Car headlights and lighting, in general, has evolved a lot in the past century. You could say that car lighting has moved along and advanced at the same speed as cars and their technology has. This great article shows just how much our car lighting has changed.
For instance, if you were living in 1880, you’d only have acetylene at your disposal. This was because acetylene lamps were unresponsive to the wind. However, cars at the time didn’t travel at the same speed that cars now do. So, obviously, acetylene lamps just don’t work.
Now we have many more options though, you don’t have to settle for just what’s given.
Let’s see what you can do to improve your visibility on the road.
Which Types of Headlights Are On The Market?
Now that we’re back in the 21st century, you have many headlight bulbs at your disposal.
First off, there are halogen bulbs which are a tiny bit outdated as they don’t last that long and their light isn’t that bright. In addition to that, many countries are banning halogen bulbs (at least in homes) so a ban of halogen lights in the vehicles might be underway too.
Here, you can see what Europe thinks about halogen bulbs: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/23/europe-to-ban-halogen-lightbulbs
Then, we have slightly more advanced HID bulbs. They work in a really cool way -- no metal filament, just a small lightning bolt of sorts in a contained space. In fact, they use xenon gas to make it work. However, these are not allowed everywhere due to excessive brightness.
Finally, we have LED lights that look amazing and provide a ton of light. They are easy to install in any car and work really well.
So, which one should you choose?
These lights came as an improvement to incandescent lights which are still placed in classic automobiles. They are still a standard headlight option in cars, although this is slowly changing.
Halogens used in cars are bromine and iodine in combination to prevent the filament from breaking and darkening. Halogens are really warm because there is electricity that goes through this filament and then lights the bulb up. All of this means that you could get burned if you try to handle these improperly when they are still hot.
Besides, if your hands are wet or sweaty at least a little bit, you might ruin their performance completely.
On the other hand, these are cheap to make and to buy. Their light output is low but has a yellow hue. You already might have these in your car and you might also notice that they are underperforming on the road. But the good thing is that you can easily find places with the best selection of HID and LED headlight kits which can give you more in every sense, especially in brightness and durability.
A simple conversion takes less than 30 minutes and you can enjoy much better performance.
HID stands for high-intensity discharge. As mentioned, there’s no metal filament and they use xenon gas to make light. This type of bulb creates a bright light in the white or blue hue -- again, think of a lighting bolt.
Of course, they are better than halogen lights in the fact that they don’t create as much heat. However, they don’t turn on immediately in the full brightness as they need some time to heat up and work properly.
But, once you give them a minute to warm up, they can be really bright. Blindingly so.
This is why, as mentioned, there are some countries that have banned them because of the brightness.
They produce around 3000 lumens and can last around 2000 hours -- they are very durable. Their color temperature might be irritating to other drivers as their color temperature ranges between 5000K and 6000K -- this means that they are bright white.
The other downside of these is that it takes them a while to get to their full potential and they can be more expensive than halogens.
LED stands for light-emitting diodes. These are frequently used in newer models, but you can easily add them to just about any type of car. And there are many reasons to do it. For one, they are economical in terms of energy usage and durability. No heat is created in this process, so the handling might be easier and the lights will last longer.
Keep in mind that LED lights are a bit more expensive, but for that small increase in the initial price, they give back in the fact that they last for a really long time and provide an immense amount of light. They will keep you safe on the road and they will not blind other drivers.