Your Guide to Buying Headlight Conversion Kits

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Your Guide to Buying Headlight Conversion Kits

When the time comes to buy a new set of car headlights, it is a good idea to consider purchasing modern headlight conversion kits as opposed to halogen kits. Although the former are more expensive, they can become a great value over time, due to their long useful life and increased safety.

Brighter headlights allow drivers to see further and be seen from a longer distance, especially while driving at night. The brightness of headlights is measured in lumens. While an average halogen kit offers between 700 and 1000 lumens, a standard bulb in a modern headlight conversion kit gives between 2800 and 3200 lumens. The difference is remarkable, and this is one of the main reasons to choose headlight conversion kits that use xenon gas technology.

There are other important considerations to be taken into account when looking to replace car headlights. These include safety, colour temperature, energy consumption, durability, and price. Statistics show that twice as many car accidents occur during nighttime than during the day; therefore, purchasing a high-performance headlight kit should be one of the main concerns of any sensible car owner.

HID Lights Basics

As opposed to older headlight types, high intensity discharge (HID) lights have no filaments; they are filled with xenon gas, mercury, and metal halide salts. It is the ignition of the xenon gas, caused by a high-voltage current, that is responsible for their extremely bright glow. The current is provided via a ballast, in much the same way as in fluorescent bulbs. Originally only present in luxury and expensive cars, today's HID lights seem to be on the way to becoming the norm, due to their numerous advantages.

In car design, the bluish hue of HID lights has come to be associated with a certain glamorous and fashionable look. Although many buyers may choose this technology simply to make their cars look more modern, this type of headlights also provides increased safety, due to their improved and expanded field of vision.

Main Characteristics of Headlight Conversion Kits

There are certain characteristics of headlight conversion kits that should be any prospective buyer's main concern. These include light temperature and colour, adherence to regulations and safety issues, and energy consumption. When these three factors are taken into consideration, one can be certain that the selected kits can offer an excellent performance.

Light temperature

Brightness, measured in lumens, does not necessarily guarantee improved visibility. The colour temperature of light, measured in kelvins, determines the hue of the emitted light. For example, a low HID light temperature of 3000 K produces a yellowish light, whereas 4300 K is synonymous with perfect white light. Temperatures above 6000 K start turning blue peaking at 8000 K, when the light turns a deep blue. and so on. However, the deeper the colour, the greater the loss of brightness. While lights above 8000 K may suit those looking for a specific look, the recommended range to keep a good colour-brightness balance is between 4300 K and 6000 K.

6000 K lights are reportedly the all-time best sellers. A very bright light with a bluish hue, the 6000 K variation is included with many original BMW, Audi and Mercedes models.

Xenon Headlights Temperature and Colour

While not all of the temperatures of Xenon lamps produce colours that agree with traffic regulations, it is important for shoppers to know how to recognise which temperature creates which perceived colour of light, to make an informed decision.

Temperature (Kelvin)

Colour

3000 K

Yellow

4000 K

Yellowish White

5000 K

Pure White

6000 K

Bluish White

7000 K

Light Blue

8000 K

Sky Blue

10000 K

Ultra Blue

12000 K

Bluish Purple

15000 K

Purple

While many people assume a higher temperature implies a brighter light, one must never forget that higher levels of blue and purple reduce the brightness of Xenon lights.

Energy Saving

HID headlight kits consume less electricity than halogen lights. Not only do they place a lower energy demand on a car's electrical system, but they also last twice longer than halogen kits.

Adherence to Safety regulations

The superior brightness of HID headlights has the potential to temporarily blind drivers coming towards them. According to EU regulations, which are also valid in the UK, this type of headlights must have lens cleaners and automatic levelling. Lens cleaners tone down glare levels, while levelling helps maintain suitable light distribution.

These are the legal requirements for original HID headlight kits. In the case of aftermarket conversion kits, lens cleaners and levellers are not specifically required. Conversion kits featuring bulbs with a colour temperature up to 6000 or 8000 K can pass an MOT in the UK. However, 6000 K bulbs are the most popular, as people tend to choose them to be on the safe side. On the other hand, 10000 and 12000 K kits are not white enough to be used on the road; lights of such high colour temperatures should be reserved for shows and other non-road uses.

Finding the Right Headlight Conversion Kit

The first consideration to take into account when looking for a headlight conversion kit has to do with legal requirements. Once this concern is out of the way, one can concentrate on whether the kit can fit a specific car model. Brand reputation and durability are also important concerns that should always be kept in mind.

Fitting Headlight Kits

Installing headlight conversion kits may seem simple, but there are a few important details that can take some work. The fact that one can fit the headlight kit into a car does not mean that the result is going to be a legal headlight set. Older cars fitted with modern headlight conversion kits may need various upgrades before their lights can be considered legal. It is recommended to consult local regulations as well as a specialised mechanic to avoid involuntary violations. Otherwise, one can very easily end up having spent a fortune on a useless headlight conversion kit.

Brand Selection

Original state-of-the-art cars usually feature Philips, GE, and Osram Xenon lights. There may be other brands that utilise good quality Xenon bulbs, but a little research is always in order to make sure products are EU and UK regulations-compliant and of sufficient quality. The key is always who manufactures the kits and, especially, the bulbs.

Sometimes, a manufacturer may use brand ballasts with non-brand bulbs, and this can be very misleading, as very low quality bulbs can blow out in a matter of weeks. Fortunately, many headlight conversion kits are easily reversible and can be switched back to the original technology without much hassle if needed. To avoid these problems altogether, it is always best to do a bit of research into the manufacturer's track record.

How to Buy Headlight Conversion Kits on eBay

When looking to purchase headlight conversion kits on eBay, you can simply perform a search with the main keywords "headlight conversion kits". To narrow down your search, you can then select the make and model on the sidebar. This filters your search, leaving only conversion kits you can fit in your car. You can also choose to filter your search by a favourite manufacturer, such as Philips or Hella.

Once you have found a list of products that are compatible with your car, you can also indicate the price range you are comfortable with, whether you are looking for new, used or remanufactured items, and so forth. Finally, when left with a manageable number of eligible items, the main criterion to focus on should be seller reputation.

There are many little details you can ask sellers about, to make sure the products are the right choice for you. For example, it is a good idea to inquire about who manufactured the bulbs, not only the ballasts. If the product is not new, it is always important to ask the seller about their reasons for putting the item up for sale, how long it has been in use, and what kind of performance it has offered in the past.

Last but not least, it is always advisable to check postage costs. Reputable sellers offer detailed information about these things, and it is generally worth your while to read the small print.

Conclusion

Modern Xenon headlights offer improved safety through a great increase in visibility and durability. People not only prefer them because they are safer, but also because they look more stylish than common fluorescent lights.

When shopping for headlight conversion kits, it is important to check colour temperature, to make sure it adheres to national regulations. Brightness, measured in lumens, should also be a concern, but you must always bear in mind that brightness decreases with the deeper blue and purple tones of high temperature colour lights.

Finally, it is important to select a reliable brand and a headlight kit that is compatible with your car. Shopping for headlight conversion kits on eBay is a very convenient way to find great deals on excellent quality products that can make your car safer and more stylish at the same time.

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