Our MotorNuts what’s what guide to bulbs
Headlight bulbs aren’t just the simple replacements they used to be, there are now several options when it comes to your cars headlights and the MotorNuts team want to make sure you know what’s what when it comes to bulbs.
All the evidence suggests that choosing the best bulbs is a savvy and safe move - the Department for Transport reveals that whilst only 15% of vehicle miles are done between 7pm and 7am, they account for almost a third of the road injuries and deaths.
This combined with the fact that up to 65% of drivers are less confident driving in the dark and councils nationwide are switching off or dimming up to 2 million street lights means you need to take the lighting into your own hands.
So what are the options:
1) Halogen bulbs
Typically cars have halogen bulbs but over recent years it became the trend and for some the preferred choice to move to LED or Xenon bulbs. As well as the standard Halogen bulbs you can then get performance bulbs which are brighter, the Ring H7 is a very popular option.
2) LED bulbs
LEDs started taking over the lighting world and then were considered for cars as well as – just like in your home they draw less power than typical halogen bulbs – more like 1.4 amps as opposed to 5 amps. They also throw the light further making visibility better.
3) And after LEDS then there was Xenon HID bulbs
The Xenon HID Bulbs first started to appear in the luxury car market and were un-missable with their distinctive bright white light. Not just whiter and lighter – to be precise a colour temperature of 5500k white as opposed to 3000k yellow.
Xenon HID bulbs – or High Intensity Discharge have no filament but a glass capsule of Xenon gas instead, they require a higher lighting current but use a lower running current meaning that like the LEDS they require less charge to run and subsequently last longer too.
How long do HID Xenon bulbs last? - For around 4 years or 3,000 hours
Why use Xenon HID bulbs over traditional halogen bulbs? A Xenon HID bulb will give off 3200 lumens as opposed to around 500 lumens from traditional bulbs halogen bulbs – they also last a lot longer.
4) Then for the brightest lightest whitest light around - Xenon HID performance upgrades
The Xenon HID performance upgrades take the 500 lumens of a traditional halogen bulb and smash them out of the water giving off 5,200 lumens of the brightest whitest light.
Remember its not just about headlights – it’s a legal requirement to make sure that your brake lights and tail lights are working as well – and whilst it’s not the law it is more than advisable to regularly check your sidelights, indicators, reverse lights,number plate light and fog lights...even more so in Summer as you hardly use them but never know when you’ll need them with the British weather!
And whilst the sun is shining for longer at the moment, this doesn’t just apply to dark – many accidents occur at twilight and so we would advise turning your headlights on leading up to sunset (currently 9.45 pm) and keep them on for an hour after sunrise (currently 4.45 am)
Our final bulb tips - always change Xenon and LED bulbs in pairs to make sure of equal brightness and performance and always wear gloves to change them as any dirt on fingertips can affect the gas in the bulbs.
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