Headlight Assembly Buying Guide

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Headlight Assembly Buying Guide

A car's headlight assemblies are among its more important parts related to safety. Headlights help drivers see the road more clearly at night and in poor weather, and they also make vehicles more visible to others. Optimally functioning headlights are even more necessary in the United Kingdom than many other places due to the preponderance of fog and low-light conditions. It is therefore important for drivers to replace their headlight assemblies, especially the bulbs when they begin to dim or go out completely.

Many consumers bring their cars to local dealerships or auto repair shops when they need new headlight assemblies. They may not realise that they can purchase these parts for less from online sources such as eBay. Successfully shopping for new headlight assemblies requires a bit of preparation, though. In order to buy the right assemblies, consumers should be aware of when they require new headlights and what the choices are for assemblies and bulbs. By adequately educating themselves about headlight assemblies, consumers can improve their own safety while on the road.

When to Buy a New Headlight Assembly

The importance of headlights in safe driving requires drivers to keep a close eye on their cars' headlight assemblies. Headlights can fail after years of use. They may also dim or provide insufficient light for a driver's needs. Sometimes, moving to an area with different weather necessitates installing specialised headlight assemblies.

Headlight Failure

Headlight bulbs do not last forever, so it is not uncommon to have to replace bulbs over the course of a car's life. Replacing burned-out headlight bulbs is not only important to safety on the road, but it also helps drivers avoid costly traffic citations for driving with non-functioning headlights. It can be difficult to discern when a headlight assembly is not working, though. Car owners should therefore periodically have a look at their headlights while they are turned on.

If a headlight assembly is not working, car owners should consult their cars' owner's manuals to see what kind of assemblies the cars have. Older cars may feature sealed beam headlight assemblies. If this is the case, the car owner must replace the entire assembly. Newer cars are likely to have composite assemblies with removable bulbs, so car owners can replace just the bulbs instead of whole assemblies.

Headlight Intensity Upgrade

Even if the bulb in a headlight assembly has not burned out, it may have dimmed. This makes it more difficult to see at night, so car owners should replace dimmed bulbs for greater safety on the road. If a bulb in one assembly has dimmed, it makes sense to replace bulbs in both assemblies, or the entire assemblies if need be, to keep lighting intensity even.

Just as headlight assembly bulbs dim over time, people's eyesight often declines as they age. Car owners who do not see as well as they once did may want to replace their current headlight bulbs with more intense ones. Even car owners without eyesight difficulty may want to consider replacing factory headlight bulbs with brighter ones for enhanced performance.

Weather-Related Purchase

The UK is not renowned for abundant sunshine, but there are some parts that are foggy for significant portions of the year. Car owners moving to such areas may want to add fog lights to their vehicles. These lights help drivers see better in foggy conditions by casting a wide beam that cuts through the fog. Much of the UK also receives substantial rain, so car owners should consider purchasing driving lights. These lights widen the field of vision for a driver, making it easier to see on rainy nights.

OE, OEM, and Aftermarket for Headlight Assemblies

When it comes to replacing a headlight assembly, consumers can choose from a few manufacturing options. OE, OEM, and the aftermarket are all manufacturing designations that tell consumers who manufactured the part. Consumers should know what these designations mean in order to make informed buying decisions.

OE Headlight Assemblies

OE stands for "original equipment". The car manufacturer either assembles these parts in its own factories or in factories under contract to produce headlight assemblies specifically for the car manufacturer. Replacement headlight assemblies labelled OE, or sometimes "genuine", let customers know that the assemblies are exactly the same as those that came with their cars. An OE headlight assembly usually comes in the car manufacturer's packaging.

OEM Headlight Assemblies

OEM stands for "original equipment manufacturer". Manufacturers of OEM parts produce them under contract with car manufacturers. They manufacture the parts in their own factories, but under design from the car manufacturers to whom they are supplying the parts. Many car manufacturers send their designs for headlight assemblies to OEM manufacturers. Consumers are therefore likely to encounter headlight assemblies exactly like the ones that came with their cars, but in OEM manufacturers' packaging.

Aftermarket for Headlight Assemblies

Aftermarket signifies parts that independent manufacturers produce entirely on their own. They create their own designs and manufacture these parts in their own factories. This means that the quality of aftermarket headlight assemblies can vary greatly from that of the assemblies that originally came with cars. However, if the aftermarket manufacturer is reputable, consumers can be sure that their headlight assemblies are compatible with their cars.

Headlight Assembly Options

Consumers can buy aftermarket headlights to replace their current headlight assemblies, or add assemblies if they want to upgrade their cars' exterior lighting. Being familiar with the options for assemblies, lightbulbs, compatibility, and customisation helps consumers make the right decisions when it comes to buying headlight assemblies.


