Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Should You Change Your Headlight Bulbs to LED?

led headlights

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.

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

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Long Does a Fuel Filler Neck Last?
Getting gas from the pump to your gas tank is the only way to keep a car going. The fuel filler neck is a metal tube that is welded to the...
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 Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...


Related questions

Q: Headlights stay on

Hello. This sounds like the headlight switch is faulty. You might also want to check to make sure you have the headlight switch in either the auto position, or the off position. If the headlight switch is left in the...

Q: Parking lights come on and blink without my assistance

The most common problem is the flasher relay in the interior fuel junction box. Try to replace the relay first and if the problem continues then you may have gotten something into the turn signal switch like cleaners or interior...

Q: Headlights replacement

Hello. In order to properly replace the headlights, the front bumper must be removed. Several of the bolts are hidden behind the bumper, so in order to fully remove it, this must be removed also. If you want to have...