Have you ever driven your car at night only to realize that you barely see 10 feet ahead of you? If you’re becoming anxious just by thinking about this, maybe it’s time to do something about your headlights? Getting new headlights can be tricky. There’s plenty of options out there in the OEM and aftermarket segment. There are also numerous brands to choose from. Hella headlights, along with Valeo headlights are some of the top options for a variety of European cars right now. Let’s find out why!
Headlights – OEM vs. Aftermarket
Replacing the headlights used to rarely be done back in the day, unless of course, you had a broken headlights assembly. More often than not, a bulb change would fix whatever issues you had with your headlamps.
These days things are different. Not only have headlights become enclosed, sometimes monolithic systems, but they’re also made using different materials. For instance, most modern headlights are made of acrylics these days. The days of glass are long gone.
Let’s say your headlight went out for whatever reason, and changing the bulb won’t fix anything. What choices do you have?
Genuine replacement headlights are often seen as the best option. After all, it’s what the factory recommends. When you purchase genuine parts, you’re not only getting a high standard of quality, but you’re also getting the warranty that comes with it. The only issue here is the price.
Genuine parts have the vehicle manufacturer’s logo printed on the part, and that alone is enough to blast the price into the stratosphere.
The OEM Route
The next best thing is the OEM headlights. These are often the same as genuine ones, minus the imprinted logo and the warranty. However, you’re still getting the same quality, performance, and durability. Hella and Valeo are both great sources of OEM headlights, especially Hella. This company has a long history of making bright lights for automotive purposes.
What makes OEM category attractive is the bang for the buck value you’re getting out of these products. The quality is the same or nearly the same as with genuine parts, but without the financial hit on your wallet.
Lastly, you can go aftermarket. This can be a hit or miss territory depending on what you’re looking for and what car you drive. The whole idea behind the aftermarket segment is to be able to find a headlight that is different from your factory ones. You can find LED headlights for cars that otherwise don’t have them, headlamps with xenon projectors, and more.
Our only word of advice is to be very careful when going for flashy lamps, no pun intended. Although many solid companies dabble in the aftermarket, this segment is full of cheap but attractive products. If you’re after a unique aesthetic, you’ll have to navigate the aftermarket’s murky waters to find something that’s both appealing and reliable. It’s not impossible, but it’ll take some effort.
Headlight Bulbs – Halogen, Xenon, LED
In case that your headlights are fine, but your bulbs are ready for replacement, there are several options out there. Almost all cars, aside from the sci-fi BMWs that are hitting the market, use three different types of headlight bulbs – halogen, xenon or HID and LED.
- Halogen bulbs – are the oldest tech of the lot. They’re often found on older cars and are not too different from a regular household bulb. Both use filaments, and both tend to go out over time. The good thing about halogen bulbs is their low price while the not so good thing is the lack of lumens.
- Xenon/HID – Next up are the xenon or High-Intensity Discharge bulbs. When xenon lights first appeared, they were all the rage. These bulbs offer illumination by using an electric arc that bridges a pair of electrodes, passing through xenon gas. Xenon bulbs are expensive, but they pack a lot of lumens. So much so that they can often be a nuisance for the oncoming traffic. That’s why xenon lights need to be appropriately configured.
- LED – The most recent standardized evolution of bulbs comes in the form of LEDs. LED technology has been around for a while and has now made its way into the automotive industry. This type of bulb is exceptionally durable, can be quite bright, and is very efficient. However, retrofitting LED bulbs in an older vehicle can be problematic.
Upgrading the Bulbs – Potential Issues
Unfortunately, upgrading the bulbs isn’t always a plug and play type procedure. In fact, there’s nothing worse than a poorly retrofitted pair of headlights staring at you in the oncoming traffic. The whole issue comes down to how different headlights are designed to work.
One of the most common upgrades is going from halogen to xenon/HID. An average driver might get a basic conversion kit, take out the halogen bulbs, plug in the xenons, and off they go. However, they don’t know that halogen headlights feature reflective surfaces that are designed for halogen lights only.
Putting a xenon package in there is a problem. The reflective surfaces in halogen headlights are simply not designed to wrangle the out of xenon bulbs and focus them into a beam. As a result, you’ve got a floodlight that is all over the place. Although it might look good from within the passenger cabin, other drivers won’t appreciate them one bit.
The only proper way to do a xenon retrofit on halogen systems is to get a completely new headlight. Hella and Valeo offer a wide range of headlights that will give you the upgrade you’re looking for at a decent price.
Every industry has that one brand that has been there from the very beginning. When it comes to automotive illumination, Hella is that brand. They’ve been at the forefront of headlamp development since 1908. Not only that, but Hella has been heavily involved in all kinds of motorsports. The knowledge and experience gained in these conditions have allowed this company to come up with innovative solutions for the streets.
Today, Hella makes some of the best headlights in the industry. They are one of the most popular OEM manufacturers with 15 contracts spanning over 120 different vehicles. In other words, there’s a decent chance that your car’s headlights are made by Hella.
How to Choose the Right Headlight for Your Car?
Finding the proper headlight that matches your car’s make and model can be tricky. That’s why we’ve put together a navigation tool that does all the legwork for you. All you have to do is head over to our online shop and input your car’s information. Once our system crunches the data, you’ll be presented with all of the products that fit the criteria. Alternatively, you can use our VIN tool to get an even more accurate selection of parts.
In case you have any questions regarding headlights and can’t find an answer on our site, feel free to get in touch with us. You can contact our customer support via email or phone. Our reps are standing by to help you with whatever questions you might have.