HID Headlights Explained

August 08, 2019 5 min read

Sometimes good things can come with a slightly higher price tag. However, when the product ends up paying for itself in the not-so-long run, you realize how important it is to choose a higher quality product in the first place. The investment is truly worth while. So, say “hello” to your new favorite type of headlight. You will love high intensity discharge (HID) lamps in more ways than you ever thought.

These mega bright wonders have made headlines in the market. Their only rival product is the LED headlight. This shows you that halogens don’t even make the mark in terms of market comparison, and are slowly becoming a thing of the past. It is not just a matter of aesthetics, but also of durability, quality of projection and, believe it or not, affordability. An HID headlight will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to worry about switching headlights in a long time. Safety, security, and durability are priceless.

How do HID headlights work?

The first thing you may need to know is that you can have HID headlights installed in your car, no matter what year or model your car is. If you are tired of that weaker, glowly yellow hue that emanates from your halogen bulbs, you are in luck. There has never been a better time to get the top quality lightning you deserve.

The second thing you should know is how these lights work, and how they are different from halogens.

What we normally do is compare a halogen light to a wicker candle. Candles have a small filament in their centers, which needs to be lit by heat or fire in order for it to light up and do its job. Similarly, halogen bulbs operate with a filament as well.

When heat is applied, the filament “lights up” and produces light. The power of the light depends entirely of the combination of energy versus heat expenditure that is produced in the process.

The issue with this is that halogen lights produce 20% energy and spend 80% heat, which is why they feel so warm to the touch. Since it is not a lot of energy produced in the process, the light will not be as powerful or as bright. Moreover, like a candle, if anything happens to the “wicker,” no light will be produced.

With halogen lights, if anything happens to the filament, then you run the risk of having your lights go out when you least expect it. Who needs that?

HIDs are different because they do not require any filament to operate. A gas called Xenon works as the conductor of light-producing energy. Once the gas is hit by an electric current, a magical pow wow of light comes to live, in a bright, glowing, crisp source that lasts three times longer than the average halogen light.

HIDs can be quite powerful, so do your research before you install. You want the right amount of lumens for the right amount of projection that won’t blind oncoming drivers. The best part is that HID burns with an electrical charge, which requires no burning of filaments. This means a cleaner, more environmentally sound option for a headlight. Working on a current means a longer lasting shine, which means less visits to the mechanic to fix your headlights, or to replace them altogether.

How do I know what to get?

Remember when we said that HIDs have a lumen output that is higher than halogens? A lumen is a unit of measurement that comes from what is known as the “luminous flux.” So, the luminous flux refers to the amount and duration of light produced within a period of time. The number of lumens gives you an idea of how bright and clear your light will be.

Basically, since HID lights are so powerful, they are categorized into grades of luminosity, which determine how bright they are. Suffice to say, an HID can go as high as 12000K in luminosity. Maybe you do not need your headlights to be so bright...but maybe you do!

Another cool benefit of HIDs is that you can also pick a temperature for your lights. Yes, you heard right: temperature. This is the name given to the tint of color that you want your lights to emit. This can help you complete the look and feel that you want for your headlights. For example, you can choose your lights in a cool,blueish- purple hue, or you can opt for a warmer, golden-yellow option. Additionally, you can also choose a bright, snow-white finish. The choice is yours. You do not have any choice with halogens.

Why consider HIDs

Here’s a scenario for many of us who live in the outskirts. Imagine having to drive cross-country. You hit a deserted area with not a single gas station, restaurant, or human life in sight. You still have about four hours of travel time before you hit the next city. Your safety is at the mercy of a few things: the amount of gas in your tank, your seatbelt, your breaks, and the headlights that are guiding your journey.

Now, imagine what would happen if your headlights suddenly decided to get tired and die out. What would you do? There is no way to swap a headlight in the middle of nowhere, with no light or tools. Once your halogens go off they are off for good. It’s game over.

Even more important is the range of projection. HIDs have the broad range of projection you need to brighten your journey from afar, protecting you from unexpected, incoming dangers such as animals on the loose, oncoming traffic, debris, meteorites, aliens, you name it. You will feel more protected knowing exactly what awaits ahead.

In another scenario, it is illegal to have faulty headlights in some states, which will put you at risk of getting a ticket. In other words, why risk your safety and sanity by owning weak headlights that you cannot rely upon?

Long lasting everything

Now that you know that HIDs are better for safety reasons, let’s focus on your budget. HIDs are not as expensive as people think. They simply are higher in price because they are made better due to the sophisticated way they work. You can’t expect a winery to bottle their good wine in a plastic cup, right? Well, you cannot produce up to 12000k of luminosity in just a regular glass bulb.

Keep in mind, that his slightly higher price makes up for any need to change headlights in the future. You won’t have to worry about swapping headlights in a good chunk of time. Since HIDs do not consume so much energy, or produce so much heat, you will be doing your gas usage a favor. These lights won’t drag energy from your gas tank. They operate essentially on their own.

What would be my next step?

Your next step is to get yourself a HID headlight kit and take the time to sort your kit items, read the directions, and go at it on your own. Yes! You can easily DIY your HID kit by simply following the instructions provided in your kit. It takes around 15-30 minutes per headlight to complete a replacement.

If you are not too sure that you can do it yourself, simply go to your nearest shop and have a mechanic mount your lights professionally for a small fee. You will know which kit to get to fit your car. Moreover, you get to select your level of brightness and temperature. Get the look you want and the safety you need.

MO Harake
MO Harake