Torque Shop

Should headlamp bulbs be replaced regularly?

I have noticed, especially over the last five years or so, a huge variety of shapes and colours. It seems that white light is the current fashion in headlights as are wavy strips of light.

Can I upgrade my car lights to these fanciful and brighter bulbs?

Automotive light bulbs, whether interior or exterior, need to be replaced only when they are blown. They do not require periodic replacement.

The current technology in lighting is LED. Prior to this, the gas-discharge lamps or commonly known as xenon or HID lamps were the state of the art.

These gas-discharge units are still popular today although the LED versions are fast taking over as the top choice.

The main advantage of these two technologies is their higher luminous efficiency. They consume less power compared with the old halogen light bulbs.

There are after-market conversion kits for the xenon-gas headlamp units, but they are costly.

Also, such modifications are likely to be deemed illegal. Only factory-fitted headlamps are legal.

After-market LED bulbs as direct replacements for halogen bulbs are beginning to appear at accessory shops.

But before you go out and get a set for your car, make sure they are direct replacements that do not require expensive hardware and, more importantly, not excessively brighter than the car's original headlight bulbs.

Shreejit Changaroth

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2017, with the headline 'Torque Shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe