Things To Know About Changing Your Headlights in Salem, OR

When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) hands out its Top Safety Pick awards each year, the judges don't just consider crashworthiness and driver assistance features. They also evaluate the headlights. According to IIHS, "[a]bout half of all fatal crashes in the U.S. occur in the dark, and more than a quarter occur on unlit roads." And, it's no surprise that headlights are one of the most important safety features on your vehicle. That's why it's a good idea to know a little bit about your vehicle's headlights, including information about changing them. On this page, you'll find four things we think are important to know when you have a headlight bulb burn out.

Not all headlights are the same, and not all are as easy to replace 

4. There Are Different Types of Headlights

Though headlights take on a variety of different shapes and styles, there are three main types of headlights you'll find in most modern vehicles. Halogen headlights are the first. They use halogen gas-filled filament bulbs to create their light. Before the early 1980s, halogen bulbs were part of "sealed beam" headlights, which means that the bulb and lens had to be replaced at the same time. However, most modern vehicles with halogen headlamps are of a composite design, meaning you can replace a burned-out bulb without having to also replace the headlight lens.

Next up, you have High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights, also known as xenon headlights. These use an electric arc jumping across two electrodes in a xenon-filled tube to create light. Replacing HID headlights is more expensive than replacing halogen headlights, but they also last much longer. In addition, they provide a brighter beam and use less power than halogen bulbs.

Be sure not to touch the glass on halogen bulbs 

LED headlights use Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), and they're typically considered the best of the best. They shine just as brightly as HID headlights, but they use even less power. What's more, LEDs last for an incredibly long time. In many cases, LED headlights can last for the car's entire lifespan.

It's also not uncommon to see a mix of headlight styles on a single car. Some vehicles may have LED low beams and halogen high beams, or HID low beams and LED daytime running lights. In addition, there are other headlight options, including laser headlights. However, these haven't made wide headway into the industry.

New headlights should shine bright and clear 

3. Can I Change My Headlights from Halogen or HID to LED?

It is possible to upgrade your headlights from halogen or HID to LED, but you might want to consider whether it's worth it. Upgrading to LED headlights can be an expensive endeavour. You can't simply swap out a halogen bulb for LEDs; you have to replace the entire headlight assembly. Because of the unique needs of LEDs, you'll also have to deal with things like finding the right place to install the heat sinks. In addition, you may need extra equipment to make sure that your car's computer knows the lights are working. Because of these, it's best to leave this kind of upgrade to professionals.

2. Can I Change My Own Headlights?

You can certainly change a burned-out halogen headlight bulb yourself, but there are a few important things to take into consideration. The first is that different cars are laid out differently, so there's not a one-size-fits-all approach. It's always best to check your owner's manual before you start on any type of repair or replacement. In addition, it's important to know that touching the new bulb with your bare hands, or any surface that has the oils from your skin, can cause it to burn out in short order.

Replacing HID and LED bulbs is a bit trickier. While it is possible to do it yourself, it saves time and effort to have the professionals take care of it. This is especially true if you're not yet comfortable turning a wrench.

1. What To Do if You've Changed the Bulb, But the Problem Persists

If you've changed the bulb, but it still isn't lighting up, it's possible that the replacement bulb was faulty. However, it's more likely that there's another issue with your car's lighting system. The most common culprit is the electrical system; a bad relay can keep lights from coming on, or there may be some other problem involving wiring. And of course, if you notice that your lights are dimmer than they should be and are providing insufficient light, it may be caused by anything from a bad alternator to cloudy headlight lenses. When DIY doesn't fix the problem, it's time to call in the pros to inspect the system and find the source of the problem.

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  1. Capitol Toyota

    783 Auto Group Avenue
    Salem, OR 97301

    • Sales: (888) 459-7024

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Capitol Toyota

783 Auto Group Avenue Ne
Directions Salem, OR 97301

  • Sales: 503-399-1011
  • Service: 503-399-1011
  • Parts: 503-399-1011