Consumers can upgrade their headlight assemblies by replacing them with adaptive front lighting systems or projector lights. They can also enhance exterior lighting by adding flood lights and fog lights.

Adaptive Front Lighting

Computers control adaptive front lighting systems, and they can adjust lighting depending upon the conditions and speed of the car. The computer is also able to move the bulbs' positions to cast light where drivers need it. Adaptive front lighting systems only use halogen bulbs, and they do tend to cost more than other lighting assemblies.

Projector Lights

Many cars come with reflector headlight assemblies. These assemblies use a system of mirrors around a lightbulb to reflect as much light as possible onto the road by producing numerous beams. Projector headlight assemblies also use a system of reflectors around the bulb, but they are angled to combine multiple beams into a strong, single beam. This beam then passes through a shield that disperses it, and sends the light through a lens. This design results in less loss of light to scattering than the reflector light design. Many consumers also find that projector headlight assemblies give their cars a more stylish look.

Flood Lights

Flood lights cast a wide light that enables drivers to see more of the path in front of them in poor weather. They do not replace a car's main headlight assemblies. Car owners mount their flood lights separately, with many choosing to place them above the main headlights. Flood lights are good additions for drivers who take their cars off-road.

Fog Lights

These lights help drivers see the road in foggy conditions by casting a wide light that cuts through the fog. Fog lights also cast beams downwards to prevent the light from reflecting off the fog. This differentiates them from flood lights, to which fog lights can bear a resemblance. Some cars come with fog lights built-in, and these may need replacement. Some car owners would like to upgrade their fog lights, while others would like to add fog lights to cars that do not currently have them.

Headlight Assembly Bulbs

The table below lists the different types of bulbs that headlight assemblies may feature. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Bulb Type



Uses a filament; standard for older cars; bright light, but bulb tends to have relatively short life; inexpensive


Blue-white light; good illumination; enhance driver's peripheral vision; last a long time; use relatively little power; expensive


Stands for "light-emitting diode"; highly energy efficient; generally bright light; can adapt lighting to various conditions and situations; often an aftermarket product


Fluorescent lighting; bulbs shaped like tubes; beam is concentrated and therefore longer; extends driver's vision; appealing style to many drivers

Headlight assemblies with halogen bulbs used to be a standard for car manufacturers, but more and more are using assemblies with different types of bulbs. Consumers can often replace just the bulbs in headlight assemblies, but those looking to switch to a different type of bulb likely have to replace the entire assembly.


It is important that consumers make sure the headlight assemblies they are considering are compatible with their cars. Local dealers of headlight assemblies can often provide advice about compatibility. Many online retailers have tools on their websites that enable buyers to search for headlight assemblies based on the make and model of a car. There is little point in buying a headlight assembly if it does not work with a particular type of car, so consumers should make use of compatibility tools when available.


There are a few customisation options available for headlight assemblies. One of the more popular is tinting the headlights. Consumers can give their headlight assemblies a tinted look either by adding covers or by spray-painting the assemblies' lenses. Anyone considering this should weigh the drawbacks of reduced illumination that tinting causes. Consumers should only tint their headlights if doing so does not compromise their safety and the safety of others.

Buying a Headlight Assembly on eBay

It is possible to buy headlight assemblies from local and online car parts dealers. eBay is a good source for headlight assemblies. There is a large selection available on the site, it is easy to search for the headlight assemblies you want, and eBay can help you ensure that the headlight assemblies are compatible with your car.

You can perform a search on any eBay page with the search bar. Enter a descriptive term for the type of headlight assembly you want, such as "LED headlight". When you receive the results, select the Car Parts category, then External Lights & Indicators, and Headlight Assemblies if you are looking for a full assembly. Alternatively, you can choose the Bulbs & LEDs category if you only want to replace LED bulbs.

You can ensure that the assembly is compatible with your car by selecting the make and model of your automobile from the appropriate eBay menus. You can also opt for left or right assemblies if you only need to replace one assembly on your car.


Headlight assemblies are critical to safe driving. They help drivers see the road as well as the other cars on the road. Because headlight assemblies have such important roles in the safe operation of automobiles, car owners should address headlight assemblies with dim or burned-out bulbs as soon as possible. Some consumers may also simply want to upgrade the headlight assemblies currently in their cars or enhance their overall exterior lighting systems.

There are numerous options available for both replacing headlight assemblies and upgrading exterior lighting systems. Consumers can purchase adaptive front lighting systems or projection headlights to upgrade current assemblies. They may buy flood lights or fog lights as enhancements. They can also buy new assemblies to change the type of light bulbs their cars use.

eBay is a good source from which to buy headlight assemblies. By learning about headlight assemblies and the eBay buying process, consumers can find the right kind of assemblies on the website. This can help drivers save money and keep them safer on the road.

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