When it comes to equipping your vehicle with HID headlights, you have a lot of options, which can make the process somewhat confusing. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you decide which HID headlights are right for your car, truck, or SUV.
What Are HID Headlights?
HID stands for high-intensity discharge, which indicates that bulbs are brighter than standard headlights. An HID headlight contains an HID light bulb, which consists of two electrodes encased in a glass enclosure. This enclosure is filled with xenon gas and metal salts. Because they contain xenon gas, some manufacturers refer to HID headlights as xenon lights. There are many benefits to equipping your vehicle with HID headlights. These benefits include:
- Efficiency – HID headlights produce more light than halogen lights while consuming less energy. This improved efficiency can help your car, truck, or SUV conserve more fuel.
- Better Visibility – Because HID headlights produce more light, they provide you with better visibility than halogen headlights. Not only do they allow you to see farther, but HID headlights make it easier for other drivers to see your vehicle.
- Durability – Halogen lights contain filaments, which are very fragile and easily break if you’re driving on a poorly maintained road. Because HID headlights don’t use filaments, they’re more durable and last longer than halogen headlights. The typical HID light bulb has a 5,000-hour lifespan.
- Selection – Most halogen lights produce a yellowish light. HID headlights, because they’re brighter, give you a greater selection of colors.
- Appearance – Many drivers prefer HID headlights because they produce a cleaner light, which looks better than the glow produced by halogen lights.
- Installation – HID lights are typically easy to install. The kits are available across a variety of price points and will include everything you need to install them.
- Value – If you’re planning on selling or trading in your car, truck, or SUV, keep in mind that some buyers prefer HID headlights. Equipping your vehicle with HID headlights can make it more appealing to buyers.
Types of HID Headlights
There are two main types of HID headlights. Which type you should choose depends on your specific needs and your budget.
Standard HID Headlights
Standard HID headlights are suitable for vehicles that require one light bulb for low beams and another bulb for high beams. This type of lighting system is known as a single-beam headlight system. In a single-beam system, a halogen bulb is used for the main beam, and the HID bulb is used for the low beam.
Some cars come equipped with a dual-beam headlight system, which is compatible with bi-xenon headlights. This system uses one type of bulb to produce both the high beam and the low beam. Some bi-xenon headlights use shields to switch from the low-beam setting to the high-beam setting, while other bi-xenon headlights use reflectors. Because bi-xenon headlights have more moving parts than standard HID headlights, they cost more and require more maintenance. Also, bi-xenon headlights do not work in cars with single-beam headlight systems.
How To Choose HID Headlights
When choosing the right HID headlights for your car, truck, or SUV, there are several factors to consider, including:
- Your Vehicle’s Headlight System – If your vehicle has a single-beam headlight system, then you can’t equip it with bi-xenon headlights. They won’t function correctly in your vehicle.
- Price – If you set a budget, this will narrow down your options even further.
- Lumens – How many lumens a light bulb has will determine how bright your HID headlights actually are. Check the packaging to see how many lumens are in HID bulbs. The higher the number, the brighter the headlights will be.
- Wattage – If you’re concerned about efficiency, you’ll want to go with a set of HID headlights that have a lower wattage. Again, you can check the packaging to see how much wattage a set of headlights has.
- Ballasts – HID kits either have a DC ballast or an AC ballast. DC ballasts produce more energy, which means they’ll drain your vehicle’s battery faster. They also produce more heat, which means they can wear out faster. An AC ballast, on the other hand, is cheaper, consumes less battery power, and produces less heat.
- Color – HID headlight colors range from yellowish to indigo.
- Ease of Installation – If you’re planning on installing your new HID headlights yourself, you might want to choose a kit that offers plug-and-play installation. If you want a professional to install your headlights, it’s ok to go with a more complicated kit. Just be sure to factor in labor costs when you’re setting a budget.
- State Restrictions – Some states restrict how bright your headlights can be. Your state might also ban headlight colors other than white or yellow. Consult your state’s department of motor vehicles to ensure that your HID headlights are street legal.
- Vehicle Age – If you’re thinking about trading in your vehicle for a new model, you may not want to spend time and money on installing new lights. Depending on how old your car is, you may not be able to find a compatible HID headlight kit.
How To Install HID Headlights
Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.
After you’ve selected the right HID headlights for your car, truck, or SUV, you’ll need to install them.
Remove the Old Bulbs
Pop open your vehicle’s hood and remove the cap from the rear of the headlight assembly. Then remove the stock bulbs. You may want to wear gloves for protection.
Place the HID Bulbs
Place the HID bulbs into the headlight housing. Don’t touch the bulb glass because you’ll smear it. If you do accidentally touch the glass, you can clean it with rubbing alcohol.
Connect the HID Bulbs
After placing the HID lights in the housing, you’ll need to connect the bulbs to the ballast, then connect the ballast to the stock socket.
Test the HID Lights
Test your new headlights to see if they light up. If they don’t, flip the adapter 180 degrees. If the headlights still fail to light up, flip the adapter again by 180 degrees.
Where To Buy HID Headlights
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