Do High Beams Use Separate Bulbs?

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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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Ben

39 years of experience
1129 reviews
Ben
39 years of experience
Toyota Solara - 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.
GMC Sierra 1500 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Houston, Texas
Ben is an awesome mechanic and all around awesome guy. He is dependable and honest and in todays world...that goes a long way with me. Thank you for such great service. I will be back.

Patrick

31 years of experience
1051 reviews
Patrick
31 years of experience
Acura TL - 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

Jason

15 years of experience
429 reviews
Jason
15 years of experience
Toyota Camry - High beam is not working - Concord, California
Very competent and pleasant.

Donald

38 years of experience
124 reviews
Donald
38 years of experience
Audi A6 - High beam is not working - Atlanta, Georgia
Was punctual. Did what was needed and informed of the issues I needed to address after the inspection. Great mechanic!

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