Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Hot Do Headlight and Taillight Bulbs Get?

How Hot Do Headlight and Taillight Bulbs Get?

hot headlights

All light bulbs get hot when in use – it’s the nature of how they work. With the exception of LEDs and fluorescent bulbs, light bulbs work on the principle of resistance. Electric current is directed through the bulb. The filament is designed to resist the flow of electrons. This resistance creates heat, and the filament glows. Different types of filaments (and different gases in the bulb itself) glow more brightly than others. How hot do your headlight and taillight bulbs get?

The question of type

There’s no single answer here. It greatly depends on the type of bulb you’re using. A standard halogen headlight bulb can reach several hundred degrees during operation, and the headlight lens itself might be over 100 degrees. HID lights can reach very, very high temperatures (far in excess of what a halogen can achieve). Xenon plasma bulbs also reach immensely high temperatures.

Taillight bulbs are a bit different from headlights. The lights don’t need to be as bright, and the red lens helps brighten the light produced by the filament. The bulbs work on the same principle, but different wattages, filaments and gasses are used here. However, taillight bulbs can still get quite warm during operation. They can be uncomfortable to touch after being used, but they don’t reach the 100 – 300 degree temperature range common for even low-end headlights.

Caution

If you’ll be replacing your headlight or taillight bulbs, exercise caution. If the lights have been in use, let them cool completely before attempting to replace the bulb, or a serious burn could result.

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...
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...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...


Related questions

Q: Ok so I got into a wreck last week and my head light is smashed and my bumber is pushed against my wheel is it driv

Hi there. I would say that it may be drivable without the bumper functionally. However, depending on your state's vehicle code regulations, it may not be legal to drive without a bumper. I would check your state's laws regarding this...

Q: Electrical problems with the car that started suddenly

If all these problems started happening at the same time then you will have to get the engine control module (ECM) tested to see if it is causing the problems. The ECM controls all these lights using input from the...

Q: headlight

Hey there, thank you for asking about your 1996 Chevrolet K1500. This often times is easiest to do if you are able to park the truck in your garage with the lights on. Put a piece of tape in a...