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Seven Things You Need to Know About LED Headlights

In the last decade, LED headlights have made remarkable inroads in the automotive market, based on the powerful combination of superb illumination and low power consumption they offer. But they still don’t come as standard equipment in many car models, and as a dealer option they can often be prohibitively expensive.

Given these factors, the question remains: Are they right for you and your car? To help you decide, here are seven things you need to know about LED headlights and LED headlight bulbs if you’re going to take the plunge and buy a set.

1.Know the Basics.

Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, first started proliferating in modern cars during the early 2000s. They were first introduced on the Lexus brand, and the first American car to offer them was the Cadillac Escalade Platinum model in 2009.

One of the basic differences between LED headlight bulbs and regular headlights is the heat factor, i.e., diodes tend to produce more light at low temperature than at higher temps. To keep the illumination stable across a wide range of temperatures, heat sinks or cooling fans are typically inserted in the back of the apparatus where the emitter is located, which also protects the surrounding assemblies and cables.

Because of their simplicity, though, LEDs are being used for other lighting functions such as parking lamps, brake lamps, turn signals and daytime running lamps. Part of the attraction is that they tend to consume less power, which makes them a popular choice for hybrids such as the Toyota Prius.

2.Know Your Cars.

While some models now come with LED headlights as standard equipment, most are still based on conventional headlight technology, and LED headlights can be expensive as a dealer option. LED headlights are most frequently found in the high end/luxury car market where price is less of an issue for those who prefer them.

It is possible to replace your current headlights with LED bulbs, but the first step is to determine if they were originally standard equipment, and whether an LED replacement is possible if they’re not. If they came as standard equipment, you can simply swap out the bulb; if not, you’ll probably need to replace the entire headlight assembly.

3.Know Your Headlight Style.

There are several styles of LED headlights, but one of the most popular is known by several names: halo headlights, projector headlights, and the more informal designation of “angel eyes.” The common denominator between the three is that they all feature a round halo effect that forms a ring around the standard light.

The bulbs in LED headlights also come as part of a conversion kit, and you’ll need to know whether the kit is compatible with the make and model of your car. You can usually find this information via a standard search.

If you’re looking for a particular style and look for your car, you’ll need to know something about aftermarket headlights as well. Companies like Spyder and Anzo are just two examples of those offering aftermarket headlights, and there are many others as well. There are styles and conversion kits for just about every preference, from generic to sleek to sporty, so most of this choice depends on your ride and what you want.

4.Know How to Shop.

Once you have a decent idea of what you’re after, the shopping process becomes fairly basic. First, do a series of searches to eliminate what you don’t want, then hone in on the specifics of your prospective purchase (i.e., brand, style, color, etc.,).

You can shop online via specialty sites or general shopping sites like Amazon and eBay, but its usually a good idea to visit a store or dealership that carries upscale accessories so you can see what LED headlights look like in person. After that you can do the final price comparison and make your final decision.

In some respects, your search will dictate where to shop. Some items are easier to find in certain parts of the country and more difficult in others, so its important to know who has what near you, and what ordering capabilities different stores and sites have. You can also check on the lead time to get a given brand or style of LED headlights if you find out it will take extra time to get a rare or specialty item.

5.Know the Pricing.

When you do your pricing, make sure you have a budget. Your budget should be based at least in part on based on the longevity of LED headlights, which are supposed to last longer than conventional headlights, although some manufacturers won’t specify how much longer. When you’re researching the prices, find out what the warranty is for the LED headlight you’re buying and the conditions and terms of that warranty as well.

Part of the reason for having a budget it because of the number of options associated with LED headlights and bulbs, with the various combinations making it easy to spend hundreds of dollars. This is fine if you have the money to spend, but as a general rule you can expect to pay a minimum of $50-100 for a pair of LED headlights.

6.Know the Aftermarket Tricks.

Aftermarket LED headlights are often preferred choice for serious style aficionados, partially because of the number of choices that are available. For ordinary buyers, though, one of the most common reasons they end up looking at aftermarket LED headlights is that many manufacturers don’t offer LED headlights as an option for a retrofit in a normal reflective headlight style.

