During the dark nights and heavy rainstorms, your car’s headlights are the ones lighting up the roads ahead for you to see, giving you the vision needed to drive when vision is bad. So here’s what you should know about the different types of headlights.

The different types of headlight bulbs

You may have noticed that some cars have brighter or even different coloured lights shining out of their headlights compared to your car. This is because there are many different types of bulbs for headlights on the market, and with technology, brighter bulbs are getting more common and are better for improving vision at night and during heavy downpours.

Most cars are equipped with Halogen bulbs, which are the most conventional and common type on the market, where they have a distinctive yellow shine that most people will recognize. Halogen bulbs work by having a type of gas inside the bulb, and when current passes through it will light up brightly. Halogen bulbs are the cheapest to produce, but also have a shorter lifespan and are dimmer compared to other types.

Some higher-end cars might be equipped with Xenon or HID (high-intensity discharge) bulbs, which are bulbs filled with Xenon gas, hence the name. When current passes through, it can shine way brighter than halogen bulbs and their lifespan is also longer. But Xenon lights usually take a while to reach their maximum potential, and their range is smaller compared to halogens, while also having a higher price tag.

Most modern cars now have ditched the above for LED (light-emitting diode) lights, which have been slowly replacing the lighting in all use cases, not only for car headlights. LEDs lights work by passing current through a semiconductor, the diode, which then lights up. LED lights are bright like Xenons, but use less power and are instant when turning them on or off, and because LEDs are so small, they can be arranged into sleek looking patterns in headlights.

Possible to change headlight bulbs?

If you’re changing out the bulb or upgrading to a better bulb of the same type, you need to make sure you get the correct size for your car’s headlights, as there are different sizes that manufacturers use. A simple google can or by reading your user manual can help you determine the size of your bulbs.

If you want to upgrade your Halogen lights to Xenons or Leds, depending on the aftermarket availability, there may be plug-and-play kits available, and changing it is as easy as swapping your bulbs out. But Halogens and Leds work differently as they use different wattages, but most kits will have that part covered.

If you change your bulbs, make sure to readjust their shine as similar to the original, this can be done by shining your headlights at a wall at a suitable distance, making sure it isn’t too high which will blind oncoming drivers and too low which will disrupt your vision.