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Headlight Bulbs: How To Choose the Perfect Replacement


Regarding cars, one feature that should not be overlooked is the headlights. Just as humans need eyes to see, headlights play an important role in vehicle safety.

The primary task of headlights on cars is to illuminate roads and ensure free and safe driving. 

Headlights also add aesthetic looks to the exterior and increase the vehicle’s striking features. Keep reading to explore the best types of headlight bulbs in 2023. 

Table of Contents
Overview of the global headlight bulb market
Reasons to replace headlight bulbs
What’s the best time to replace headlight bulbs?
3 types of headlights retailers can stock
How to choose the perfect headlight bulb in 2023
Rounding up

Overview of the global headlight bulb market

In 2021, the global headlight bulb market generated US $6.7 billion in revenue. However, experts expect it to reach US $12.0 billion at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% from 2022 to 2031. They also project the rising concerns for lighting government and road safety regulations will drive the market’s growth over the forecast period.


Marketing experts anticipate that LED headlight bulbs will dominate the global market and account for the highest revenue share over the forecast period. They predict the headlight type’s world penetration rate will exceed 90% in new energy vehicles (NEV).


Asia-Pacific emerges as the dominant region, accounting for over 43% of the total revenue share. Such growth results from the continent’s increasing industrialization and urbanization. As a result, experts predict China and India will drive the industry’s growth.

Reasons to replace headlight bulbs

According to the World Health Organization’s published data in June 2022, nearly 1.3 million people die in road traffic accidents each year, with unsafe vehicles listed as one of the significant risk factors.

A car with faulty or partially functional headlights is unsafe to drive on roads with or without pedestrians. In addition, headlight bulbs shouldn’t go out entirely before making replacements. Unfortunately, environmental factors and prolonged usage can wear out these bulbs over time, making it necessary to check every once in a while..

Inadequate headlights can impair the driver’s vision, leading to dangerous journeys or fatal accidents. However, switching to a pair of new, bright ones can increase visibility, illuminating critical areas like diversions signs and obstacles.  

Cars with worn-out headlights also won’t pass safety inspection checks, attracting unwanted costs or potential impounding. 

What’s the best time to replace headlight bulbs?

It’s bad practice to wait for bulbs to burn out before replacing them. Such situations are dangerous and often cause fatal accidents.

One way to stay ahead is to follow a mechanic’s advice or timeline. For example, these professionals can quickly check if a headlight bulb is nearing the end of its lifespan and will offer replacement tips.

However, only some situations demand the expertise of a mechanic. Drivers that notice dimming or “fluttering” beams should invest in new headlights as soon as possible. Ignoring these signs could lead to driving in the dark.

In addition, retailers must ensure to replace bulbs in pairs, allowing the beams to match evenly in strength and direction.  

3 types of headlights retailers can stock

1. Halogen headlights

Gray car using halogen headlights

Halogen bulbs are the old dogs of the headlight market. However, since the 2000s, manufacturers have used them to upgrade vehicles with incandescent headlight bulbs. 

Interestingly, these bulbs feature tungsten filaments enclosed in glass. The bulbs also come filled with halogen and other noble gases to create illumination.

What’s more? Car manufacturers usually provide specific vehicle headlights, and nothing beats the default bulb set. Halogen versions are the most common bulb types on the market and are incredibly reliable for long-term use.

Not to mention, they’re the most accessible and affordable headlight bulbs to replace, especially for cars developed before 2010.

2. LED headlights

Black saloon car with LED headlights

LED headlights are hotcakes in the auto industry. Usually, they last longer than halogen variants and offer a brighter illumination. Although LEDs started as expensive options, businesses can now find them on various lower-priced vehicles.

Even so, LED headlights are still slightly expensive, making them more costly to replace. Sometimes, LED headlights may be tricky to install due to their complex components and chips.

For example, they look and feel subtle, helping to increase a vehicle’s aesthetics. In addition, they consume less energy than their halogen counterparts since they don’t generate heat.

Unfortunately, not all car models allow switching from halogen headlights to LED variants

3. Xenon HID headlights

Black car using xenon HID headlights at night

Xenon headlights are premium variants that often reside on expensive cars. Also known as High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps, these headlights deliver a white-blue light brighter than halogen and comparable to LEDs.

They also boast incredible reach and can illuminate more distances than LED headlights. Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights also have extended durations but don’t last as long as their LED counterparts. 

Some xenon lights are so bright on dark roads that even the low beams can obstruct other drivers’ lines of sight.

To compensate, cars with xenon lights often have leveling systems that adjust the beam patterns automatically when activated.

How to choose the perfect headlight bulb in 2023

Choosing headlight replacements in 2023 have one basic rule: Know the three primary bulb types and understand the one best suited for the vehicle.

Interestingly, every car has a default headlight, either Xenon/HID, LED, or halogen. Note that most vehicles enter the market with halogen headlights, while other modern, luxurious variants feature LED lights.

In addition, drivers must choose headlights with the proper fit. However, it’s easier said than done due to the various options available. So, they can consider factors like headlight appearance, safety, duration, and budget.

Another critical factor is the headlight’s temperature. Despite wanting the road to be as bright as possible, it’s counter-effective if it blinds oncoming drivers, defeating the safety goal. 

Rounding up

Car headlights are crucial to any vehicle, and businesses must give them more attention. In truth, headlight replacements can increase a vehicle’s aesthetics, increase visibility, provide more illumination, and avoid failed safety inspections. 

It’s essential to know when headlights need replacements before total burnout. Watch out for signs like flickering and dimming to unplanned headlight failures.

Businesses must consider these reasons before choosing xenon, LED, or halogen as replacement headlight bulbs.

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