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LED Headlight Conversion Bulbs - The Cost-Effective Way to Better Lighting

After lots of engineering, high-output LED headlight bulbs are now available. We discuss what makes them better, and show how easily they fit into your bulb sockets.

Exciting advances in technology have finally made it possible for the benefits of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to work effectively as automotive headlight bulbs. Engineers have been working on perfecting LED headlight bulbs for years, but it was just recently that heat and temperature issues were solved. Because headlights burn much brighter than any other bulb on a vehicle, finding a way to manage heat levels with the consistency needed to ensure reliable, long-lasting LED operation proved challenging.

LED/Halogen -effective-way-to-better-lighting/led-halogen-bulbs-light-output-comparison.jpgBulbs Light Output Comparison
Light from the lowest output LED headlight bulbs (left) is brighter than halogen bulbs (right).

Fast forward to today - temperatures inside of the bulb assemblies can now be kept under control effectively, making LED headlight bulbs not just practical, but highly desirable. In this article, we'll take a look at replacement LED headlight bulbs, what makes them superior, and how easy it is to install them on your vehicle.

Headlight Assemblies With LED/Halogen Bulbs
LED headlight bulbs put out brighter light without having to buy new headlamp assemblies.

The LED headlight bulbs we offer are "plug-n-play," with bulb bases that are designed to fit into the same socket and mate with the same wiring connector(s) as your original halogen ones. So if you like the look of your existing headlamp housings, you don't need to spend big bucks replacing them in order to get whiter, cleaner-looking, and brighter light! A new bulb is all that's needed.

We've got conversion LED headlight bulb kits for a wide range of vehicles, from current-year models back to the earliest US-market vehicles with composite headlamp assemblies (mid-1980s). Installation is easy - however, the larger overall size of the bulb housings may take up more room inside your headlamp assembly. Because of this, we recommend measuring available space before ordering a replacement bulb.

Please note! LED headlight bulbs are suitable only as replacements for halogen bulbs, and are NOT compatible with factory HID/Xenon setups.

Standard Automotive Bulb Socket Types
Some examples of standard automotive bulb socket types, with designation codes.

Your car or truck is equipped from the factory with a specific bulb size/type, using an industry-agreed standard for identification. These sizes are universal throughout the auto industry, with a specific code number for each bulb type. Because the LED headlight bulbs we sell are vehicle-specific, you'll see only the bulb that's applicable for your vehicle once you've entered year, make, and model in our Product Options section. In most cases, our website will indicate the bulb size/number (see the above picture for examples). As a precaution, we recommend verifying the headlight bulb size for your vehicle by checking the owner's manual.

LED Headlight Bulbs With Metal Heat Sinks
Today's LED headlight bulbs have metal heat sinks shaped into flexible ribbons (left), or fixed radial patterns (right).

For LED headlight bulbs of standard brightness, specially developed copper and aluminum "heat sinks" allow heat to radiate away from the bulb. The heat sink metal material may be shaped into flexible braided ribbons, or into rigid fins arranged in a radial pattern. When we use the term "standard brightness", we're referring to the level of luminosity output produced by most LED headlight bulbs. This brightness, it should be noted, is more intense than what's produced by just about any halogen headlight bulb.

LED Headlight Bulb With Built In Cooling Fan
LED headlight bulbs designed for higher outputs have built-in cooling fans.

In cases of LED bulbs with higher output, small cooling fans built into the base of the lighting assembly draw air over built-in heat sinks and out through specially placed vents. Technology has also allowed the creation of fans that cool effectively while drawing less energy than previous ones - lasting an equal or greater duration than the bulb itself.

What Makes LED Bulbs Better?

LEDs are transistors immersed in a film that produces light when electrical current is applied. Because they are not limited by self-consuming filaments the way traditional incandescent bulbs are, LEDs produce greater illumination from each watt of electricity. Lack of filaments also allows LEDs to burn cooler than incandescent bulbs because unnecessary heat is not created. In fact, energy savings are so great that LEDs use only a fraction of the electricity normal bulbs do. The reduced level of heat buildup also spares plastic lens covers on composite headlight assemblies from becoming degraded and milky-looking.