Another is that aftermarket LED headlights are often the best way to get a particular style or look that matches their ride, with the two biggest favorites being chrome and black. The black housing is usually a good fit for Japanese cars, while chrome housing tends to draw more attention for those interested in that particular look.

7.Know About the Installation Process.

With some aftermarket LED headlights, you’ll need to do some modifications to your headlight harness to make it work with the LEDs and the halo rings. This may require splicing wires for the low beams or parking lights to make sure these functions will work with whatever aftermarket product you’re installing.

If you don’t have the skills and knowledge for this, make sure to use a professional to install the conversion kit. And if you do end up using a professional, find out whether you need to buy the conversion kit through his or her shop in order to have the installation done there.

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Types of Automotive LED Lights

When you think of automotive LED lights, how many types of lights do you imagine? If you’re like most vehicle owners, you probably think of headlights, or maybe light strips. However, did you know there are far more types out there? Automotive LED lights are available to fit virtually any need you might have on your car. Whether you’re looking for a replacement for a blown bulb or you want to find a way to add a bit more style to your ride, LED lights can help.
Headlights
Headlights are probably the most common application for LED technology in the automotive world. You’ll find that these are available in standard bulb replacement sizes, as well as in light strips that mount under your standard headlights. Daytime running lights are also available (and the long life of LED technology makes this a perfect application). You’ll find several other related LED light types here as well, including halo rings, eyes and even strobe kits.
Brake Lights
One of the more interesting applications of LED technology is in car brake lights. Automotive LED lights offer faster rise times (.2 seconds over conventional bulbs), which means that drivers behind you see your lights faster. That keeps you and your family safer on the road. Taillights are also available with LED technology, and the rise time benefits apply here as well, particularly when driving in transitional light areas (think going into a tunnel and having to turn on your lights due to the dark).
Dash Lights
The lights in your car’s dash are important for safety and visibility at all times, not just at night. When one fails, it’s a serious process to replace it (usually requiring a trip to the dealership too). By replacing your dash lights with LED car lights, you can ensure that you’ll need to replace the light far less frequently. You can even choose different colors of lights, too.
Dome Lights
Most vehicles come equipped with a dome light that comes on when you open the door, or turn the light selector to interior. Dome lights blow quickly, and they’re also rather generic in color output. You can revolutionize your interior with an LED car light – they’re far longer lasting, and you can purchase them in a range of different colors, helping you to get the look and feel that you want.
Off-Road Lighting
Think LED car lights are limited to headlights, taillights, brake lights and the like? Think again. You’ll find this reliable technology is also being used in off-road lighting. These lights sit outside your vehicle and are used to provide additional visibility on job sites, or when adventuring off-road. LED technology is the perfect solution to the rigors of this environment, including the greater lifespan, better light emission and ability to withstand shocks.
There are far more types of automotive LED lights out there. You’ll find that you can customize your vehicle to almost any extent you want, while still benefitting from the advantages offered by this superior technology.
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Is It Safe to Use LED Automotive Lights

You’re right to be concerned with safety when installing new lights on your car, truck, van or SUV. You need a reliable lighting solution that will be very visible to other drivers, headlights that will illuminate the road ahead, and interior lights that will provide safety and security. Do LED automotive lights fit that bill? If you’ve gotten mixed signals from the industry, you’re not alone. However, things are different than you might imagine, even if you’ve looked into installing LED car lights previously.
In the Past
LED technology is still relatively new, particularly when compared with conventional halogen lights, which have been around for a very long time (halogen bulbs have actually been used since the mid-1900s). Like any other new technology, LEDs have experienced some growing pains. The first bulbs were relatively dim, and bulb clusters had a habit of heating up, causing problems. They were also not available in a consumer-friendly format – you had to wire your own in many instances, and that was outside the experience of most drivers. Luckily, things have changed greatly since those early days.
LED Automotive Lights Today
Today, LED car lights have evolved considerably. They’re no longer a source of worry where light emission or heat production are concerned. Advanced manufacturing techniques have allowed them to become brighter – LED automotive lights can now outperform conventional halogen lights in terms of focus and lumen production, allowing you the best visibility possible during night driving. In addition, advances in cooling technology allow the bulbs and chips to stay cooler, enhancing lifespan (most LED car lights can offer up to 50,000 hours of use).
Another way that LED automotive lights outperform conventional car lights is in terms of “rise”. This is a term used to describe how quickly a light illuminates when you take an action, such as hitting the brake pedal. LED car lights offer very fast rise times, which means they light up completely much faster than conventional bulbs, keeping you safer on the road. In fact, the rise time offered by LED car lights offers 21 extra feet of stopping space for the driver behind you, reducing your risk of being rear-ended considerably.
As you can see, LED automotive lights are certainly safe for use on your car. In fact, they’re usually safer than using conventional bulbs. Add to this the fact that the technology is still evolving, and you have a recipe for excellence. One interesting facet of LED technology that wins many drivers (and manufacturers) over is the ability of a single light to create all colors in the spectrum. This means multiple types of functionality can be built into the same light fixture, reducing costs to develop and manufacture, and giving consumers access to a more dependable, durable lighting solution that works for a wider variety of needs.
However, make sure you’re buying LED automotive lights from a reputable company. Look for OEM fit and function, plug-and-play functionality and a warranty to protect your investment.
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Things to Look for in Aftermarket LED Lights

