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Nowadays, people have plenty of options for their headlight upgrade and they can easily end up buying the wrong bulb based just on specifications written on paper or wrong guidance at a local accessory store.
Before proceeding with a headlight upgrade, it is best to understand the type of headlight that is being used in your vehicle.
The most common type of headlight setup consists of a reflector type housing with a halogen bulb as the lighting source. Moreover, the headlight bulbs are categorised according to their size, shape and socket such as H1, H3, H4, H7, H8, H10, H11, H14 etc.
In projector-type headlights, manufacturers use either halogen or HID bulbs. If the bulb inside the projector housing produces a snow-white beam then it is more likely to be an HID bulb.
Nowadays, manufacturers are also using LED bulbs with projector type housing. It is also worth mentioning that if your vehicle comes with a LED headlight setup, the best way to improve your vehicle's lighting performance is to add auxiliary lights.
This is also the case with HID bulbs, as there is very little need to upgrade the light source (bulb) unless your HID bulbs are old. In that case, you can upgrade to better HID bulbs available in the aftermarket.
The chance of most of you still reading this far means your car will be having a reflector type headlight or projector headlights with halogen bulbs as the light source.
Let's start with the reflector type housing with halogen bulbs. For this setup, LED bulbs are the best upgrade option. It is also worth mentioning that, you should never use HID bulbs inside a reflector type headlight housing as they tend to scatter the light everywhere.
This is because the reflectors inside the headlights are designed around the position of the filament (light source) of the bulb. Even if the new light source deviates slightly from the original position, the resulting beam might not give you the expected result.
As LED bulbs are available in various sizes and shapes, this is also applicable in the case of LED bulbs and if not chosen carefully, the upgrade may end up being a downgrade in reality.
The best and most scientific way to select the most suitable LED bulb for your vehicle's headlights is by analysing how closely the LED bulb mimics the stock halogen bulb.
Opting for an LED bulb that mimics your stock halogen setup means that your headlight will not only be brighter but it will also retain the stock beam pattern.
A good pair of LED bulbs can set you back by up to Rs 10,000. One of the safer and well-engineered options is to go with Philips Ultinon LED bulbs.
However, if you are on a budget, you can use halogen bulbs with higher wattage such as 100/90W or 130/100W.
It is worth mentioning that a stock halogen bulb for a car has a wattage rating of just 60/55W and such upgrades require more robust wiring and relay.
This setup is much more budget-friendly and offers almost twice the light output of a stock headlamp setup. Few e-commerce websites also offer good discounts on these and will cost you around Rs 1, 500.
If in case your car headlight setup consists of projector housing, it is best to stick with LED or HID bulbs.
This can be a costly affair, but the results will speak for themselves. However, LED bulbs are better because most of them are ‘plug-and-play' type and do not require any modifications
Thoughts About Headlight Upgrade
Headlights are often overlooked elements while buying a vehicle, and many people realise their importance only after purchasing the vehicle.
Many people resort to aftermarket headlight upgrades and mostly end up having a poorer headlight setup. So, it is essential to understand before investing in a headlight upgrade.