It only takes one burnt-out headlight bulb to ruin your driving safety at night and during poor visibility conditions. You see, while the rest of your headlight assembly may be in tiptop shape, a busted bulb prevents your headlamp from lighting the road ahead. So how does that affect your driving safety? Well, as we all know, driving during low visibility conditions is a pretty dangerous feat. And if a busted headlight bulb is keeping one of your headlights from working properly, then let's just say you're taking a pretty big risk if you continue to drive around at night. Without a working light bulb, your headlight assembly is as good as useless. A single bad headlamp greatly affects your driving visibility. You can't see the road ahead clearly, making it difficult to make out road obstructions. Just because you don't see anything ahead, it doesn't mean there's nothing there. Surely, that's one lesson you wouldn't want to learn firsthand, right? So avoid jeopardizing your safety and those of your passengers' as well by replacing a dim or burnt-out headlight bulb as soon as possible. Stay safe during long nighttime drives by equipping your ride with durable and long-lasting headlight bulbs.
Headlight Bulb Buyer’s Guide
· A headlight bulb is a critical component of a vehicle’s exterior lighting system. As part of the headlight assembly, it is responsible for producing a light beam to illuminate the road ahead.
· There are three common types of headlight bulbs: halogen, LED, and Xenon light bulbs.
· The cost of a headlight bulb will vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. OE replacement headlight bulbs generally cost between $20 to $350. These are sold individually, in sets of two, included in a headlight assembly, or as part of a kit.
· Signs of a failing headlight bulb include flickering, dimming, and busted headlights.
· Functioning headlights are critical to keeping your vehicle roadworthy. It is also illegal to drive with a busted headlight in most states.
What is a headlight bulb?
A headlight bulb is a critical component of a vehicle’s exterior lighting system. As part of the headlight assembly, it is responsible for producing a light beam to illuminate the road ahead. You will need a functioning headlight bulb while driving in the early morning and at night. The headlights are considered a safety feature because it helps you spot road obstructions, debris, potholes, and even pedestrians.
How does a headlight bulb work?
Headlight bulbs are encased in a glass or plastic housing installed in the front of your vehicle. These lights can be switched on and off from inside the passenger cabin. Activating the headlight switch triggers the 12-volt power supply to send electricity to the headlight bulbs to power them up. The switch also allows the driver to toggle between high and low beam functions to accommodate different driving conditions.
What are the types of headlight bulbs?
Back in the late 1800s, automobiles featured oil lamps that had been used by horse-drawn carriages and wagons to light their way at night. Soon enough, people realized that it was difficult to keep the flame burning at faster speeds and inclement weather.
This paved the way for the use of acetylene in vehicle headlamps. These were an improvement over oil lamps but they still didn’t produce focused light beams that would be more helpful for driving in the dark.
It would take a few more years before electric lights would be successfully fitted on automobiles. It was in 1904 when the company Peerless successfully created a dynamo that was small enough to fit in a car but large enough to provide proper illumination. Cadillac later developed the first modern electrical system that integrated the headlights, allowing them to become standard equipment in vehicles.
Halogen headlight bulbs
Halogen bulbs are incandescent bulbs that produce light through a tungsten filament that is heated by electricity until it emits yellow light. During this process, the tungsten evaporates but is quickly deposited back to the filament thanks to the halogen gas surrounding it.
This allows them to shine brighter and enjoy a longer life span than regular incandescent bulbs. You can expect your halogen bulbs to last anywhere between 450 to 1,000 hours. Most of today’s vehicles have halogen bulbs installed because of their simplicity and relatively low cost.
LED headlight bulbs
Light-emitting diode or LED headlights feature a bulb that transfers current to a semiconductor to emit photons that produce light. Compared to halogen bulbs, LEDs produce less heat, which allows them to burn longer, even lasting up to 20,000 operating hours.
LED bulbs can be made to produce a whiter light just by changing the physical properties of the semiconductor. One disadvantage of choosing this type of headlight bulb is that LED headlight assemblies are physically larger than their halogen counterparts because of the need for heat sinks, fans, and electronics. All these make it a more expensive option than halogen bulbs.
Xenon or HID headlight bulbs
Xenon or high-intensity discharge light bulbs are filled with xenon gas that produces a white and bluish light when ignited. Similar to LEDs, these bulbs do not produce as much heat as halogen bulbs. The light they produce is so bright that some countries have banned the use of this type of headlight bulbs. Among the three, xenon bulbs carry the heftiest price tag.
How much does a headlight bulb replacement cost?
The cost of a headlight bulb will vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. OE replacement headlight bulbs generally cost between $20 to $350. These are sold individually, in sets of two, included in a headlight assembly, or as part of a kit.
Signs of a failing headlight bulb
Over time, you may notice that your headlights are flickering on and off. This is a common symptom among halogen bulbs with a damaged or worn filament. As soon as you notice your lights flickering, have it checked by a licensed mechanic in order to rule out the possibility of a bad electrical connection.
While some headlight bulbs are meant to last the full life span of your vehicle, others can get worn and produce a dimmer light over time. To check the brightness of your headlights, you may park in front of a blank wall and view the light’s reflection from inside your vehicle. You may also have a friend check your headlights from outside the parked vehicle.
