These are the most, if not one of the most essential features of a car. They play a very significant role in ensuring safety and drivability. This is a feature you don’t think much about until the day they go bust. Apart from aiding visibility, headlights also compliment the overall aesthetics of a car.
So, in this blog post, we are going to shine a light (pun intended!) on this subject to help you know better.
Gone are those days when cars used to be simpler when headlamps were incandescent bulbs contained inside a reflective housing.
Things have taken a technological turn with radical innovations in automobile illumination technology like BMWs LaserLight Technology, which is ten times brighter and intense than any standard Halogen, Xenon or LED lamps.
Let’s take a quick look at the most popular types of headlights used in cars today.
The most basic tech when it comes to lights. Halogens are still in use today, a primary reason being their low cost. Halogen headlights use a tungsten filament mixed with halogen gas to generate a bright yellowish light on the road. With halogen headlamps, the higher the filament temperature, the brighter they are. Unfortunately, constant high-temperature operation induces wear and tear causing eventual failure. Another demerit is that halogens consume a lot of energy concerning the output thus, are inefficient. Halogen headlights can provide illumination up to 100mtrs on the road which is a prime reason that car manufacturers are steadily phasing out halogens and replacing them with Xenons or LEDs which provide better lighting and are efficient.
Pros of Halogen Headlights
Halogen bulbs don’t cost much to manufacture and are usually less than INR 500 per bulb to replace, but you need to buy a good name brand – some brands may burn out within a month. They’re pretty easily replaced on most vehicles. Some vehicles may require removing parts from the engine compartment area or perhaps the splash shield.
Cons of Halogen Headlights
Standard halogen headlights burn with a slight yellowish hue that measures roughly 3,000 Kelvin on the colour temperature scale. Some bulb manufacturers make 3,400 to 4200 Kelvin Halogen bulbs, but those aren’t street legal in most places. In other words, the higher on the Kelvin scale you go, the whiter the light. The Kelvin scale for car headlights typically begins at about 2,500 and goes to about 4,600 – overall, the Kelvin scale goes as high as 10,000, but that’s the intensity of bright sunshine under a blue sky. This is a nice comfortable glow that does the job well, but if you prefer bright white lights with a bit more range, you may want to consider another type of headlight bulb that’s higher on the Kelvin scale.
These bulbs burn hot, giving them a somewhat shorter service life (450 to 800 hours) than other headlight bulbs.
Xenon / HID Headlights
HID or High-Intensity Discharge utilise an inert gas known as Xenon for better output, replacing the traditional heated filament. As a result, xenons offer better illumination and operate a lot cooler thus, adding to their lifespan. Xenon headlights have been in use for quite some time now. Car manufacturer prefers featuring xenon headlight with a projector setup which uses a plano-convex glass lens to focus the light on the road. Due to the nature of the inert gas, xenon lights give a bluish-white tinge when operational. Owing to its complex build, xenon headlights are an expensive feature. Xenons also have some delay and take some time to come to full brightness, which is also a reason why manufacturers use xenon on high beam and conventional halogen on the low beam.
Pros of Xenon/HID Headlamps
HID headlights emit light in a bluish-white hue (4,000-6,000 Kelvin) which typically provides a greater (farther) range of illumination.
Cons of Xenon/HID Headlamps
Xenon or HID headlights have a delay of several seconds before reaching maximum output. Also, they can be too bright and may blind the oncoming drivers.
2,000 to 10,000 hours. HID headlights can last for years because they have no filament that can burn out.
The typical cost for a pair of HID costs around 4800-5500 INR depending on the bulb size.
LED (Light-Emitting Diode) headlight bulbs illuminate by a long fancy term called electroluminescence, which means electrons are fired towards positively charged holes in a semiconductor, thus they release energy as photons, which are particles of light. The same technology is now prevalent on dashboard lights and screen consoles. LED lights have also been used for indicator lights on appliances, bright flashlights, as well as a growing number of vehicle stop lamps, tail lamps, interior lamps, and home lighting. In other words, LED lights are used just about everywhere these days. The LED headlight has the most extended lifespan over both halogen and xenon. They also emit light that’s far closer in colour to daylight which provides a much brighter and efficient output. Car manufacturers like Honda, Nissan, Maruti Suzuki have started offering LED headlamps with their popular car models.
