What Are 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.


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Rafael

26 years of experience
39 reviews
Rafael
26 years of experience
Mazda 3 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Oakland, California
Rafael is great. He's nice, calm, takes his time, knows what he's doing. Competent and honest. Highly recommend him.
Mazda 6 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Rodeo, California
He was amazing! Was even able to do additional work that was needed for my brakes in the same day. great work! would highly recommend.

Aurelio

35 years of experience
18 reviews
Aurelio
35 years of experience
Nissan Maxima - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - San Antonio, Texas
Aurelio has done it again!!! Great service and completed faster than I expected. Very happy to say he is MY mechanic for any and all my car maintenance. Great Trustworthy person all the around and extremely knowledgeable. I appreciate him always taking the time to explain car stuff and answer any questions I have.

Pierre

8 years of experience
109 reviews
Pierre
8 years of experience
Toyota Venza - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Stoughton, Massachusetts
Arrived earlier than scheduled and completed all the work required. His demeanor and knowledge was great and I am very happy with the work!

Bryant

11 years of experience
405 reviews
Bryant
11 years of experience
Scion iA - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Carmel, Indiana
This is my first time using this service. I am very happy with it. Bryant was very knowledgeable and did quality work. I will use this service more regularly.

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