car headlight types

There’s one thing for sure- car headlight types are typically an afterthought unless your car bulbs. To put it simply, most people overlook these auto parts’ significant contribution to driver safety. Do note that car headlight types have improved over time. This is identical to most other equipment that has evolved in modern automobiles.

You must ideally develop a strong understanding of car headlights and fog lights. This is necessary since they are typically one of the parts on your car that you must maintain diligently. Furthermore, a comprehensive understanding will allow you to make your choice over multiple car headlight types

Car Headlights – Explained

According to experts, headlights come as standard equipment on every car, new or old. This is why you must ensure that the condition of your car’s headlights complies with the law at all times. If you don’t know it already, car headlights guarantee your driving safety. Moreover, they also ensure the safety of animals and pedestrians on the street.

It’s worth mentioning that not all car headlight types are similar. And when the experts say different, they don’t just mean in terms of design. Their operational mechanisms also differ from one another.

Headlight Bulbs vs. Headlight Housings

When they think of headlights, most car owners typically picture light-producing bulbs instead of the housing that houses them. To put it simply, automakers rely on headlight housing for styling a vehicle’s front end. You can look at them from the outside to form a quick impression of the car. They naturally take the light the bulb produces and spread it out.

Reflector Headlights

Before 1985, every vehicle essentially featured reflector headlights as the default option. The majority of headlights you will see still have this design. Simply put, a reflector headlight carries a bowl-shaped housing for the light bulb. You would need to replace the headlight case in its entirety if the bulb burned out. This is because you cannot replace the bulbs. 

On the other hand, modern reflector headlights come without lenses and instead have mirrors within the housing. To direct the light beam, these mirrors are necessary. Additionally, you can even change the bulb when they eventually burn out. 

Projector Headlights

There’s no disputing that headlights became better thanks to advances in headlight technology. Initially, only luxury cars would essentially feature the more recent projector headlights. However, most of the newer car models today come with projector headlights.

Regarding assembly, reflector headlights and projector headlights are very similar. Along with a bulb, you can also find a steel case with mirrors that houses the bulb. Moreover, these mirrors serve as reflectors that are identical to reflector headlights. Only the projector headlights’ lens, which functions as a magnifying glass, makes a distinction. 

Halogen Headlights

You will find a halogen-gassy bulb containing a filament called halogen headlight bulbs. The filament will glow when you turn it on because it gets warm. The halogen gases inside the bulb help to intensify the light emission, making it bright enough for more good visibility during the day and at night.

As per most experts and market reports, halogen headlights make the most affordable and straightforward car headlight bulbs. They are still the most common type of car bulbs as a result. This is despite them facing stiff competition from brighter, more effective, and long-lasting bulb types. In addition, you will find them carrying the reflector or projector housings because they typically have the shortest lifespan of any bulb type.

HID or High-Intensity Discharge Headlights

It’s worth mentioning that high-intensity discharge or HID headlights differ slightly from halogen bulbs. They have electrodes inside a housing between which the electricity passes rather than a filament. 

Compared to halogen bulbs, HID lights are much brighter, safer, more efficient, and more expensive. However, since they do not last as long and are not quite as efficient as LEDs, they are not as popular as halogen bulbs. Furthermore, they are increasingly losing pace with LED bulbs.

Laser Headlight 

In theory, laser headlights are the best car headlight types on the market. When you activate the laser, phosphorus and light interact chemically to create visible light.

Although laser lights can be much brighter and more efficient than LED lights; they are currently exclusive due to their high cost and low viability for mounting on most vehicles. Additionally, their rarity makes them almost impossible to find as an aftermarket alternative to your stock headlights.

Final Remarks

The headlights on your car are an essential component, both for your night vision and for other drivers to be able to see your vehicle. You can divide the most common car headlight types into four groups: projector, halogen, HID, and laser. You can learn more about car headlight types by talking to Carorbis online.

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