Xenon Headlights

Last updated on August 22nd, 2015 at 04:59 pm

While they are officially known as high-intensity discharge headlights, or HIDs, xenon headlights are commonly recognized as a more efficient solution, due mostly in part because of their color temperature and the amount of light that they are able to generate. Xenon bulbs contain xenon gas, which gives the lamps their slight blue tint of the light.

According to J.D. Power, we saw the appearance of the first xenon headlight on the BMW 7 Series way back in 1991. After

First Xenon Headlights

First Xenon Headlights

this introduction, xenons slowly became the top option for several car manufacturers. The car companies, however, avoided to offer xenon headlights as standard equipment.

Without going into the technicalities of what makes up a xenon bulb or how the whole xenon system works, we will try instead to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of HID xenon headlights.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Xenon Headlights

For starters, xenon headlights are much more efficient in terms of the amount of light produced when compared to the traditional halogen headlights. If the angle or degree of illumination isn’t properly configured, then this could easily be considered a major disadvantage from the view point of oncoming traffic. According to official stats that we discovered, a standard halogen lamp generates only about 1400 lumens and 30 mcd/m2. On the other hand, a xenon headlight produces roughly 3000 lumens and 90 mcd/m2.

Naturally, xenon 800k lamps and bi-xenon lamps have slowly became available in various versions and sizes, designed to be used on a variety of car models.

When considering replacing your headlights, efficiency may be a major consideration when thinking to select HID xenon headlights to other light options. Increased efficiency of the xenon light bulb equates to less used energy. Additionally, HID lights reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, due to the fact that the vehicle’s engine doesn’t have to burn as much fuel in order to generate the electrical power required by the headlamps.

Another benefit of xenon headlights is that xenon lights have a fairly long lifetime, exceeding the life of older style halogen lamps. According to some estimates, one can expect an operating life span of around 2,000 hours under normal conditions.

Of course, some people may feel that xenon bulbs are not the best option for their cars.

For instance, some are concerned with the amount of glare generated by xenon headlamps. They feel this may be overly distracting for the other drivers on the road.

Moreover, HID lights are more costly overall. From the initial costs of the xenon or bi-xenon bulbs, to the installation costs. However, for DIY’ers, maintaining or replacing xenon bulbs is quite affordable.

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Three Main Advantages of Xenon Headlights

Xenon headlights first started to appear on vehicles sold in the United States back in the 1990s, and they have been increasingly gaining in popularity since then. In addition to their stylish, “blue” light, xenon headlights also offer at least three important and functional advantages.

Xenon Headlights – Brighter Light

Xenon headlights are able to produce up to twice as many lumens per each headlight bulb when compared to older traditional halogen headlights. This means that they output brighter light than was available previously from halogen headlights. When a vehicle’s headlights emit brighter light, night time driving becomes a good bit easier for most folks, especially senior citizens.

Xenon Headlights – Longer Life

Typically, xenon headlights will last two to three times longer than standard halogen headlights. This is because xenon headlights use a very different method of generating their light. Traditional halogen headlights conduct electricity through a very thin wire (known as the filament) that is encased in a chamber which contains halogen-enriched gas. They produce light in a somewhat similar manner to traditional household incandescent bulbs. Xenon headlights, on the other hand, don’t require filaments that usually break over time. Instead, xenon headlights create light by directly conducting a their own beam of electricity through their electrodes which are inside of a xenon gas-filled chamber.

Xenon Headlights – Improved Safety

Xenon headlights don’t only provide a brighter view of the road ahead, they can provide additional safety benefits. For example, most OEM xenon headlight systems utilize auto-leveling devices to reduce glare for oncoming drivers. These systems automatically lower the level of the xenon headlight beam if and when the car goes over bumps in the road or when the vehicle is carrying a heavy load in the back. Additionally, many of the newer headlight systems include adaptive features which can automatically pivot the xenon headlight beam as the car goes through bends and corners. By aiming the light beam both lower and directly through corners, the xenon headlight can reduce glare for other drivers of oncoming cars, and it will also direct the light more usefully for its own car.

Thanks to these benefits, xenon headlights are becoming relatively inexpensive, and it is becoming increasingly easier to retrofit them to a vehicle that was originally equipped with standard halogen headlights.

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