Everything You Need to Know About Upgrading Your Headlights

Did you know that it was not mandatory for vehicles back in the day to have headlights? The first-ever headlights were powered by acetylene. There was a mirror that projected the light away from the lamp, but rain and wind would deter the light and even turn it off. After that, electric headlights came along and completely changed the landscape of improvements.

After the debut of electric headlights in the early 1900s, in 1930 sealed beam headlights came on the scene and they were here to stay. Sealed beam headlights are still found today alongside their successors, HID lights which came along in the late 90s early 2000s. Today, the future is clearly inscribed in LED and laser headlights which are the newest technological advancements with a big focus on safety.

How Do I Know Which Headlight Bulb to Buy?


white headlights
source: pinterest.com

You need to understand the various type of headlights used nowadays. If you plan to upgrade car headlight bulbs and you want them to be the same as the stock ones then you would probably need halogen ones. Why? Because halogen headlight bulbs are the most commonly used today. They are the most affordable as they have low manufacturing costs but they do not perform as well as other types.


If you want to upgrade headlight bulbs to something more efficient and long-lasting then go for LED headlights. LED is a versatile technology that is used in torches and it can be used to illuminate your home too. The holy grail of innovation when it comes to illumination is able to produce bright light without losing a lot of power. Although LED headlight bulbs are not as affordable as Halogen ones, they are far more efficient since they can last up to about 100,000 hours and even more than that.

HID (Xenon)

Although not as unique as LED bulbs, HID (high-intensity discharge) bulbs are able to provide a brighter light. Also known as xenon bulbs, they use gas and electrodes to generate light, producing is the brightest and also the least intrusive light. With HID headlight bulbs, you won’t blind oncoming drivers. The downside with HID lights is that they are quite expensive and tricky to handle and therefore more difficult to install.

xenon headlights
source: unsplash.com

Other Factors to Keep in Mind


The first thing to consider when you want to upgrade car headlight bulbs is the wattage they need to have in order to be compatible with your vehicle. This information can be found either on the current headlights or in the car manual. If the current headlights are not the ones that came with your vehicle, then the manual won’t help you much. Matching the wattage will ensure the upgraded headlight bulbs are going to operate properly.


Headlights are exposed to all sorts of conditions – hot, cold, wet, and dry which is why you should ensure the bulbs you get are weatherproof. This will ensure that they do not get affected by the elements as otherwise, you’ll end up replacing them a lot sooner than you’d expect.


If your vehicle supports a set of features regarding the headlights, then you need to keep them in mind too. One of these features is ADB or adaptive driving beam, which helps prevent unnecessary glare that can be projected on oncoming drivers at night. This is a fairly new technology but if your vehicle has it make sure to get compatible lights.

car headlights
source: howtogeek.com

High-Beam Assist

Similar to ADB, high-beam assist is a slightly different technological advancement that incorporates a camera. The camera here is used to detect vehicles on the road and blackout parts where the light would otherwise illuminate the other vehicle. This eliminates the need to turn off your high beams when there’s oncoming traffic.

How Do I Know My Headlight Bulb Size?

To find out the headlight bulb size you need to look for that information in the manual. But sometimes this information is not listed in the manual of your car, only the wattage of the bulbs. If that’s the case, then try searching for the bulb size online. There are plenty of websites that offer search tools for this.


All in all, headlight bulbs can be a simple upgrade if you decide to go that route. If you want to implement new tech and incorporate all of the features your vehicle has to offer then it can be quite complicated. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get more powerful headlights. You should simply look for ones with a higher wattage. Make sure it isn’t too high as it will discharge the battery faster. As long as you know what you want from your new headlight bulbs you’ll have no issues finding the right ones.