The earliest versions of headlights were lamps on horseless carriages. But using candles as the earliest form of illumination had a huge flaw. As horseless carriages became faster, the candles were easily blown out by the flow of air. In 1908, electric headlights were introduced and the industry never looked back.
The evolution of headlights was fairly slow. Thanks to recent technology developed in the past few decades, we have more efficient lighting sources like LEDs.
What are LED Headlights?
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are semiconductor light sources that emits light when a current flows through them. The earliest applications of LED technology was seen in household appliances. In 2004 Lexus brought us the first example of how LED technology could be used on headlights. They used an LED bulb as the low beam but still opted for a halogen high beam. Audi was the first manufacturer to use a full LED headlight with the release of the 2008 R8.
What are the Advantages of LED Headlights?
LED headlight technology is still in its infancy but is perfect for the direction the automotive industry is going in. Efficiency is key with every new model released, and LED headlights help in that mission. Since LED headlights don’t require a great amount of electricity to illuminate, manufacturers prefer using this technology because the alternator does not need to work as hard to power them. The world’s best selling electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, uses LED headlights with its signature daytime running lamps as a testament to how efficient they are. This allows the Leaf to squeeze 215-Miles out of its 160-kW electric motor.
Maintenance of LED headlights won’t be as often as its halogen counterparts. LED headlight bulbs have a lifespan of 15,000 hours compared to the 1,000 hours halogen headlights have. This translates to 11-22 years of operation before needing to replace them. These headlight bulbs are manufactured with higher grade material in order to achieve the illumination required for automotive use. Failures with LED headlights occur less often when compared to halogen or HID (High-intensity discharge lamps) headlights.
If your car did not come with LED headlights as standard, you can convert them with a purchase of a headlight kit. This gives you the advantage of LED headlights without needing to purchase ballasts or modifying the electrical system of your vehicle. There are LED headlight kits which are “direct plug-in” replacements. This means it can be directly fitted in place of your halogen headlight bulb. Installing this headlight replacement yourself is simple and may not even need the help of a mechanic, depending on your DIY skills.
Before purchasing any headlight modification or upgrade, consult your state laws to make sure that vehicle complies with the specific color and type of headlights. LED technology is getting cheaper to manufacture which means its is now cheaper to purchase LED headlights for your car. Typically, it will cost $125-$1000 for aftermarket LED headlight kits. Illumination of LED headlights aren’t just beneficial for the driver but also for the vehicles around. The light beam of an LED headlight is not as blinding as the HID or halogen. Being the more efficient and longer lasting solution, LED headlights are a great upgrade for any car.