Different types of headlights

Car headlights don’t much explanation. They are what keeps the road illuminated as you cruise on the highway in the middle of the night and help you avoid colliding with a tree or other drivers. The law requires that your headlights work perfectly. Whether your car is new or old, functional headlights are a necessity. Previously, headlights were all pretty much the same but with advances in technology, different cars now have unique headlights. There are many cool ones on the market today and you can take advantage of them.

Continue reading and see the different headlights on the market today.

Reflector headlights

Up until 1985, reflector headlights were the most common used headlights. Even today, they are the headlights you will see with most on the road. The bulb is usually surrounded by a bow-like case that has mirrors installed and their job is to reflect light on the road. Cars in the olden days had their headlights in a fixed casing.  If the bulb burned out, it could not be replaced and therefore you had to change the entire headlight.

Projector headlight

Over the several few decades, technological advancement has greatly improved headlights. Projector headlights are a more recent type that first entered into the market in the year 1980. At first, it was used in luxury cars but now it is common in most cars. Newer car models have come with even more advanced versions of these headlights. In terms of assembly, the projector headlights are similar to reflector headlights. The bulb is enclosed in a steel case with mirrors. The mirrors act as reflectors and the difference between these and the reflector headlights is that the lens works like a magnifying glass.

H4 conversions

H4 conversions are a cost-effective way of upgrading your headlights. This type of reflector uses an H4 dual filament type bulb which can be replaced. Therefore, if the bulb is burned out you will only replace the bulb and the casing remains. That means you don’t need to replace the whole headlight and be back on the road within no time.

Halogen headlights

Many of the cars you see on the road today are fixed headlights with halogen bulbs. This is an improved version of sealed-beam headlights. Older headlights use bulbs that are a heavy-duty version of the regular filament ones common in homes. Halogen bulbs, unlike the regular ones, have a chamber filled with halogen gas instead of a vacuum. It has a smaller gas tube and it houses a minimal content of gas that contains the heat. The halogen gases used here are iodine and bromine-combined. The gases hold the filament firmly so that it doesn’t break or thin. They also ensure that blackening does not occur inside. However, you have to get a genuine one from a reliable auto company.

HID headlights

High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights are also known as Xenon headlights and these employ a completely different technology compared to the ordinary ones. These do not have the usual filament bulbs. A pair of electrodes is trapped in the glass tube and light is produced when an arc of electric power passes across.

When choosing headlights, the choice you make will depend on your preference and your budget. Different headlights are retailed at different costs. Whether you need an appealing headlight or just any, all these are available.


As a mechanical engineer turned blogger, Charlie provides readers with a technical, yet accessible look into the world of automotive engineering and design. His insightful posts make complex car technologies understandable.