Everything You Need To Know About Car Headlamps
When it comes to car headlamps, you likely fall into one of two camps. Either you are up to date with the latest technology and even have some customisations on your vehicle. On the other hand, you could only be looking up headlamps now because you have a problem with yours and have no idea where to start.
The purpose of headlamps is to light up the road in front of you so that you can drive safely. Low lighting and bad weather can make it difficult to see potential hazards. This includes how far away the car in front of you is, road markings, pedestrians, animals etc. Therefore, you need to be aware of each car lamp type and what it is used for to make sure it is in good working order.
Cars over the age of 3 years require an MOT, which may pick up faults with your headlamps. But if your vehicle is younger than this or you have any concerns, you’ll need to visit a mechanic to get your car checked out. In the meantime, here is our guide on everything you need to know about headlamps to tell you more.
Headlamp vs Headlight – What’s The Difference?
In reality, both headlamps and headlights are known as the same thing in the trade. They both work towards the same goal, which is illuminating the road in front of you.
However, if we really want to get technical – they are separate components. A headlight is the wider body of your lights and forms the outer shape most associated with car lights. A headlamp is the actual bulb that provides the light, which is distributed by your headlights.
Can You Get Fined For Having A Faulty Headlamp?
Yes. Faulty or broken headlamps means your driving may be impaired. Police can impose a fixed penalty notice which incurs a £100 fine, rising to £1,000 if the case goes to court. That’s why you need to get your headlamps checked out as soon as you notice a problem.
Do We Have To Send Our Vans Into A Garage To Have A Headlamp Changed?
Safety is always a number one priority, so the changing of headlamps should only be done by someone in the know. Whether you need to visit a garage very much depends on the make of the van and the complexity of the headlamp issue.
In some cases, you may be able to fit the headlamp yourself, especially if you’ve successfully done it in the past. But if you’re unable to correct the issue, then a garage trip is in order.
How To Fix Condensation Headlamps?
Headlamps can easily be affected by harsh driving conditions, meaning rainwater and surface water can easily end up where it’s not supposed to be. Although most people search for ‘condensation in headlamps’, it’s actually the headlights which are the issue, seen as these are the wider body of your lights, and the headlamp is just the bulb.
Headlamp condensation issues with a new car or headlamp
It is not unusual for condensation to appear in headlights, especially after they have just been fitted. As soon as you notice condensation in your headlights, remove the bulb cover from the back of the headlight and turn on every light. You might want to turn on your engine to avoid the battery draining at that point.
Place a cloth or towel over the lens of the headlights. After around 5/10 minutes, this should generate enough heat to cause any moisture to evaporate through the hole in the back. Once all of the condensation has disappeared, just re-fit the cover on the back of the headlight and ensure the seal is seated correctly. If it happens again, there must be a fault with the headlamp, and you need to contact your headlamp supplier.
What Are The Different Types Of Lights?
Your vehicle has several different types of lights that make it safe and convenient to drive in all weather conditions.
Dipped beam lights are brighter than sidelights but are dimmer than full beam lights. They are angled downwards, allowing you to see the surface of the road and are designed to be used at night time. You should use dipped headlights whenever the streetlights are on or in bad weather conditions.
Full Beam Headlights
Full beam headlights are the brightest lights on a car and are designed to be used on stretches of unlit roads. The power of full-beam headlights can cause pedestrians, cyclists, or oncoming traffic to be dazzled, so you should turn them off as soon as they are no longer safe to use.
Rear lamps (also known as tail lamps) will engage whenever the headlights are on. They will flash on the applicable side whenever you indicate and turn red whenever breaking to alert the driver behind you.
In colour theory, red signifies a warning. Hence, red is used in rear lights as well as traffic lights as it immediately gains your attention when driving.
Front Indicator In Bumper
Front indicators located within the bumper of your car are also known as turn lights. As the name suggests, front indicators will flash on and off to alert road users and pedestrians that your vehicle is about to turn and in which direction.
Although rear indicators are technically more important to drivers who will be behind you when you turn, those in front (especially pedestrians) will be looking out for front indicators when crossing the road. So as with all of your car’s lights, you must get them fixed immediately if there is a problem with them.
Headlight bulbs – what types are there and which is best?
Similar to the bulbs in your home can be customised depending on your requirements and the limitations of the appliance, so too can the bulbs in your headlights. Aspects to consider are the vehicle itself, driving conditions, affordability and lifespan.
Halogen, Xenon and LED are the most common headlight bulb types. Here’s an overview of each:
Halogen lights are the most common type used for vehicles and are thought to be used in around 80% of cars. Halogen lights are made from a combination of gases (usually nitrogen and argon) and have a tungsten filament.
- Easy to replace
- Long lifespan
- Not as bright as other bulbs
- Smaller beam range
- Not energy efficient
Xenon bulbs are also known as high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs. They contain a mixture of gases and can generate white or blue light. A blue glow, in particular, can enhance the aesthetic beauty of your car, making Xenon bulbs ideal for premium vehicles or enthusiasts looking to modify their car.
- Brighter so increases vision at night
- Energy efficient
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Level of glare can be an issue (requires a projector-style headlamp)
- More expensive than other bulb types
LED headlights are in hot demand in the automotive industry. They are powered by an electric current that passes through a semiconductor. They have a smaller design than traditional bulb-type lights, allowing for greater flexibility within the lighting design.
- Laser-powered headlights
- Energy efficient
- Wider beam pattern
- Only available for a small range of vehicles
- Currently far more expensive
Buy Headlamps Online UK
We hope our guide on car headlamps has shone a light on everything you need to know. The topic is quite complex since all vehicles may have different requirements. If you are looking to purchase headlamps for your vehicle, then you’re in the right place.