Should You Change Your Headlight Bulbs to LED? | YourMechanic Advice

Should You Change Your Headlight Bulbs to LED?

Headlight technology has evolved a lot over the last couple of decades. Once upon a time, cars had sealed headlights (you had to replace the housing too whenever a bulb blew). Then came permanent lenses and replaceable small bulbs – halogen bulbs are the most common of these, but there are several others out there, including xenon bulbs. Now there are LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs, but is it necessary to change bulbs?

What you should know

LEDs offer a lot of benefits, but are they really right for you? Some of the benefits of using LEDs include the following:

  • Reduced power draw on your system: This may or may not be a selling point for you, because your car was designed to run well with the draw from the stock headlight bulbs.

  • Increased lifespan: LED bulbs can last a very long time; much longer than halogen bulbs, xenon bulbs or anything else on the market.

Those are the primary benefits. Some people claim that LED bulbs offer better illumination, but this is only true for certain types. LEDs actually produce very bright light, but because of their small size, you need more bulbs to equate to the same light output of a standard halogen bulb.

Then there’s the question of directionality. In a halogen headlight bulb, a reflector directs and amplifies the light (the bulbs are omnidirectional and the reflector bounces light forward). If the LED bulbs you choose don’t have a reflector system or another means of directing the light where you need it, you might not get the best illumination.

You’ll also have to contend with additional equipment. With a standard halogen or xenon bulb, the bulb connects directly to the wiring harness and then screws into the back of the headlight lens. LEDs are different. There’s an additional component (a heat sink) that must be accommodated somewhere under the hood.

Is changing out to LED bulbs the right move for you? It could be but you’ll have to balance the cost of a quality replacement with the difficulty of installing them, as well as the light emission (and reach) of the LEDs you choose over conventional headlight bulbs.


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Mazyar

7 years of experience
315 reviews
Mazyar
7 years of experience
Mitsubishi Galant - Oil Change - Snellville, Georgia
Marvelous job done by Mazyar on my car. He was friendly and does not mind if you watch him perform the job. He will even show you what he is doing and how. He too will show you if he finds a problem with the vehicle so you can see for yourself. I say this because he was only supposed to change the oil and filter but I told him about a noise I keep hearing in the suspension. He inspected the suspension while he was underneath the car and came to find out it was the stabilizer bar links. He was patient at finding the issue and never rushed through it just because it was not part of the service. This shows me that he indeed cares about the customer and its vehicle and does not mind doing extra, as long as the customer is satisfied with his work and and all questions are answered. I will sure be using him for future services.
Porsche 911 - Oil Change - Douglasville, Georgia
Mazyars what can I say the consummate professional. He has worked on my 2001 911 turbo several times. He is awesome and you can tell he enjoys what he does. Very very satisfied. Will call on him anytime to work on my vehicles.

Nazareth

26 years of experience
181 reviews
Nazareth
26 years of experience
Nissan Altima - Oil Change - Tujunga, California
Nazareth was prompt, friendly and efficient. He had an earlier cancellation and called to offer an earlier appointment. He is very knowledgeable and wiling to take the time to explain things in detail with no jargon. He offered a detailed explanation of my car's condition and additional repair items required. I'm a former auto mechanic from the 1970's and I can say that I'm very pleased with the service Nazareth provided.

Chuck

9 years of experience
216 reviews
Chuck
9 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala - Oil Change - Dallas, Texas
Chuck did a good job! He showed up about 20 minutes earlier than scheduled on a Thanksgiving and completed the full service oil change within one hour. Great communication skills as well .

Eduardo

18 years of experience
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Eduardo
18 years of experience
BMW 740i - Oil Change - Houston, Texas
Eduardo is always very professional and prompt! He does an awesome job with every service request to my vehicle. I will trust him with all my required repairs and services.

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