Pros of LED Headlights
LED bulbs are small semiconductors that can be arranged to fit tight spaces. This makes it possible for manufacturers to come up with sleeker headlight designs and allows more flexibility in styling other assembly components, such as turn signal lights. LEDs can be designed to emit any colour of the spectrum. They can produce a bright, white light that illuminates up to a mile ahead without blinding oncoming traffic. LED lights usually range from 4,000 to 6,000 Kelvin on the colour scale.
Cons of LED Headlights
The cost of LED headlights is typically higher than their halogen counterparts. This is because the structure of their assembly is a little bit different due to the heat sink that must be built into the lights to prevent the base emitter from overheating.
10,000 to 30,000 hours (some sources put the life at 5,000 hours). Compared to halogen headlights, LED bulbs run cool and don’t produce as much heat. This gives them longer hours of illumination which, in some cases, could span the entire service life of a vehicle.
The typical cost of a pair of LED Headlamps will cost around 15000-30000 INR
Laser headlights are a recent innovation in automotive lighting technology. These lights illuminate through the process of chemiluminescence, which means they produce light by triggering a chemical reaction. Laser beams are shot through a chamber which causes the phosphorus gas inside to glow. What you see in front of your vehicle is the light coming from the gas, and not the laser beams themselves.
Pros of Laser Headlights
Laser headlights are more efficient than LED bulbs. They can produce 1,000x the amount of light for half the amount of energy that LEDs consume. They are also 10x smaller than the latter, which allows manufacturers to design a shallower assembly. They are far-reaching, have good adaptability, and can easily be switched on/off as well.
Cons of Laser Headlights
While they can produce more light, they also produce more heat than LEDs. This means the assembly requires more sophisticated built-in cooling systems. Also, they are only currently available for use in high beams, which means they must be paired with regular halogen, LED, or HID headlights. While BMW and Audi have started using these in select models, they were only approved for use recently. Compared to other headlight types, these lights are very expensive and could set you back for lakhs of rupees.
50,000 hours. Laser headlights require very low energy input which allows them to work for a very long time.
A pair of laser headlights will cost you around 3-4 lakhs.
2 Types of Headlight System
Basic headlight design can be divided into two basic types. There are reflector headlights and projector headlights.
- Reflector headlights have a light source that is mounted in a parabolic reflector that amplifies the light and directs it through a plastic or glass lens with a series of small, especially ground mini-lenses if you will, that directs the amplified light from the reflector to properly illuminate the road ahead.
- Projector headlights have a lens in front of the light source, through which the bulb’s light is projected through a lens.
Projector vs Reflector Headlights
Projector and reflector headlights have their own sets of pros and cons. In terms of price, a reflector headlight system typically costs less than projector headlights. Design-wise, they also take up less space and come in a more compact style. One disadvantage of reflector systems is that their output can be uneven and may produce dark spots. On the other hand, projector headlights produce a brighter and even light output. At the same time, they are equipped with a cutoff shield that directs the light beam towards the road, preventing oncoming drivers from being blinded by the glare. HID headlights are only designed for projector systems because of this feature.
Reflector Headlight System
Reflector headlight systems are bulbs encased in a metal bowl. Early headlights were sealed-beam assemblies that relied on the design of the headlight lens to direct the light beam towards the road. Bulbs in sealed beam headlights cannot be replaced without replacing the entire assembly. Today, reflector headlight systems rely on mirrors strategically placed inside the housing. This means the assemblies no longer need to be sealed and bulbs can be replaced on their own.
Projector headlight systems
Similar to reflector headlights, projector headlights also come with an encased bulb surrounded by mirrors. What makes them different, however, is that they come with a lens that magnifies the brightness of the headlight. Projector headlights were first used in luxury vehicles in the ‘80s and have since become a popular choice in modern vehicles.
Many people are not willing to spend thousands in headlights but on the contrary, they also want a good road coverage in their reflector headlamps system for this you should check out Wrench Automotive. They are installing premium quality LED and HID Bulbs all over Delhi-NCR and for those who need laser like throw in their headlamps the people at Wrench Automotive have also come up with IPH Projector Technology at a very affordable price and even offering minimum 1 year on paper warranty on all their lighting systems. Worked will people from Meerut, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh they are now shipping all over India and even offering doorstep installation in Delhi-NCR . These people are doing a great job and are based in Delhi you can contact them for anything related to car modification.