Headlight bulbs that have burned out must be immediately replaced. If you are having one headlight bulb replaced, it is highly recommended to replace the other one as well. This is because there is a high likelihood that it is also at the end of its service life.
Why is headlight bulb replacement important?
Driving in low light conditions is extremely dangerous without fully functioning headlights. Not only do they allow the driver to clearly see the road ahead, but these lights also help you communicate with other vehicles on the road. Your headlights alert drivers ahead of you of your presence and it also allows other motorists to anticipate your vehicle as it makes a turn. Due to its importance in keeping your vehicle roadworthy, it is illegal to drive with a busted headlight in most states.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Headlight Bulb
Nighttime driving without functional headlights is just like driving with your eyes closed-everything is almost invisible. This makes you more vulnerable to danger on the road, such as collisions and accidents. To keep you safe as you drive at night or in bad weather, every component of your vehicle's headlight assembly should always be in good shape. The headlight bulb, particularly, should always be working perfectly. The bulb is the headlight assembly's main source of illumination; if the bulb emits a weak beam, then nighttime visibility will also be poor. So make sure you can count on the headlight bulb to do its job as soon as you flick the headlights on. Damaged parts, especially those as important as headlight bulbs, must be replaced right away. CarParts.com offers a wide selection of headlight bulbs for you to choose from.
• Halogen headlight bulbs provide brighter illumination and last longer than other types of headlight bulbs.
• Our headlight bulbs ensure maximum visibility to keep you safe after sunset.
• You don't even need to use tools to install a new headlight bulb; all it takes are just a few minutes and careful handling of the replacement bulb.
How to Find the Right Headlight Bulb
Driving at night with a busted headlight bulb is extremely dangerous. Not only are you putting yourself at risk, but you're also subjecting other motorists to danger. Sporting a broken headlight component on your ride makes you virtually invisible and not addressing it can get you into a fatal road mishap. To prevent this from happening, you'd better change that faulty headlight bulb in your assembly right away. This task is extremely easy to perform, so all you have to do is find the perfect replacement component that is fully compatible with your vehicle.
Types of headlight bulbs
Before you spend your hard-earned cash and buy a replacement, find out what type of headlight bulb best suits your preference and needs.
- Halogen bulb
This type of headlight bulb was introduced to the market during the 60s. It was intended as a substitute for the older incandescent lights. This particular bulb works by utilizing its metal background to reflect light efficiently.
- Xenon bulb
Also known as HID or High Intensity Discharge lights, Xenon bulbs are very common nowadays and they can be seen on most modern cars. They shine brighter and last longer than halogen bulb counterparts. With this type of headlight bulb in your ride, you'll definitely spend less on your vehicle maintenance.
- LED bulb
The Light Emitting Diode or LED bulb is a strong type of light that is made to last. It is very similar to its Xenon bulb counterparts in terms of its features. However, there's one thing that sets this type of bulb apart from the rest and that is its ability to use less energy. Given its energy-efficient characteristic, LED bulbs are highly preferred by drivers who want to go green.
Headlight bulb beam colors
Headlight bulbs come in two main colors?yellow and white. Both bulb colors provide that clear, bright, and crisp light beam that everybody wants. However, yellow is more subdued and preferred by a lot of car drivers because it is more pleasing to the eye.
Headlight bulb cost
Getting a replacement for your headlight bulb, whether you get one that's sold individually or in a set of two, will typically cost less than 50 USD. Depending on what you need for your ride, purchase one that best suits your preference and needs.
Changing a Busted Headlight Bulb
Aside from being illegal, driving with a faulty headlight bulb at night is extremely dangerous. Not only are you putting yourself at risk, but you're also putting other motorists and pedestrians in grave danger. You see, with a faulty bulb in your ride, you have a limited sight of the road and you become invisible to other car drivers. So, before you get yourself into a fatal road mishap, you'd better address that busted headlight bulb as soon as possible. To get started with your repairs, continue reading and you'll find basic steps on how to change a faulty bulb.
Difficulty level: Easy
What you need to prepare:
- New headlight bulb
Step 1: Before you purchase a replacement headlight bulb, take a look at your car's owner's manual and check what type of bulbs are installed in your ride. Once you know the type, purchase a new bulb that is completely compatible with your assembly. Depending on your preference, you can upgrade and buy other types of bulbs such as LED and Xenon bulbs.
Step 2: Once you've already bought the replacement bulb that you want, start your repairs by opening your hood and looking at the back side of you headlight to access the bulb holder. The bulb holder is easy to identify because it is shaped like a trapezoid and you will see three wires hanging out from it.
Step 3: To address the problems of your old and busted headlight bulb, remove the bulb cover that is usually secured by screws. You can remove it without any difficulty using a screwdriver. Aslo, you can just use your hands if the headlight cover is merely slotted in.
Step 4: Once you have successfully removed the cover, unplug the bulb by rotating it counterclockwise. (Note: turning direction may vary for every vehicle).
Step 5: When you've removed the old bulb, install the new one and attach its corresponding cable wires. Don't forget to reattach your headlight cover as well.
Step 6: After you've done these basic steps, test if your new headlight bulb works by starting the engine and checking it yourself.