Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. What Are Xenon Headlights?

What Are Xenon Headlights?

xenon headlights

You’ll hear a lot of names bandied about when discussing headlights – halogen, xenon, “super blue,” and HID are just some of them. If you’re thinking about replacing your headlights and are looking for something that’s both higher performing and longer lasting, xenon headlights might sound like they fit the bill. What are they, though?

Xenon headlight bulbs

Xenon is a gas – it’s used in HID (high intensity discharge) lights. These headlights are very different from conventional halogen bulbs, and will not work in a standard headlight socket. You can find bulbs on the market that attempt to mimic the color of the light produced, but these are not xenon bulbs.

HID lights offer up to 90% better light emission than halogen bulbs, allowing you to see the road ahead much better. However, they differ a great deal from what most drivers are used to with their cars. There are three stages to lighting such a bulb. The first stage, ignition, is where xenon actually comes into play. A massive electrical charge is sent into the bulb from the ballast (another component not found with halogen bulbs). This supercharges the gas and increases the temperature significantly. Next, metallic salts in the bulb vaporize, helping to connect the two electrodes in the bulb. Finally, the ballast begins supplying constant voltage to create a stable arc between the electrodes.

Why xenon?

There are several advantages to using xenon bulbs. We’ve touched on the better light emission, but you’ll also find that they require less power overall to operate. They also last longer than halogen bulbs, meaning that you’ll replace your bulbs less frequently.

Of course, there are trade-offs here. If you have halogen bulbs currently, you’ll need to buy a full retrofit kit to use xenon bulbs. You’ll also find that direction is imperative – the brightness can literally blind other drivers, so you must have the lights angled correctly.

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

The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
P0477 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Pressure Control Valve Low
P0477 code means that the PCM has detected an abnormally low voltage reading often due to the exhaust back pressure control valve circuit.


Related questions

Q: Headlight went out twice

When you install the new bulbs, you have to take caution not to touch the bulb or get any type of grease or oil on them. If you do, you should wipe them off with alcohol. I would try a...

Q: How do I turn on the daytime running lights?

The daytime running lights are dimmer versions of the headlights. The will come on automatically when the vehicle is turned on, the parking brake is released, and the headlights are not turned on.

Q: Headlights flash on and off

If your vehicle is experiencing intermittent problems with the headlights, there is probably some sort of electrical problem present somewhere. That particular year and model is known display symptoms such as the ones you describe, when the Central Timer Module...