What Type of Headlights Do You Have?
You want to upgrade your headlights, but you're not quite sure where to start or even what you have. Today, I'm going to show you three different ways as to how to identify what headlights you have, along with the best upgrades for each application.
What Is Your Beam Pattern?
Right off the bat, let's start with the beam pattern.
The beam pattern colors tend to vary from different options. Go turn on your headlights, pull up to a garage door, and check it out. Look at the beam pattern, and if it's a yellow color, it has a typical power uptime that tends to be a halogen bulb.
If you turn on your headlights and it flashes for a second, then over time (about seven to 10 seconds peak performance and tends to be white in color), that tends to be HID. If you turn on your headlights and it's instantaneous on power and a nice white light, this tends to be factory LED.
Still Stumped? You Have Options.
For the second option, you can go to your dealership and ask for help there. Go ahead and ask the dealer and say, "Just what kind of headlights do I have, man?" They'd be happy to help you out.
The other option you can do, as well, is to check your vehicle handbook and see if there's a VIN number in there, on the door jamb, or in the front corner of your dashboard. Just call them up if you want to; give them the VIN number, they'd be happy to help you out. If they tell you and you're just still kind of confused, by all means, shoot us an email or give us a call. We know the language, we'd be happy to help.
The final option here to check is to pull the bulb out of the housing itself and inspect it. This bulb shown here is a halogen bulb. There's nothing too fancy going on with it. You can pull it out and look.
I'm Looking At It. So What's The Difference?
Inside the glass housing, you'll notice the filament wire. This wire is the tungsten filament wire that creates the light. This is your basic halogen bulb.
Another option on the table is the HID bulbs. These are a little more unique.
You'll notice the return wire that runs the length of the bulb itself, all the way to the tip. Inside the bulb, you'll see the glass bubble. This is an excellent way to identify an HID bulb.
The last way to tell what headlights you have is actually to inspect the headlight, itself.
Right next to me, I have options from an F-250. They're both halogen and OEM LED.
You can see directly on the front that this is the reflector halogen model. You'll notice just the reflector design, plain Jane. It's just like a mirror, nothing too fancy going on with it.
With the LED option (left headlight in the first image), you'll notice the LED module itself, a lot more complex, with a lot more going on inside the headlight. If you turn them around, you'll see that there's a replaceable bulb here and on the halogen. You can untwist it, pull it out, and there's your halogen.
With the LED F-250 headlight, if you go around the backside, you'll notice blank plates, where the halogen bulb would have been usually. Because LEDs integrate into the headlight assemblies themselves, nothing is replaceable on them. The other option you'll see is HID.
Let's check out the back of this headlight.
With HID, you will notice that it is, indeed, replaceable. You pull off the dust cover, and inside you'll see your HID bulb. It's kind of tough to pull out, but with some work, it can come out. Typically, they are held in with retaining springs.
With one finger, go ahead and reach in there, pop it out, pull the retaining clip up, and the bulb should slide clean out. (For more on how to change your F250's headlight bulb, check out this blog from GTR Lighting)
I know this is a lot of information to cover at once, so you may still have some questions for us. Call or shoot us an email, and we'd be more than happy to help you out with either upgrade or identifying which headlights you have specifically.
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