How Long should a Car’s Headlights Last?

It’s never a good time when headlights fail especially in nights. To know the approximate life period for your headlights is a good thing for you. The life time of the headlights depends on many factors. For example, if you drive always with turning on the bulbs of your car, they will burn out sooner than if you use them occasionally at night driving. The life of the bulb is also depends on its type. There are different types of headlights, now we will discuss them.headlights

  • High Intensity Discharge: The High Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs use metal halide suspended in xenon gas. Its estimated lifespan is about two thousand hours. These bulbs use a ballast system. In this system, electricity passes between two arc points, and in between the gas excites. Xenon produces the light immediately when switched on. Other gases like argon take more than a few minutes to produce the light upwards. Benefit with HID systems is that the light produced depends on the electricity consumption. This system that produce more light by using less electricity in automotive applications.
    • Light Emitting Diodes: Use of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) is less common. LEDs are seen little application in headlight market, but we can see them in accessory lights, tail, brake and signal light bulbs. Indeed, on this point there is no firm published the lifespan of the numbers. Very few European automakers are currently using this. Toyota used them in its Prius 2010 model. They claim that they will last longer than the HID system but they didn’t say how long it last. The common challenge with LED is dealing with heat at the back-end rather than the surface of the bulb. Arranging several LED units together as a pile and allowing them for a cumulative heat build up will shorten its life. With the vented headlight units and auxiliary fans, now manufacturers are dissipating that heat.


  • Halogen headlights: These are based on the older style incandescent (filament based) bulbs, but are more efficient. The lifespan of a halogen bulb ranges from 450 hours to 1,000 hours. This much of range is due to its heat and efficiency. It produces the heat in great quantities and having less efficiency. In incandescent bulbs, the electricity is passes through a tungsten filament. The filament heats up by resistance electricity. As per physics, heat and light are essential to create the light.

The lifespan of a headlight is estimated by using a complex formula. It involves lumens, watts, voltage, and a few other factors. With the real world testing and each contributing factor combined, a value (an approximate number) is determined.