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LED Headlights - How Do They Work?

LED headlights are changing the way we think about automotive lighting, quickly becoming a standard option in some high-end cars. As modifications go, few are more popular than the headlight upgrade, and thanks to a new breed of LED lights offering higher spec at an affordable price, people all over the world are improving their vehicles for the better with LED kits. Understanding why these kits are so superior to regular factory-install headlights, often halogens, centres around understanding how these various types of headlights work, so you can decide whether upgrading to LED is the best option for you and your vehicle.

With traditional headlights, the light cast is a weak, yellowy light. This is caused by the way these bulbs work - by heating a filament and streaming halogen gas over the heated charge until it glows. With LED lights, you are using electricity to create the light through the highly efficient light-emitting diode. LEDs are solid state bulbs, so they last much longer than halogen bulbs, as well as providing lower ongoing operating costs as a result of the improved efficiency relative to halogen headlights.

Energy Efficiency

LED headlights work by specifically converting electric power into light, through one or various diodes within the headlight itself. This produces a bright light that rivals HID lighting, far superior to the light cast from traditional headlights, but at a fraction of the consumption cost - thereby saving on fuel and maintenance costs long-term. But it does so in a significantly more energy efficient way, because there is no heat created in the process. Unlike halogen headlights, which create heat as they glow to provide the lighting required, LEDs are up to 90% more energy efficient, with little to no heat created during the process.

This means that the average LED headlight is 80% efficient, with 20% of its energy wasted as heat - this is inverted for halogen headlights, which are only 20% efficient, with 80% of energy wasted as heat. This results in headlights that are able to last up to 22 years before failure, compared to just 5000 hours with more standard, halogen bulbs. For the environmentally and cost-conscious motorist, this is a win/win scenario.

Light Intensity

LEDs are clearly more energy efficient, and operationally this makes them cheaper to run. While you may spend more initially on choosing LED headlights, it’s an investment that is well worth it. Durability means you won’t be replacing them any time soon. But there are other, practical advantages to choosing LED headlights for our vehicle. The intensity of the light produced by LEDs is significantly stronger, relative to the space of each diode - in other words, they are also more efficient at producing light. The emitted light is whiter in color than halogen headlights as standard, and allows you to see the road ahead with greater visibility and clarity.

It is essential for driving in dark conditions or in poor visibility that you have headlights capable of illuminating the road ahead. With significantly more illumination provided with standard LED bulbs as opposed to halogen headlights, you can be certain you are giving yourself the best possible conditions for driving safety.

Because of the efficient intensity of LED lighting, it is becoming a much more widespread option, both in cars and in a series of industrial applications. Wherever bright, efficient light is required, you are likely to find LEDs.

Warmth of Light

There are, of course, other types of headlights that are more efficient and cheaper to operate than halogens. HID xenon headlights remain a popular, and while both LEDs and HIDs provide similar gains over standard halogen bulbs, LEDs generally produce a warmer, less clinical light than HID headlights, which people often cite as the reason for choosing LEDs over HIDs. Some drivers complain about HID headlights being ‘blinding’ on cars ahead - this is not the case with LED bulbs. The light quality they produce is different to HID xenon headlights, and while they still produce improved visibility conditions for the car at hand, they do so without being as invasive for other road users.

In a nutshell, this means you can benefit from warmer, brighter headlights for vastly improved visibility, without necessarily blinding every other road user you encounter along the way.

LED Durability

If you’re still not convinced that converting electricity into light is more efficient than the halogen bulbs that probably came as standard on your car, consider the lengthy lifespan of your average LED lamp, and how this translates for you into a sensible investment. Rather than just a few thousands of hours of use, you can use your LED headlights for 11 years of continuous driving. Even if you drive 50% of the time in the dark or in poor visibility conditions, that’s 22 years of use on average. It is therefore highly unlikely you will need to change your LED lights once you install them - unless, of course, you choose an alternative upgrade at a later stage. If you are looking for performance-critical headlights for your car, you really should look no further than LEDs.

Should You Upgrade?

A series of advantages stem from the unique way LED headlights convert energy into light, and any motorist looking to upgrade their car would be mad not to consider these perks. As a result of this process being significantly more efficient than other means of producing light, the solid state hardware, and the general workmanship of the LED headlights we offer, you can rest assured that this represents a serious step up from standard halogen bulbs. Not only do LEDs look nice on your car, they also provide a slew of practical benefits that will make your motoring safer and more efficient.

Many expensive new cars are now rolling off production lines with LED headlights fitted as standard. In any other vehicle, it is possible to retrofit an LED headlights kit with minimal skill and about 30 minutes of your time, so you too can benefit from the unique qualities of LED lighting as you drive.