Car Lights, Bulbs & Indicators
Shop Car Lights, Bulbs & Indicators
Halogen car lights
The original car lights were halogen bulbs. These bulbs use a tungsten filament suspended in halogen, an inert gas that’s almost completely non-reactive. This means that the tungsten element can be heated via an electrical current to an incredibly high temperature, causing the element to glow white hot and give off a tremendous amount of light.
For a long time halogen bulbs were your only choice for car lights. That was a problem as halogen bulbs are the most inefficient kind of lightbulb around. They require a lot of electricity to start up and their power use remains high for as long as they’re on. Another problem with halogen bulbs is that they don’t last very long. Your car’s light bulbs will burn out after only 1000 hours of use. Halogen bulbs are so inefficient that many nations have taken steps to reduce their use.
Other types of car lights
Because they don’t make the best car lights, most manufacturers are moving away from halogen bulbs. Two more modern car light bulbs are LED and HID bulbs. HID stands for high-intensity discharge. HID bulbs operate using very similar technology to halogen car lights. They use a combination of tungsten and non reactive noble gases, but instead of an element the tungsten parts create an electric arc that discharges plasma. This makes them brighter and more efficient than halogen bulbs. LED stands for light emitting diode, and they use hyper efficient semiconductor materials. They outlive both halogen bulbs and HID car lights by thousands of hours.
It may be tempting to buy either LED or HID bulbs if your car currently uses halogen bulbs. However, before you do, it’s important to understand that not all car electrical systems can support LED and HID car light bulbs. This means that your car may not be road legal if you replace your halogen bulbs with another type. Please read this explainer for more information.