Headlights are unquestionably one of the most important parts of any vehicle. In a sense, headlights essentially act as your car’s eyes during low light environments, brightening up the road ahead so you can see clearly and drive safely.
Without our car’s lighting systems, it would be nearly impossible to drive safely at night. At night, we use our car’s low beams, when driving in completely obscure roads, we take advantage of the extra light from our high beams and during foggy or snowy conditions, we use our fog lights.
The majority of cars still come equipped with ancient-technology halogen bulbs in their lighting systems, which aren't very bright. Headlights also get scratched and become foggy or hazy with time, which blocks light from shining through, making your headlights even less bright.
As a result, we frequently get asked how to make headlights (or fog lights) brighter, whether dealing with a new or older car and so, we’ve put together 5 ways to help you dramatically improve the brightness of your car’s headlights and fog lights. Enjoy!
LEDs (light-emitting diode) are the brightest headlight bulbs. They are 500% brighter than halogen bulbs, consume half the amount of energy and last five to ten times longer. Unlike halogens which emit a dim yellowish light, LED bulbs emit a pure white light, which dramatically improves nighttime visibility. For these reasons, upgrading to LED bulbs is the number one way to significantly improve your vehicle’s lighting systems.
As a result of their incredible performance, new luxury vehicles such as Bentleys, Rolls Royces, BMWs and Audis now equip certain high-end models with LED headlights. You’ve probably seen their super bright lights emitting a powerful white beam. The good news is that your car’s headlights can be just as bright.
Stock halogen headlights can be converted to LED by using an LED headlight conversion kit. The conversion process is actually very simple since the LED bulbs fit right into your halogen housing and connect right into your headlight power harness. This is no different than simply replacing a halogen bulb, even your grandma can figure it out!
Although not as new as LED technology, HID (high-intensity discharge) bulbs are a major upgrade to halogen technology. HIDs are over three times more bright than halogens and are slightly more energy efficient, lasting up to 5 times longer.
And just like LEDs, there are HID headlight conversion kits, which allow you to convert your halogen headlights to HID. HID kits are slightly cheaper than LED kits. The installation, however, is slightly more complex than LED and may require you to watch a YouTube video or two, definitely not rocket science!
HIDs come in a variety of color temperatures ranging from yellow (3000K - 4300K) to white (5000K - 6000K) to purple (8000K - 12000K). HID bulbs with a white color temperature will shine bright like LEDs, making them another great way to improve your vehicle’s lighting by up to 350%.
Becoming increasingly popular, using a headlight restoration kit is yet another way to improve your vehicle’s light emission.
As a car ages, the wear and tear on headlights can make them foggy and hazy due to moisture slowly creeping into the housing. Further, over time, thousands of tiny scratches distort and block the light coming out of your headlamps.
This method only applies to older vehicles since new cars have brand new headlights. It’s also important to note that restoring your headlights can only restore the original brightness of your halogen-based headlights.
Nevertheless, for cars with headlights in need of restoration, it will not only improve your car’s light emission but it will also make your car look much cleaner. Needless to say, you can upgrade your bulbs to LED or HID and restore your headlights, which would have a double-fold impact on brightness.
Another great way to improve the brightness of your vehicle’s headlight and fog light is to completely replace your existing halogen headlight assembly for either an LED or HID headlight assembly. This process is known as a retrofit.
However, unlike a conversion kit, not every car is eligible for a retrofit and retrofitted headlight assemblies can cost upwards of $2,000. Further, you’ll likely need a mechanic to complete the job, which will run you a couple more hundred dollars on top of that. Lastly, a retrofit may void your vehicle’s warranty, assuming it’s still covered.
Nonetheless, like conversion kits, a retrofit would upgrade your current lighting system from halogen to LED or HID and dramatically improve your lighting by up to 500%.
Lastly, you can replace your stock halogen bulbs with premium-quality halogen bulbs. With higher-quality halogens, you can get between 25% and 50% more light.
Replacing halogens is extremely simple and relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to a retrofit. Combining a halogen bulb upgrade with a headlight restoration kit can have a very nice impact on your car’s lights.
That wraps our guide on how to make your car’s lights brighter, we hope you found it helpful!