Are you interested in upgrading your car or truck’s lights? LED technology offers a range of benefits, including a far superior lifespan, as well as better weather resistance and even light emission in many instances. However, understand that LED automotive technology is still relatively new and some companies out there don’t offer the highest quality possible. You’ll need to make sure that your lights measure up when it comes time to replace them. Look for the following things when you’re upgrading with aftermarket LED lights.
OEM Fit and Function
This is one of the most important considerations out there. Aftermarket parts are notorious for not providing specific OEM fit. They “fit well enough”. While that might be fine for spoilers and fender flares, it’s not good enough when it comes to your car’s lighting. You need OEM fit and function (OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer). This ensures that you’re getting the right light, the right connector and more.
Plug and Play
Conventional bulbs offer a simple connection method. You need to ensure that any aftermarket LED lights you choose offer the same – plug-and-play technology ensures that you only have to make a single connection between your light and the wiring harness, and there’s no need for wire strippers, electrical tape or worry that you don’t know what you’re doing. You just clip the connectors together and you’re done. It’s simple, easy and effective, but not all aftermarket LED lights are equipped in this way.
High Quality Materials
Just like any other automotive component, aftermarket LED lights vary in terms of build quality and construction material quality. Look for LED car lights that utilize high-quality premium aluminum housings, and top-brand chips. This ensures that you really are purchasing a long-lasting lighting solution that will give you 50,000 hours of use or more. It also guarantees durability and reliability. A great deal of your light’s shock and water resistance comes from the quality of the materials used in construction, so pay attention.
Color Choice
Aftermarket LED lights are available in a range of colors for your car, truck, van or SUV. Make sure you have access to the colors you want. You should never be stuck with just “cold white” light. Look for a company that can give you warmer light colors, or custom colors for the interior and exterior of your car.
Reputation of the Company
This item is a bit harder to quantify than build quality or OEM fit and function but no less vital. Research the reputation of any company you’re conserving working with, and ensure that they truly stand behind their products. Look for a warranty to provide peace of mind, but also look at the selection of lights available for different vehicles and different needs. A quality company will supply aftermarket LED lights for use in a range of locations on your vehicle, not just brake and taillights. Look for light strips, halos, light bars, dash lights, dome lights, side marker lights, under-car lighting and more.
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Understanding the Benefits of LED Car Lights