LED Bulb In Composite Headlight Assembly
Light Emitting Diode Scheme

LEDs are extremely resistant to shocks and vibrations, and come sealed in moisture-proof casings. This allows them to provide anywhere from 10,000 - 50,000 hours of service, depending on design and other factors. If you measure that against the typical incandescent headlight bulb lifespan of 1,000 - 2,000 hours, it's easy to see how LED headlight bulbs can last a lifetime once they're fitted to your car or truck.

Due to limited underhood space, some modern vehicles require removal of the entire headlight assembly for a simple headlight bulb change. And on some others, taking the headlight assembly out means the front bumper cover must be unbolted and moved forward for clearance. If you've ever performed this task yourself, you know what a hassle it is. And if you've ever paid a shop to do it, you'll quickly realize that eliminating frequent bulb replacements that cost one-half to one hour of labor will save you money in the long run. These savings will allow you to recoup the higher upfront cost of LED lights during the lifespan of the bulbs.

Headlight Assembly Removal
Police Car
Longer lifespan of LED headlight bulbs reduces routine replacement cost and effort, and reduces the risk of being pulled over for a non-working headlight bulb.

Additionally, because LED bulbs rarely burn out, your risk of being pulled over and ticketed for a non-working headlight is virtually eliminated.

True Brightness Is Measured In Lumens, Not Watts.

While the above chart is good for getting a general idea about how LEDs compare to the wattage ratings of incandescent bulbs, the true brightness of any bulb is measured in lumens, not watts. A watt is actually a measurement of energy use, not light output. Because LED headlights bulbs use only about one-fifth the electricity of halogen bulbs, wattage would not be an accurate assessment of true brightness. A lumen is the amount of light emitted with the intensity of one standardized candlepower (cd) unit. You'll find lumen ratings on the pages of all LED headlight bulbs we sell.

Standard Automotive Bulb Socket Types

When it comes to products we offer, we'll start with one that offers best value along with good light output and proven high quality - the Lumen LED Headlight Conversion Kit. Here, you'll find two separate versions to choose from in Product Options: the G7 and G8. The G7 bulbs produce 4,000 lumens (as a pair) and come with a reversible heat sink, in case you need a few extra millimeters for clearance during installation. The G8 bulbs produce 6,000 lumens as a pair and are equipped with cooling fans.

Lumen G7/G8 With And Without Cooling Fan
The Lumen G7 (without cooling fan) and G8 (with cooling fan).

For both models, the angle of the bulbs can be adjusted by hand should it prove helpful on your specific vehicle. And both the G7 and G8 bulbs come with built-in resistors that prevent "bulb out" warning lights from coming on. Without such resistors, your vehicle can mistake the lower voltage draw of LEDs for a burned out bulb.

PIAA LED Headlights Conversion Kit
The PIAA LED Headlights Conversion Kit.

We've also got the PIAA LED Headlights Conversion Kit with 3,700 lumens (as a pair) and standard cooling fans, rated for 30,000 hours. Should you need shorter overall dimensions without cooling fans, the Oracle Lighting LED Conversion Kit provides 4,400 lumens (as a pair) for 30,000 hours.

Nova-Lux LED Headlight Conversion Kit
The Nova-Lux LED Headlight Conversion Kit.

The EVO Lighting LED Headlight Conversion Kit offers 6,000 lumens (as a pair), standard cooling fans, and a 10,000 hour service rating. The Nova-Lux LED Conversion Kit provides 6,400 lumens (as a pair) with standard cooling fans. And if you're looking to make a powerful lighting statement, the XKGlow LED Headlight Conversion Kit is available in a whopping 10,000 lumens (as a pair) configuration, with red anodized finish that's visible on the shaft protruding into the headlight assembly. There's also a 5,500 lumens (as a pair) version in blue anodized finish. Both XKGlow bulbs come with cooling fans standard.

XKGlow LED Headlight Conversion Kit
The XKGlow LED Headlight Conversion Kit.

We're confident that once you experience the high-tech look of clean, brilliant white light from LED headlight bulbs, you'll never go back to regular incandescent ones. And if you're interesting in replacing other bulbs on your vehicle with LEDs, we've got lots more to choose from in our LED lights section. There, you'll find replacement LED bulbs for turn signals, side marker lights, brake lights, and interior bulbs. You'll also find LED light bars, headlight halo rings, daytime running light assemblies, underbody light kits, and much more! If you're not careful, you'll turn your entire vehicle from front to rear into an LED light display!

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