What Are Xenon Headlights? (Explained Guide)

Xenon Headlights

Many drivers nowadays do not feel concerned about their vehicles’ front headlights or the characteristics of what they are made from. All that matters to them is how to switch it on when it’s dark at night for clear sight. 

Xenon Headlights are those headlights that look higher quality. They’re also known as High-Intensity Discharge (or HID) lights. These headlights are becoming more and more common when it comes to higher-end vehicles and automobiles. You can depict these lights if you see a white/bluish light which is normal since it lights more of the road up than your traditional vehicle headlights.

Unlike the standard halogen headlights, the xenon headlights are an entirely different breed; they have a brighter and high-quality lights display. However, for those who are not familiar with xenon headlights, you’re in luck because this article is a total rundown on all you need to know about xenon headlights and how they work.

Understanding Xenon Headlights

We all know that the typical halogen headlight makes use of halogen gas to function. Xenon headlights are quite the opposite because they utilize xenon gas to operate. Why xenon gas? Xenon gas comes with a unique characteristic that enables it to display a very bright light when it comes in contact with electricity. 

It is the reason why xenon bulbs are known as HID bulbs (High-Intensity Discharge). BMW was the first company that showed interest in the xenon headlights in 1991, and they became the first vehicle manufacturers to install the xenon headlights on their BMW 7 series. As time passed, the installation of xenon headlights has been known to improve a vehicle’s quality. 

Components of a Xenon Headlight

  • The Discharge Gas Lamps

The Discharge Gas lamps are the xenon bulb, consisting of the xenon gas and other gas variants. Once electricity gets into this bulb, it displays a very bright white light. See the regular and traditional vs Xenon Headlights here.

  • The Ballast

The ballast is responsible for igniting all the gases in the bulb. The ballast’s job is to enable the xenon bulb to kick-start and rise to the standard operation in no time. Once the process has reached maximum height, the ballast also regulates the system’s power to ensure that the xenon bulb’s brightness remains intact. 

  • Ignition Unit

The ignition is what causes the spark in the xenon light unit. It can also link up to the ballast, and it has a characteristic metal covering; however, it depends on the system’s advancement.

The Working Stages of a Xenon Headlight

Unlike the typical halogen bulbs that work when electricity flows through a tungsten filament within the bulb, xenon headlights are different. Xenon Headlights do not consist of filaments, and they work based on the ionization between the xenon gas and electricity. Here are the working stages of a xenon headlight:

● The Ignition Phase

Once the xenon headlights are on, a flow of electricity goes through the ballast into the xenon bulb’s electrodes. It brings about ionization, which creates a connection with the electrodes.

● The Heat Up Phase

Once the ionization effect takes place, it causes an increase in temperature. At the same time, the resistance in the electrodes reduces. 

●  The Bright Light Emission Phase This phase is where the ballast heats the bulb with a consistent power supply of 35 watts. At this rate, the bulb displays fully at a maximum capacity emitting a massive glow of white light.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Xenon Headlights

Before you finally decide whether you will be opting for Xenon headlights over halogen lights or LED lights, you must be able to weigh your options. Weighing your options means that you understand the differences between Xenon headlights and other kinds of lights for your vehicle. 

Typically, differences can come in the form of pros and cons. You should be able to ask yourself whether the Xenon type of headlights has more advantages or disadvantages than others.  

Let’s find out what benefits it offers and the downsides as well. 

Advantages of Xenon Headlights

There is a lot to cherish and admire about xenon bulbs, making them the right ick for many car owners and drivers. Here are a few of the benefits of installing xenon bulbs in your car:

Great Option for Winter Driving If there is one thing that distinguishes xenon headlights from other kinds, it is their power to brighten the way during snow and ice. Because they are made with high-intensity discharge materials, xenon headlights will help drivers navigate through the hazy and snowy weather.

  • Brighter Lighting 

Similarly, when driving in the dark, xenon headlights are popular for emitting white light to enhance the wheel’s performance. The night will be as clear and bright as the daylight. It gives out a much brighter and Natural light display.

  • Longevity

Typically, xenon headlights stay longer than halogen or LED headlights. This is due to the presence of xenon gas in the bulb. It stays on for a longer time as the gas won’t die or reduce anytime soon. While xenon headlights can last for as long as 2,00 hours, halogen headlights only last between 400 hours to 1,000 hours.

  • Energy Saving and Efficiency

When it comes to energy efficiency, no other headlights perform better in your car than a Xenon headlight. Apart from saving energy, xenon headlights are perfect and efficient due to xenon’s gas nature. 

This is why the headlight lasts longer than many other types. Drivers only need a small amount of electric energy to power the gas and make it brighten your way. The battery consumes less energy than it would if you use halogen headlights. They also have a broader coverage area. Drivers and car owners also find xenon headlights attractive because of their wider coverage area. 

Disadvantages of Xenon Headlights

  • Costly

Xenon Headlights are expensive.

  • Glare

They produce a powerful glare that can be blinding to oncoming motorists on the highway.

  • Requires retrofitting 

It will require retrofitting if you plan to replace your halogen bulbs with xenon bulbs, which can sometimes be challenging. 

  • Requires Heat

It needs to heat up for a few seconds before you can achieve optimum brightness.

Final Thoughts

Xenon Headlights are popular because of the type of quality they deliver. However, you might want to weigh your options using our pros and cons before you think of getting one for your vehicle. Learn more about the featured image and the differences between these headlights.