LED technology has evolved quickly. It wasn’t that long ago that LED lights were only available for very specific applications. Not only that, but they weren’t the ideal option when powerful light emission was necessary – driving at night, for instance. However, things have changed, and today you’ll find that LED car lights offer a lot of advantages and benefits for vehicle owners. How might you benefit from this technology?
Lifespan
Let’s start with the most obvious benefit for LED car lights – their lifespan. A conventional automotive light bulb lasts about 1,500 hours. That sounds like a lot, right? How much nighttime driving do you actually do? Surprisingly, 1,500 hours is a relatively short period. Most drivers have to replace their bulbs every few years. And don’t forget that this is the maximum lifespan; there are several factors that can reduce it. LED car lights, on the other hand, offer a maximum lifespan of 50-60,000 hours. That’s roughly seven years of constant use.
Energy Consumption
Energy consumption is a big deal these days, even with your car. Conventional bulbs use energy quickly, and HID bulbs put a serious strain on your car’s electrical system, often requiring higher performance add-ons (which increase cost and complexity during upgrades). LED car lights offer minimal energy consumption ratings, and require no expensive add-ons to supply higher power (and you don’t sacrifice light emission during the process, either).
Rise Speed
Rise” is a term used to denote how long it takes a light to power up. You might think that incandescent bulbs are “instant on”, but that’s not the case. There’s a lag between the time you hit the brakes and when the bulb lights up. LED car lights offer faster rise times (.2 seconds faster than conventional bulbs). That means drivers behind you will see your lights sooner, and actually provides an additional 21 feet of stopping distance. LED car lights help keep you safer on the road.
Better Beam Focus
One of the problems that have long plagued conventional automotive lights is the ability to adequately focus your headlight beams. This is necessary for visibility where you need it in front of the car. In conventional bulb systems, headlight beams are often broad and diffused, which means less visibility and more risk on the road. On the other hand, LED car lights offer the ability to tightly focus headlight beams, which means you get more light where you need it most (as well as better light emission in general).
Better Reliability
Old-style conventional bulbs were subject to damage from vibrations, shocks and impacts. It took relatively little effort to break the filament in these bulbs. LED car lights are shockproof and waterproof, ensuring that you get the best possible reliability in an automotive lighting solution.
As you can see, LED car lights offer outstanding benefits in comparison with conventional automotive lighting. Superior lifespan, lower cost of ownership, higher reliability and less energy consumed are just a few of the ways LED technology trumps other options on the market.
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Why Upgrade to LED Car Lights

Your car’s lights are important components of your vehicle. They provide safety, visibility and even affect the look and feel of your automobile. If you’re still running traditional incandescent bulbs, there are some compelling reasons that you should consider making the switch to LED car lights. What are those reasons and how do they apply to you? While your situation will certainly vary, here are a few of the most common reasons to trade in that outdated technology for LED car lights.
Improved lifespan
Perhaps the most common reason to switch to LED car lights is to take advantage of the superior lifespan this technology offers. A conventional automotive light will last about 1,500 hours. That’s not very much, particularly when you’re talking about brake lights, dash lights or another bulb that sees almost constant use. LED car lights offer up to 50-60,000 hours of use. That’s a significant jump. And while the bulbs themselves do cost more upfront, you’ll save money in the long run because you won’t have to replace them so frequently (many owners never have to replace them at all).
Unique Looks
Your vehicle is a direct extension of your personal style. You don’t have to be a “tuner” to appreciate a good-looking ride, either. LED car lights give you the ability to drastically alter the way your car looks without spending a boatload of money on custom body kits, a spoiler, de-badging, or door handle shaving. In fact, this might be the most cost-effective style upgrade out there, as it also allows you to benefit from the longer lifespan and reduced energy consumption of LED car lights.
Less Energy Consumption
Energy consumption is a big deal, particularly where the home is concerned. However, it’s harder to determine how much difference lower energy consumption makes in an automotive application. After all, your alternator will spin when the engine’s running regardless of how many lights are burning. The important thing to remember here is that small differences add up over time. Even saving just one-fifth horsepower will have an impact on your fuel costs when figured over the life of the car – potentially thousands of dollars for some drivers.
More Lighting Types Than You Might Suspect
If you think the LED car lights are limited to headlights, taillights and brake lights, you’re in for a nice surprise. You’ll find an incredible number of ways that LED technology can be applied to your vehicle. You can invest in light strips that mount under your headlights, or you can take advantage of available under-car lighting, wheel well lighting and even lighting designed to mount to your brake and gas pedals. It’s simpler than ever to create the unique look and feel that you want with LED car lights.
Of course, you should make sure you’re purchasing quality LED car lights – look for OEM fit and function. Plug-and-play technology ensures an easy installation process, too. You should also make sure you’re buying from a company that can supply all of your needs.