Automotive Tips

Get to Know Which Bulbs Your Vehicle’s Headlights Require

car-headlightLike many safety mechanisms in our vehicles, we only think about our headlights when they’re not functioning properly. Your vehicle’s headlights allow you to drive at night and in extreme conditions like rainstorms, lighting up the road and any obstacles in your path. Moreover, they allow others to see you. Your Southern California Jiffy Lube has everything laid out, so next time you come to see us for headlight repair or replacement, you’ll have a better understanding of how your vehicle works.


Similar to the tungsten filament bulbs used to light your home, halogen headlights have been used in vehicles since the 1960s. If you’re driving a model more than a few years old, chances are, you’ll need halogen bulbs for your headlights. Typically inexpensive, these bulbs have a lifespan of 500 to 1,000 hours, the lowest of all headlight options; their short duration is attributed to its tendency to convert much of its energy to heat, as these bulbs have a tendency to get extremely hot in a short amount of time.


Driving down a dark road at night, you’ve no doubt encountered bright white headlights with a bluish tint. These high intensity discharge (HID) headlights, or Xenon bulbs named for the trace amounts of the gas used, are found on high-end luxury vehicles. Burning two to three times brighter than traditional halogen bulbs and lasting up to 2,000 hours, drivers have a clear view of the road ahead; however, those passing someone with HID headlights often feel blinded by the brightness. Like halogen bulbs, HIDs convert a significant amount of energy into heat, so never touch an HID bulb after driving with your headlights on.


Light emitting diodes, (LEDs) are just now gaining traction in automobile headlights. Until recently LED headlights have only been used in high-end vehicles, the technology is now offered in moderately priced models, though often sold as an upgrade. LED headlights are not as bright as the HIDs, but they are the longest lasting bulbs available—generating light for up to 15,000 hours. Even better yet, whereas other headlights become extremely hot, LEDs are cool to the touch; most of the energy LEDs use goes toward producing light, not heat.


At Jiffy Lube, we encourage you to learn about the ins and outs of your vehicle; by knowing which type of bulb your vehicle uses, you can anticipate its life expectancy. If you notice you’re burning through bulbs faster than you should, you may have a bigger problem on your hand. The next time you need electrical system services, bring your vehicle into your neighborhood Jiffy Lube. With more than 120 locations in Southern California, there’s always one right around the corner from you.

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