Headlights and fog lights are some of the most crucial components of a working car. Driving without them at night is not only illegal but nearly impossible and very dangerous.
If your lights are dim, dimming out, or simply burnt out, you are probably wondering how much it would cost to have them replaced. The answer depends on your vehicle and the type of bulb your vehicle uses.
The table below summarizes the price ranges of various automotive headlight and fog light bulb types.
|Halogen (factory)||$30||$50||1,000+ hours|
|Xenon (factory)||$50||$150||10,000+ hours|
|LED (factory)||N/A||N/A||30,000+ hours|
|LED Conversion Kit||$60||$200||5,000+ hours|
|HID Conversion Kit||$50||$200||5,000+ hours|
*Price per pair in USD. Excludes labor costs. **Factory LED bulbs cannot be changed. Must replace entire headlight assembly.
As you can see from the table above, halogens bulbs are by far the cheapest bulbs but at the expense of brightness and durability. It’s important to point out that if your vehicle comes with LEDs or Xenons straight from the dealership, you cannot simply put in halogen bulbs to save money.
You can, however, put in LEDs or HIDs in most vehicles that come with halogens from the factory - learn more on this popular topic here. These are known as conversion kits but don’t let the name fool you - the installation is practically identical to standard bulb replacements.
Why would anyone want to put LEDs or HIDs in their vehicles? It’s simple - to see better at night and to get bulbs that don’t burn out every six months like halogens. If you want to learn more, check out the Benefits of Xenon bulbs and the Top 10 Advantages of LED Headlights.
Below, we’ll dive deeper into the replacement cost of each bulb type and conclude with the cost of changing or upgrading your entire headlight assemblies.
Let’s explore the cost of factory replacement bulbs. Factory replacement bulbs are standard, regular, non-upgraded types of parts that simply replace the original part as closely as possible.
In the automotive world, “factory” or “OEM” replacement refers to a part that will replace what originally came with the vehicle from the factory or from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
Halogen headlight bulbs are the least expensive but least durable and lowest-performing bulb type most commonly used by car manufacturers.
Unless you drive a luxury vehicle or a brand new car manufactured in 2021/2022, chances are that you have factory halogens.
Halogen replacement bulbs can vary between $30 to $50 per pair (excluding labor costs, if any) and can be easily found at your local parts store or any automotive online retailer.
The more expensive ones boast better visibility and durability, but from experience, they are quite disappointing compared to their LED and HID peers. If you are disappointed with your halogen headlight bulbs, jump to the next section on headlight conversion kits.
Xenon replacement headlights bulbs are roughly 2-3x more expensive (excluding labor costs) than halogens but they are also 2-3x brighter and last up to 10x longer.
Xenon bulbs can be replaced for as cheap as $50 but it could cost you over $300 if you have the dealership do it for you.
One caveat, however, is that xenon bulbs use ballasts - an extra component that regulates power amongst other things. Although ballasts typically last as long as a vehicle, they do sometimes need to be changed, which can make things a little more complicated and expensive.
Aftermarket ballasts can cost as little as $100 for a pair but over $300 if purchased from the dealership.
If you are disappointed with the performance of your Xenon headlight bulbs, jump to the last section of this guide on retrofitting your xenon headlight assemblies.
Most of you reading this guide are most likely not here to learn about the cost of replacing factory LEDs simply because they practically last forever, unless defective or damaged.
If you are, however, part of the unlucky few needing new factory LED bulbs, you are out of luck (sorry!).
Factory (OEM) LED headlight bulbs cannot be replaced - the entire headlight assembly must be replaced, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the vehicle.
Factory LEDs are ironically similar to old halogen headlights, which used to be closed and embedded into the assembly. Thankfully, unlike old halogens that weren’t very durable, factory LEDs generally outlive the vehicle themselves.
For those of you with halogens needing not only new bulbs but also looking for better and brighter bulbs, let us introduce you to the wonderful world of conversion kits.
Conversion kits are essentially LED or Xenon bulbs that are designed to fit and plug into headlight assemblies originally designed for halogen headlights.
Many people think conversion kits are complex and expensive but the reality is that they are quite easy to install, slightly more expensive than premium halogen lights.
LED headlight bulb conversion kits go for anywhere from $60 all the way up to $200. Although this is a wide price range, many factors impact the price of LEDs such as the quality, durability, longevity, product support, and warranty.
At XenonPro, for instance, we sell premium LED Headlights starting at $114.99 covered by an industry-best Lifetime Warranty with free premium support from automotive experts.
Xenon HID headlight conversion kits start at $50 and can go up to $200. Like LEDs, the price range is wide but so is the quality of a cheaper product compared to a premium one.
When comparing two HID products, always make sure to take into account the quality of the bulbs and ballasts, reliability, lifespan, and the product’s warranty.
Unless you’re looking to upgrade the bulbs of a winter beater or a temporary car, be wary of cheap products. Many of our customers start with cheaper products only to realize the hard way that it just doesn’t do the trick.
Headlight bulbs live in headlight assemblies. Most drivers throw the word “headlight” around to refer to either bulbs or assemblies. Below, we’ll cover the prices of replacing entire headlight assemblies.
Unless your vehicle is damaged or your assembly is defective, you most likely will never need to change your headlight assemblies. But accidents do happen and electronics are faulty from time to time.
The cost to replace factory/OEM headlight assemblies can range from as little as $150 for common small vehicles such as Honda Civics to as much as $3,000 per headlight for premium vehicles such as a Mercedes or a Bentley.
The cost also varies based on whether you purchase an OEM replacement from the likes of a dealership or if you purchase an aftermarket product. The OEM replacement will always be at least twice as expensive as its aftermarket counterpart.
Lastly, the type of assembly (halogen, xenon, LED) will impact the cost. Xenon and LED assemblies will generally be much more expensive than vehicles with factory halogen assemblies.
For what it’s worth, assemblies generally come with bulbs installed, so you won’t need to dish out more cash for those.
Our last topic is headlight retrofitting. For those that are not familiar with what this is, it’s simply the process of putting in new and (generally) better aftermarket assemblies. Most of you have seen vehicles with retrofitted headlights, such as halo light assemblies.
So, how much does it cost to retrofit headlights? Like regular assembly replacements, the price range is quite wide ($150 - $1000+) and again, depends on the technology (halogen, Xenon, or LED) and popularity of the vehicle. Naturally, popular vehicles such as Civics, Wranglers, or F-150’s will have more selection and competitive prices than say a Corvette or an S-Class.
Whether you’re looking to give your headlights a cool new look or have a vehicle with notoriously bad Xenon factory headlights such as newer Dodges (Durango, Challenger, Charger), we recommend going with a retrofit to LED assemblies.