, the light would be much brighter.
Now, thanks to further research and development by car bulb manufacturers like Osram, it is possible to fill the glass bulbs with pressurised xenon gas, which results in a bulb that is even brighter than a halogen bulb.
In addition the car bulb manufacturers have redesigned the filament and used high grade materials to optimise the light that is produced by the xenon, creating the brightest headlight bulbs ever.
How bright are Xenon Bulbs?
Well, the very best of the latest generation of xenon bulbs can produce up to 90% more light than that produced by halogen bulbs, the light is much whiter and the beam that the emit stretches a further 35 meters into the darkness.
What About High Wattage Headlight Bulbs?
As their name suggests high wattage headlight car bulbs operate at a much high wattage, and so are considerably more brighter than standard halogen bulbs. Normally a headlight bulbs operates at around 50-55 watts, whereas high wattage bulbs can be around 100 to 130 watts, meaning they are nearly three times brighter.
In a caomparison between high wattage bulbs and upgrade xenon bulbs, the high wattage headlight bulbs will always be brighter. However high wattage bulbs do have one very big draw back…. they are not legal on public roads, because they are so bright they can easily blind oncoming drivers.
Despite not being road legal high wattage headlight bulbs have a wide range of automotive uses, especially in areas where a lot of light is required.
Typical vehicles that use high wattage headlight bulbs are:
- Forestry or Construction Services
- Rally Cars
- Off Road 4×4′s
- Emergency Vehicles
- Agricultural Vehicles
- Track Day Cars
One final point to note if you are considering fitting high wattage headlight bulbs is that they generate a lot more heat than standard car bulbs, and place a higher load through a vehicles electrical system, so its a good idea to check you vehicles wiring can cope with the extra load.
How Long Should My New Upgrade Headlight Bulbs Last?
Its important to remember that both the upgrade xenon bulbs and the high wattage headlight bulbs are high performance items, that have been tweaked to the max to give the best lighting performance possible. As such these bulbs will not last as long as a standard headlight bulbs, which has a typical life span of 400 to 600 hours, but will deliver vastly superior light output from you car headlights.
Quality does vary between the various xenon bulb manufacturers, however normally you can expect a xenon bulb to last half as long as a standard bulb, so expect between 200 to 300 hours of life.
The lifespan of a high wattage headlight bulb depends greatly on their wattage, so whilst they will not last as long as a standard bulb, a 80 watt headlight bulb will last much longer than a 130 watt version. [squidoo.com/headlightbulbs]