Everything to Know About the Car Bulb and Its Replacement

Is replacing automotive bulbs easy as replacing the ones you use in your home? Well, it’s a NO because you have to consider many things when buying an automotive bulb. However, a vast array of bulbs in the market confuses the buyers. As a result, they get the wrong one. You would not get hands on the wrong product this time because we have a handy guide for the buyers. You need to get some knowledge on the car bulbs before you go shopping or order it online.

There are commonly three types of headlights you would encounter at the shop. The main beam bulb or a dipped bulb, sidelight, and the indicator light are those types. Generally, you would not see the indicators light with other two in the old cars as there is a separate unit for them. The new car comes with DRL that is daylight running lights. Whether your engine is on or off the lights never turned off, these lights are the part of LED unit or the headlight assembly.

Moreover, you would see some cars having corner lights that are assembled with the headlight. The rear lights are also on the car which is simple and easy to incorporate. There are also fog light, reversing lights, and brake light. But you don’t have to much attention to all of them rather focus on car bulb that is the main one. However, there are more types of bulbs available in the market. Read further to know about them.

Types of Automotive Bulbs

Hydrogen or Filament Bulbs

These headlights from the past are still in use even if the modern cars use the hids. Moreover, there working operation is simple and similar to the bulbs you use in the home. There is a thin filament of metal used in the bulb that lights on getting current. Most of the filament has halogen gas. The reason they are still in use is their long lastingness and cheap price. Luckily, changing them is not difficult too. As a part of the replacement, you can get high power bulbs.

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They are however an improvement to standard lighting option but they are not brighter. Xenon style bulbs emit less yellow lights but they give whiter light. However, these are different from the xenon HID lights. The above ones have halogen as a replacement of xenon. On the other hand, halogen filling is not used in rear bulbs rather they have filaments only.

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Xenon HID

  car bulbs and replacement

As mentioned above, xenon HID and xenon-style let us know more about these high intensity discharge bulbs. Usually, the new car models have these lights. They are brighter and whiter lights. Moreover, there are no filaments in these bulbs rather there are electrodes in the blubs that are packed in a glass tube. Xenon gas is filled inside the tube which emits lights on gas discharge. In order to operate they need ballast. It is an electrical box which is responsible for controlling and starting the lights.

Unfortunately, the halogen bulbs cannot be a replacement for these bulbs. A bad news is that you cannot fit them in each car. The market is available with lots of HID kits which do not fit in your car, maybe. So, it is best you get what fits in your car and don’t just buy any one.

You would soon know when the time to replace the bulb is, as the old bulb will start flickering and light output will also change slightly.

LED

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The entire new and branded car comes with LED lights. They are installed in the headlight but now they are also seen in indicators and sidelights as well. But unfortunately, the output they produce is not sufficient to work as a headlight. Luckily, you can replace the old filament bulb with a LED light. The fittings are same which don’t cause issues when replacing them. However, you may get some issues with power consumption. The low power consumption car will not give enough supply to headlights as a result they will not function. This may cause you to think that the bulb is not working.

So, look for a can bus LED which comes with a resistor incorporating within them that gives you an effect of regular bulb. But you cannot fit them in a non can bus car. Therefore, double check it before you fit it.

Fitments

Bulb fitments are usually known through different codes. For instance, there are 501, H1, H4, or more codes. So, when you get bulb fitments must check the codes before replacement. This will let you know which bulb will fit in the car. Now easily you can remove the old one and fit a new one.

Replacement of Bulbs

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It is important to replace the right bulb. Most of the cars come with a unclipped back of the headlight that give you easy access to the rear bulb. Remove the components like battery to gain the full access to the bulbs. Now, remove the connector that you will see at the bulb’s back. However, you will see a clip made of metal string that is attached to the bulb. Unclip that spring and bulb will come out easily. On the other hand, if your car has small lights then turn the fitting in opposite to clock direction to detach the bulb.

However, do not touch the glass of bulb especially the headlight bulbs. Otherwise oil of your skin will lead to failure of the bulb. On the other hand, some replacements will require the removal of bumper and even wheels. So if you don’t know how they fit back then go to mechanic for the job done.

If you are gaining access to the lights on the front then you have to unscrew the flap or hatch that you would inside the car. Or even you have to remove the cluster of light whereas some will require removing of electrical circuitry.

Therefore, it is better that you learn about the car headlights assembly first. Tackle the task on your own means you have to encounter many problems even when fitting the bulb, get it done by professionals instead.

Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra is a blogger by passion and Mechanical Engineer by profession. He has completed his B.Tech degree in mechanical engineering in the year 2015. He loves to share his knowledge and help others.

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