Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Do High Beams Use Separate Bulbs?

highbeams

Your headlights have two settings – high and low. High beams are used when you’re driving at night on a deserted stretch of road, and offer much better visibility than low beams. However, they’re too bright to use when there is oncoming traffic, as you can blind the other driver. In this case, you’d switch to your low beams. You also use your low beams when driving in town at night where there’s lots of traffic as well a street lights, and when driving in foggy conditions (high beams create too much reflection in fog, which actually reduces visibility).

The question of how many bulbs

In the past, high beams and low beams were separate bulbs on all cars. Today, that’s not the case. Most modern vehicles have a single bulb with two filaments. One is for the low beams and one is for the high beams. However, that’s not true across the board.

Some cars (mostly higher-end vehicles or performance vehicles) do have separate bulbs for their high and low beams. Generally, you’ll have a standard halogen bulb for low beams, and then an HID bulb for your high beams. These are not interchangeable. Both require a different bulb (HID bulbs are significantly more expensive than halogen bulbs, as well).

Depending on the vehicle in question, you may also have LED bulbs – some automakers use these for parking lights/turn signals, while others are beginning to use them for the actual headlight (these are still rare, although there are aftermarket LED kits available).

So, the answer to the question of whether or not high beams use separate bulbs is: it depends. Check the front of your car. If there are four headlight elements (two on each side), chances are good that you have separate high and low beams. If you only have two headlight elements (one per side), then your vehicle uses a dual filament bulb to operate both the high and low beams.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: How do you operate the High Beams?

Your car has both high and low beam headlights. You’ll generally use your Low Beams for the most part, particularly if you’re driving in an area where there are street lights, but you can use the High Beams in rural...

Q: Headlights don't work on low beam

Hello. Other than what you've already checked on your 2002 Dodge Ram 1500, there are only a few things that could cause the issue you're having. A faulty multifunction switch in the steering column, a faulty body control module under...

Q: Lights keep going out

Hi. Looking at the wiring diagram for your vehicle, I see that the daytime running lights (DRL) were only available in Canada. So, I'm not sure if you mean the DRL or the headlights and tail lamps. Regardless, the factory...