Understanding The Different Types Of Car Headlights
Car headlights, also known as car headlamps, are without a doubt one of the most essential safety features of a car. They are the lights attached to the front of the car to aid visibility at night or in bad weather conditions by illuminating the road ahead so you can navigate the road better.
Most of the cars today have electrically operated headlights which produce two types of beams, high beams and low beams and the difference between the two is the distribution of the light.
High beams are also known as main beams, full beams, brights or driving beams. High beam headlights shine their light straight ahead and can illuminate the road and increase your visibility by up to 400 feet ahead. There is no restriction on the light and it is beamed upward as well as forward. High beam headlights should only be used at night when the area is dark and when you cannot see enough of the road in front of you to drive safely such as in rural areas, outside cities and in low traffic areas. High beams produce too much glare for other drivers on the road so it is important to dim the lights when there are oncoming vehicles, or when you are approaching another vehicle from behind so you do not blind the other drivers. High beam headlights can also cause back dazzle from reflection from fog, rain and snow because of the refraction of water droplets and can be extremely dangerous when used in adverse weather conditions. Never use high beam headlights in these conditions but rather switch to low beams and fog lights.
Low beams are also known as dipped beams and they direct the light forward and down which illuminates the road ahead but does not blind other drivers approaching in the opposite direction as there is no excessive glare or backdazzle.
Three Main Types Of Headlights
There are three main types of headlights: Halogen, LED, HID or ‘xenon’. Let us discuss these different types in a bit more depth.
Halogen headlights are the most common headlight in use today as they are affordable, they are durable, they are dimmable and are easy to replace. Most modern headlights contain halogen bulbs but there are some downsides. These bulbs burn hot so they are not as energy efficient as LED and HID headlamps, giving them a somewhat shorter lifespan. They are not as bright as other headlight options but they are fine for the average driver.
LED stands for Light emitting diode and LED headlights generate almost no heat, instead they convert most of their energy into light. LED headlights illuminate by electroluminescence and as such they are energy efficient, last much longer, reduce emissions and preserve your car’s battery. Generally speaking, LED headlight bulbs provide more light than halogen headlight bulbs but less than HID headlight bulbs. They also cost a bit more than your halogen bulbs.
HID headlights (Xenons)
High intensity discharge (HID) headlights, otherwise known as ‘xenons’ are considerably brighter than other options, sometimes up to three times brighter than a halogen light. They have a long lifespan, are more energy efficient than halogen lights and illuminate a larger area of road/ground than other types but they can also cause a blinding glare for oncoming traffic.
How To Determine Which Headlight Is Right For You
At the end of the day, you need to decide which type best fits your needs. HID headlights are best if you do a lot of night driving, especially on country roads as they are the brightest and will aid with visibility. If you are on a tight budget, halogen headlights are more than likely your best option whilst LED headlights may be best if you are looking to lower emission without compromising on brightness.
Wear And Tear
Like all car parts, headlights are subject to wear & tear and deteriorate with age, becoming less efficient over time. They lose their brightness if they have been used for too long a period, the lens cover becomes cloudy and they become dull or discoloured which reduces light output and therefore makes them unsafe on the road. You may also find that there is a cracked or broken bulb or a bad filament that needs to be replaced. A failing headlight should be taken to a mechanic and fixed immediately to keep you and your car both legal and safe. The mechanic should also check the angles of your headlights and make adjustments if necessary. Car headlights must be properly angled so as to give the driver optimum visibility and lighting, without affecting drivers approaching in the opposite direction.
Need A Replacement?
If you’re looking for a replacement or an upgrade, have a look at our AfricaBoyz Online where you will find a wide range of products for all brands and models of cars. We offer high quality, new parts at great prices, delivered to you via our courier service. With us, you can rest assured you will receive the right part that will fit your car and will arrive safely to whichever destination you choose.