Headlights are probably the most fundamental part of a car, right next to the wheels and engines. From the very first vehicle made by Karl Benz to today, all cars have had headlights. But long gone are the days of reflective halogen headlights. Now, thanks to ever more advanced technological innovations, the market has been flooded with all new types of headlights, from high intensity discharge lamps, also known as HIDs, to LED headlights and now laser lights, as seen in the newer Audi, BMW and even Mercedes.
Let me walk you through the bewildering array of headlights, outlining the pros and cons of each, so I can help you justify which one suits your driving needs best.

Ah, the good old reliable halogen headlight. It has been a familiar sight on many cars, both old and new. I can list ten makes and models that still use halogens in their vehicles, just off the top of my head. And there’s a good reason it’s still used, even in this age of high-tech lighting sources. It is cheap. Halogens on average cost less than HID bulbs, both to replace and repair. They also provide one of the best high beam lengths of any other light source, making them the bulb of choice for country dwellers. Now, the cons. Halogens may have great high beam capability, but their low beams are particularly poor, especially when compared to newer headlight types. The lighting pattern of halogens is scattered and sometimes rarely focused on the road, meaning they often lose focus on what they are supposed to illuminate. Notice with HID bulbs, how they often cut out hard, instead of lighting up the whole place. Low beams also have an incredibly low illumination range, making them a real problem in dark areas of the state.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love all headlights equally. I don’t pick favourites…but with that being said though, if I had to pick a favourite, it would be HID headlights. It may not be your favorite (I think you’re wrong, but hey, free country), but I definitely love HIDs. These newly developed headlights were once a part of high-end German vehicles. As an example, the first HID headlights fitted to a conventional vehicle were the $300,000 AUD BMW 750il, and even then they were an optional extra! Soon these headlights began to fall on more mainstream and affordable cars, like the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, you name it. Many manufacturers have a preference for HID lights, as they often take up less space than regular halogens, provide better range and visibility at night, and focus the light source down the road without excessive interference or light scatter. Its minimal footprint also allows car designers greater flexibility with vehicle contours and shapes. These lights are also praised by other drivers, who find that the more focused beam on the road means there are fewer people blinding them at night. These bulbs are also the first port of call with adaptive cornering headlights, the lights that come on when you turn the wheel. Since the light beams are so focused and the housing is incredibly small, it has allowed many vehicles to be equipped with corner headlights. However, HIDs are not without problems. First of all, they are expensive to repair. Despite being more energy efficient and consuming less power, they are often more expensive and difficult to replace or change bulbs. Second, they are known for their less than perfect high beam quality, with the light somewhat muted and restricted.

Before moving on to the next Lighthouse form, a quick note. While many may see an HID unit, it’s worth mentioning that they come in two different bulbs. One, which is mostly used in many vehicles today, is Bi-Xenon HID bulbs. These bulbs contain an industry standard of 4300K ​​illumination, but many of the aforementioned affordable vehicles (Toyota Camry and Honda Civic) contain only HID halogen bulbs. Bi-xenons are most preferred, as their light source is better suited to the color of natural daylight, or even better, to a bright white color.

Much like Uber’s high-end luxury barges of the 1990s, LED headlights have only been seen as a feature on higher-end German vehicles. The first vehicle to offer it was the Lexus LS600hL, before it was introduced in the flagship Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series, and now it has even made its way to more affordable cars such as the Honda Accord, Subaru Liberty and Toyota. CH-R. LED headlights, while they have fantastic range for both low and high beams, are no doubt expensive to replace and repair. However, with the market becoming more and more diluted with LED light manufacturers, it will soon become a standard feature on many cars.

It’s got fucking lasers!
Unfortunately, if you were hoping to live out your James Bond super-villain fantasy, you’ll have to keep looking elsewhere. These are not lasers that can shoot and destroy the idiot who is driving in the outside lane but is going 10 km under the limit. Laser technology has been developed for use in headlamps to provide a longer, brighter, longer range. While they are a relatively new development in the auto industry, they are already available in higher model offerings from Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and other high-end luxury automakers. It’s not hard to see why laser headlights are becoming popular. Its range helps extend visibility up to 600 meters and has been shown to increase braking time by up to 5 seconds, which is an incredible amount. While these damn lasers are gaining in popularity, it’s worth mentioning that they are incredibly complex pieces of technology, taking a great deal of time and effort to manufacture. Laser headlights are different from LED, HID and halogen headlights in that they generate more heat, which means they require special cooling fans to keep them at optimum temperature. Since they are difficult to manufacture, you should expect a hefty repair bill if they decide to fail. While the laser headlight theory sounds incredible, it will be quite some time before we see it make its way to more mainstream vehicles.