Your car headlights are a great place to start when you want the safest driving situation possible. Knowing the type of headlights available to you and their strengths and weaknesses is a good step to avoiding car wrecks and other expensive, and potentially dangerous, situations.
Halogen When you think of traditional headlights, you are likely thinking of halogen bulbs. With a glass casing, they work like your light bulbs at home, generating large amounts of heat and a yellowish light. Reflectors are placed around the halogen bulb to focus the light on the road. They are extremely affordable both to make and to buy and are used on most model cars because they are available in a number of different sizes. Also, halogen bulbs will produce around 1000 hours of low light and around 350 hours on your high beams.
Unlike halogen bulbs, you are likely to find xenon headlights on more luxurious vehicles mainly because of the cost of production and installation. Xenon bulbs burn xenon gas that is trapped inside allowing for a much longer life span (more than double the life of a halogen bulb) and less wasted heat energy. This also results in less fuel and carbon dioxide emissions making the xenon bulb a more environmentally conscious choice. The set back, other than the cost, of xenon headlights are their potential detrimental effect on oncoming traffic. The immense light that is produced coupled with the blue color that comes from the xenon gas has been known to cause visibility issues for other drivers, potentially ending in a car accident.
A third option are LED headlights, which are commonly used on hybrid vehicles because they need so little power and have a life span that is more than ten times that of halogen and xenon bulbs. LED bulbs produce light by moving electricity through a semiconductor. They are small and can be used for blinker lights or brake lights or combined to be used as headlights. If you don’t prefer yellow or blue light, you may find the white light that is emitted from LED bulbs more fitting, but they do have high production costs. Also, even though no heat is emitted from the bulb itself, there is a certain amount of heat that collects near the bottom of the emitter, and it can potentially cause damage to cables and any assemblies near it.
The Bottom Line
Your vehicle and preferences will dictate the type of headlight you want. If cost is the most important factor, than a halogen bulb is for you. Just be prepared to do regular maintenance, but you will receive an adequate amount of light to drive safely and avoid collisions. If price doesn’t matter and you like the sleek look of blue light, a wider light span, plus the environmentally savvy energy output, then the xenon bulb is best. Just keep in mind that other drivers can be affected by the brightness. Finally, if you want a bulb that you will rarely ever have to replace and white light that takes very little power at all, then the LED light fits. Choose wisely because your headlights are one of your main defenses when facing the hazards of the road.