Pros and Cons of HID Headlamps

Car with HID HeadlampsIn recent years, a lot of innovations have been introduced by the automotive industry. Some of the notable developments include paddle shifters, rear view cameras, voice-activated radio controls, headlamp washers and HID headlamps. In this article, we’ll be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of HID headlamps.

HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps, also known as xenon headlamps, were first introduced as an option for the BMW 7-series in 1991 Europe. Car models in the United States soon caught up with this invention in 1993. These metal halide lamps contain xenon gas, which causes the lamp to produce minimal adequate light upon power-up. Different from tungsten-filament halogen headlamps, the light from HID headlamps typically exhibits a bluish tint.

Some of their advantages include:

1) Increased Driving Safety: A typical HID headlamp illuminates about 3,000 lumens as opposed to 1,400 lumens for halogen bulbs. Because this results in more usable light, drivers can react faster to road obstacles, making it more possible for them to drive more safely.

2) Fuel Efficiency: Efficacy is the measure of how light produced in ratio of energy consumed. As opposed to halogen lamps which produce weak light at the cost of high energy, HID burners typically produce a massive 3,200 lumens at the cost of only 42 watts. This reduced power consumption will benefit the car owner in terms of increased fuel savings and lower carbon emissions.

3) Longevity: While the lifespan of halogen lamps range between a measly span of 450-1,000 hours, HID lamps will only wear out after its 2000th hour of service.

HID HeadlampsTheir disadvantages, on the other hand, are as follow:

1) Glare: Scientific studies have revealed that the light from HID headlamps is 40% more glaring than the light emitted by halogen headlamps. Due to its high intensity, the glare could then negatively impact the vision of oncoming traffic. This would increase the risk of a head-on collision between an HID-enabled vehicle and the vehicle of a blinded driver.

2)  Mercury content: HID headlamp bulb types D1R, D1S, D2S and 9500 contain heavy metal mercury. Newer bulb designs like D3R, D3S, D4R, and D4S, which are in production since 2004, contain no mercury. However, they are not electrically or physically compatible with headlamps designed for the earlier bulb types.

3) Cost: HID headlamps are significantly more costly to produce, install, purchase, and repair. The extra cost of the HID lights may exceed the fuel savings through their reduced power consumption. Although, it can be said that some of this cost disadvantage is offset by the long lifespan of the HID burners.

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