Over the years, studies have shown that a huge percentage of nighttime car accidents are caused by poor lighting, sometimes under bad weather conditions. Due to technology breakthroughs in lighting, there are now high power, long lasting lights, that a person can buy, then install himself with very little effort. These lights are called High Intensity Discharge lights, HID, and they come in kits, with 2 special bulbs, matching ballasts, and 2 starters as well. They are direct replacements for your existing headlight bulbs. Let’s take a look at some of the pros, cons, and tips involved with aftermarket HID light kits.
How The HID Lights Work.
If you’ve ever taken apart a florescent light fixture in the home, you will have noticed the ballasts and starters inside. This is similar to the way an HID lighting system works as well, and it’s one of the reasons they last so long. When you switch on your headlights, a signal goes to the starter unit, which turns on the ballast. The ballast amplifies the electrical current to a higher voltage in order to run the bulbs, which turn on immediately and produce a bright, blue-white light many times stronger than a regular headlamp. The bulbs are specially filled with salts and gases that glow when power in fed through them. HID lights can come in different colors, depending on which gases, salts and the temperature they run at. The driver will immediately notice hundreds of feet of more visibility in front, and the side of the road also. These lights are especially effective under poor weather conditions, such as rain or fog, where they pierce through admirably. Plus, since they have no filaments, they have been known to last up to 10 longer than regular bulbs.
Check Local Regulations Before Purchasing HID light kits
Because High Intensity Discharge Lamps provide such great lighting, called luminous efficacy, they contribute to greater safety for the driver and his passengers, however, some states disagree because of the glare caused to oncoming cars. In those states, HID lights are only permitted in off-road applications. Failure to obey, can result in a citation. There are some manufacturers that now make a lower powered light, and some make the systems switchable to low beams too. Check at the stores that sell the systems, your local highway patrol, or there are also online websites that list states that allow these systems.
While They’re Expensive, They Pay Off In Longevity.
The upfront cost of these high intensity systems is fairly high when compared to regular bulbs. However, if you take into consideration that they last 10 times longer, they actually end up saving you money, while providing much improved lighting safety, for you and your family. In addition to safety, they use less current than halogen bulbs,because they’re much more efficient.
The Colors Are Based On The Temperature They Run.
When you first begin to research your lighting system, you’ll notice that many of them are rated in K, degrees Kelvin, and that the range is about 3,000 K to about 30,000 K. This is what designates how blue the light is when in use, the higher the K, the more blue the color. The Kelvin range that is most like sunlight will be 6,000 K to 8,000 K, but you’ll notice that the color ranges from white all the way to purple, so check your local regulations, then pick what suits you. In some states, they will allow the lights of this type, but limit which temperatures you can buy, which limits the different colors at the same time. The most common limit seems to be a max of 8,000, in the states that do so.
Finding The Right Bulb Size Is Important.
The most important factor in knowing which system to buy, after you decide on temperature, is the bulb size. The bulbs must fit into your headlight sockets in order to make contact and work properly. You can usually check your owners manual to get the right number, pull the bulb out and read the number on it, or, most auto parts stores also have an online database that they can look the number up for you. Once you have that, installation is a breeze.
35W Or 55W, What’s The Difference?
The 35W system is the standard level of brightness that most systems emit, and the 55W lights are much brighter. A 35W system, for example, will produce light that is about 3 times brighter than a regular bulb, and the 55W system produces light at about 5 times brighter than regular bulbs. The 55W systems will be banned in many states for driving on the road, limited to off-road use only.
Doing the research on aftermarket car HID light kits will take a little time, but once you decide on what you want, installation is very easy. If you run into problems, there are tons of stereo shops, accessory shops and repair locations that can make quick work of this installation for just a few dollars.