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The Pros and Cons of Automotive LED Lights

As technology continues to advance in the world of lighting, we are seeing more and more cars sporting LED headlights and taillights. This is thanks to all the amazing benefits that LEDs have over the regular incandescent bulbs.

But as with any technology, LED lights for cars to come with their own set of pros and cons. Lets take a look.

Pros of LED Lights for Cars

There are three main types of car headlights. These are the Halogens, HID or high-intensity discharge lights and the LED lights. But how do they compare? Halogen headlights are less efficient compared to LEDs in that the majority of the charge in lost in form of heat instead of being converted to light. They are also not very durable and need to be replaced often.

LEDS have a much longer lifespan. Approximately 15,000 hours compared to the 1,000hours of the halogen bulbs. While they may be more expensive, their durability more than makes up for the cost.

HIDs are the brightest of the three types of car headlights. However, these come with their own set of challenges. They can blind oncoming motorists and their brightness also creates a shadow effect which makes it hard to see other objects when driving.

With LEDs, you do not have to worry about too much brightness causing temporary blindness to other motorists. They offer a decent illumination that is far better than the halogens.

Compared to HIDs, or halogens that take some time to light up and achieve full brightness, LEDs will light up immediately they are turned on. This means that drivers behind you will have enough time to react when you step on the brakes for instance.

Are there drawbacks? Let’s find out!

Cons of LED Lights for Cars

The most obvious disadvantage of LED lights is the cost. In fact, initially, only high-end vehicles came with LED headlights, Tail lights or turn signal lights.

A second issue is the heat. While the LED light source itself doesn’t get hot, there is a lot of heat that is dispersed to the emitter. You will likely need other components to control this heat which obviously means more expense.

However, the good thing is that over the years, LED light for cars costs have gone down. They are still more expensive than halogen bulbs but with all the benefits that LEDs come with, they are well worth the price.

A Good Reason to Choose LEDs

LED lights for cars allow you to see more. Even with the higher prices, in the long run, you will actually end up saving as they last a good long while and need few to no replacements. Most states allow you to change your factory car lights to LEDs.

However, it’s important to check your state laws. There is usually some regulation on aftermarket car lights. This will help you in making the right choice of headlights based on type and color. It is always a good idea to comply with the law.

1 comment

LEDs are much cooler, almost emit no forward heat and are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, and are much more resistant to breakage. Better option than Traditional Lights.

The amazing benefits that LEDs have over the regular incandescent bulbs. But Automotive LED lights come with their own set of pros and cons.

What are xenon headlights and how do they work?

We explain what xenon headlights are and how they work to keep you safe at night

  • Introduction
  • What are LED headlights and how do they work?
  • What are halogen headlights and how do they work?
  • What are xenon headlights and how do they work?
  • Future headlight tech

Xenon headlights, much like halogen headlights, are named for the gas used inside the bulb. The function of the gas however, is completely different – the gas is vital in the production of light, rather than just prolonging the lifespan of the filament as in a halogen bulb.

How do xenon lights work?

As mentioned above, xenon lights are a very different from halogens and can be recognised on the road thanks to the blue hue they give off. They use an electric arc between two electrodes rather than a filament to produce light, and are often referred to as high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. Xenon gas is used as it helps establish an arc between the electrodes (and hence create light) at lower temperatures, but becomes less important when the bulb is up to temperature.

UK laws surrounding HID xenon bulbs

According to the letter of UK law, HID xenon lights are not permitted. However, European type approval regulations do allow them, and therefore they must be allowed on EU cars registered in the UK.

There is a similar situation when converting a car from halogen to xenon units. The Department for Transport takes the view that the sale and use of aftermarket HID lighting kits is illegal, but due to the European regulations mentioned above, makes expectations. While anyone looking to convert to xenons should carry out rigorous research, the key points to consider are:

  • • The headlamp must be type approved by the supplier
  • • The headlamp must have self cleaning and self-levelling capabilities
  • • And finally, it must be maintained properly (as with any other headlamp)

Xenon lights pros and cons

Pros

• Lifespan. Xenon bulbs can last up to 10 years, making for good piece of mind.• Brightness. As high intensity discharge would suggest, xenon lights are brighter than there halogen counterparts

Cons

• Cost. if you are buying a used car which has xenon lights and is coming up on 10 years old, good replacement units aren’t nearly as cheap as you would hope.• Not as energy efficient as LED units

Enjoyed this tips and advice article? Then take a read of our piece investigating night time driving glasses.

We explain what xenon headlights are and how they work to keep you safe at night