Tag Archives: HID

Difference Between HID and Halogen Lights

A simple upgrade that can increase safety and looks of a vehicle are projector head lights and in turn HID lights.  The difference between HID lights and Halogen lights is the way they burn, to light up.  An HID light will make an arc between two electrodes, while a Halogen light will heat up filament within a gas filled glass.  In most cases HID lighting is more efficient, brighter, and thus safer to use on vehicles to see better in the dark.

Projector Headlights

When buying projector headlights do not assume that you are getting HID lights.  Often times cheap projector head lights are made to use halogen bulbs, instead of the brighter, more intense HID.  The bulbs are generally not interchangable and require an actual kit to get HID lighting out of a traditional halogen bulb setup.  If HID bulbs are used, then melting of the lens and housing is possible.

Before buying projector headlights, for the HID upgrade, make sure that HID bulbs will work in the new headlights you are buying.

High End Vehicle Use

Generally just because headlights on a vehicle are bright, does not mean that they are HID.  High end vehicle manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche, and Lexus are the only vehicles that have stock HID lighting.  Any other mas produced mid range vehicle will require a HID kit to replace the halogen stock head lamp assembly.


This has been a post into a series of articles on explaining entry level questions to automotive enthusiasts.  There are greater details of differences that can be found on HID and Halogen lighting via Wikipedia.

Next What’s The Difference Article: Automatic Vs. Manual Performance

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Upgrading Headlights

Xenon Headlights Logo

Xenon Headlights Logo

Driving at night can be hard. In years past driving at night was a lot harder as the light technology of the day was not that good. Now days we have all kinds of neat light technology so we can easily drive at night.  The thing is most cars even new ones do not come with the good kind of lights. When you get a car it will probably have standard H3 55 watt Halogen bulbs. Halogen bulbs are really bright for their size but they really are getting to be old technology.

The next big thing in lighting is called H.I.D. This stands for High Intensity Discharge. HID bulbs are actually small Xenon bulbs which use less watts than your regular Halogen bulbs but put out like 5 times more light. You may have been driving down the road and saw some car coming with either really white bulbs or bulbs that look sorta blue and they were really bright. These bulbs that are so bright are actually the new Xenon bulbs. They are usually in higher end cars such as BMW, Acura, Mercedes, Porsche and other high end cars. BMW for instance has used Xenon bulbs for years in their cars.

You can actually get these for your car! You do not have to go out and buy a newer or a new car to just be able to see better at night. You can buy an aftermarket HID kit for about any car or truck,even motorcycles for not too much money. Price wise you are looking at somewhere around $300.00 or more for the kit if you get a name brand kit. Be careful to not buy a kit that has no reviews and is some cheap brand because I have heard bad stories of them just going out all the sudden leaving you without any lights.

A kit consists of two ballasts and the proper wiring and bulbs. You can wire it up yourself in around 1-2 hours. You don’t need to be a electrician to do it as it has a step by step guide. In some cars though a kit does not always work well. What happens is the light can be refracted all over the place and go into the other cars lane. In a BMW they have a whole headlight made for the bulbs not just a bulb in a ordinary reflector. In most cases this poses no trouble, especially on newer cars. A simple search on the internet for HID kit can give you all the info you need to make a wise decision. You may need a retrofit which would mean a new headlight kit which could ad to the price big time. Its worth it though because the light output from Xenon bulbs is just insane.

Xenon is a great light technology. Its time regular car companies get on the bandwagon and start puting them in their new cars.