Do High Beams Use Separate Bulbs?

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.


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Patrick

33 years of experience
1321 reviews
Patrick
33 years of experience
Acura TL V6-3.2L - High beam is not working - Austin, Texas
Patrick arrived early and was very professional. My only complaint is that there were system issues and i could not be provided with the replacement part details, cost, etc
Nissan Versa Note - Car is not starting - Austin, Texas
Patrick was punctual and kind. He was a terrific help! Definitely will contact Patrick if I have any more issues with my car.

Brian

23 years of experience
558 reviews
Brian
23 years of experience
Chevrolet Tahoe V8-5.3L - Car is not starting - Jacksonville, Florida
Very knowledgeable and professional. Pleasure to work with.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Tire Rotation - Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Brian was once again very prompt and professional.

Ben

41 years of experience
1290 reviews
Ben
41 years of experience
Toyota Solara V6-3.3L - High beam is not working - Houston, Texas
HIRE NOW. For sure, he's all business when it comes to fixing your car. If that's all you care about, then he will get the job done, and it will be done RIGHT and without burning a hole in your wallet. He knows inside-out what is in the technical repair manuals...and then some. About his customer service - let me just say that this man provides it from both his heart and his love for fixing cars. You could not possibly run into a more friendly person/mechanic. If asked, he will certainly walk you through everything he is about to do, and rest assured, you will not run into hidden costs. If you talk to him, you will almost forget that you called him out to do a job - he's that friendly. Professional and easy-going... Call Ben. This is the kind of mechanic you want on your side because you can actually trust and talk with him. Even if you're the type to go to shops and dealerships for service, call Ben if you want a second honest opinion. He's definitely my go-to mechanic, and my first choice.

Edmar

22 years of experience
234 reviews
Edmar
22 years of experience
Mitsubishi Galant L4-2.4L - High beam is not working - Little Elm, Texas
Edmar was very knowledgeable, helped us out with questions we had. He was honest, respectful, and attentive to the problem.

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