Car Headlamp And How It Works
What Is A Car Headlamp?
A car headlamp is mounted on the front of the car to illuminate roads. Because it is on the front, it is often called a headlight. In addition, it is often called the headlight, although it is more suitable to call it a headlamp.
Differences between Headlamps and Car Fog Lamps
The headlamp is the car’s main light in front and is usually the largest. The point is to illuminate the road in front of the car at a long distance.
1. Fog lamps: Fog lamps are also located in front and usually at the back, under the bumper. The purpose of the fog lamp is to illuminate the road when conditions are foggy, especially roads not far from the car.
2. Car Headlamp Function: The primary function of a car headlamp is to emit light to the front of the car so that the driver can drive more safely. The main headlamp will be helpful in dark lighting conditions when driving, for example, at night or when conditions are foggy, so that vision is impaired, which can endanger the driver.
Car Headlamp Components
Car headlamps have various components, namely:
a. Battery, which functions as a battery that supplies electricity as car lighting energy
b. A series of wires to carry electricity from the battery to the lamp.
c. Fuse to secure the electrical system.
d. Main switch to disconnect/connect the electric current.
e. Combination switch to turn off and turn on the lights.
f. Relay to secure the combination switch.
g. Low beam lights, lights with electric power ranging from 50 W – 90 W for short distance lights.
h. High beam lights with a power range from 60 W – 100 W for long-distance lights.
Variety of Car Headlamp Technologies
Newer cars are usually equipped with LED technology, with white and bright light. But besides that, there are other newer technologies, including:
1. Matrix LED: uses a matrix pattern capable of emitting light with changes. This technology uses a camera system to monitor the street in front of it.
2. Adaptive Headlight: a technology feature commonly used in LED lights. The advantage is that it is very adaptive in adjusting the lighting according to the car’s road surface.
3. Laser: the latest technology that is much brighter than the previous type of lamp. The lighting is very far, up to 600 m.
Types of Car Headlamps
As a street light, the light intensity of a car’s headlamp varies depending on the type of lamp. There are several types of car headlamps, including:
1. Halogen Lamp: Halogen headlights contain a thin tungsten filament surrounded by halogen gas. The lamp is made in a highly durable glass filament, even at high temperatures. The shape is like a filament bulb lamp typically used before halogen. The only difference is that these lamps use halogen gases such as bromide and iodid
Halogen bulbs are also very similar to electric bulbs used for household purposes. An ordinary light bulb uses a wire filament that heats up and emits light. Meanwhile, halogen lamps use halogen lamps to increase the brightness level.
2. HID: HID, or High-Intensity Discharge, is a lamp that produces light by releasing electric gas by utilizing an electric arc. It is located between the tungsten electrodes and the transparent tubes.
HID lamps are often also referred to as xenon lamps. Instead of using a filament like halogen lamps, HID produces light by igniting xenon gas. HID light intensity is brighter than halogen lamps.
3. LEDs: Light-emitting diodes or LEDs as they are popularly known, work by flowing electricity through light-emitting diodes. The process of LEDs is relatively simple and they don’t need any warm-up time and there is almost no heat emitted. They are the most energy-efficient and produce bright light. They are easy to retrofit to any headlamp and light up instantly.
One more advantage is that you can use them in different ways, shapes and they can throw light up to 300 metres. You must have seen the LED technology on premium cars that make various shapes through the use of LEDs.
4. Matrix: Matrix lamps are a more advanced technology than LEDs. The matrix lamp consists of several smaller LED lights that work together in one headlamp. All of these smaller LEDs are controlled independently. Matrix lights are often referred to as smart lights.
5. Lasers: Laser lights are the most advanced type of headlight technology that is available in the market. This is the reason they are the best in class, but they are also the most expensive one. Laser lights energize a gas with the help of lasers. Because of this, the gas glows extremely bright. The most significant advantage of laser lights is that their throw of the headlight is significantly better than any other type of headlight. These are mostly used on high-end premium cars, or they are available as an option, but they also cost significantly more. Laser lights can illuminate about 600 meters of the road ahead.
These are the main five types of headlights that are being used by the manufacturers. Just like any other technology, as time passes, the technology will evolve more, and it will be able to trickle down to vehicles, which cost much less.
Some Common Headlight Problems and How to Fix Them
You can check out the following list for headlight problems car owners typically run into, with suggestions for possible fixes:
1. One Headlight Doesn’t Work: This is an easy problem to solve. If only one of the headlamps isn’t working, then this is most likely because the bulb has burnt out.
Replace the old bulb and the headlight should work as usual. When you replace one, it’s always best to check the other as well. If one bulb has died, the other might go out soon as well. As a precaution, you should consider replacing both at once.
2. Flickering Headlights: There are many reasons why headlights may flicker. The bulbs could be dying, or may not be connected to the vehicle properly. Internal wiring issues can also cause this problem.
High power-consuming accessories, like stereo systems, can draw power away from the headlights. They flicker as a result.
You should first get your car checked out by a mechanic to diagnose the exact problem. Easy fixes like properly connecting the bulbs to the car could potentially solve the problem.
You can also benefit from anti-flickering headlights (check these out in our shop). These are specialized bulbs with built-in mechanisms to reduce the chance of flickering.
3. Dull Headlights: Dull headlights are the result of two issues. Either the headlight bulbs have a problem or it’s the headlight cover.
Inspect the headlight cover for haziness or a yellowish color. Cloudy headlight covers are quite common. This occurs when the UV sealant on the covers wears off. The plastic of the covers, when exposed to sunlight, becomes oxidized.
To brighten up hazy headlight covers, first wash them with soap and water. Then you can polish it with toothpaste to remove the oxidation. There are also at-home headlight cover brightening kits.
If the issue is with the headlight bulb, consider replacing it. It’s highly recommended to switch out old halogen lights with LED bulbs. Carifax has a range of LED bulbs that are brighter than halogens, and also last a long time.
4. Poor Beam Strength: The headlights may work, but the beams are not as good as they should be. This is commonly caused by aging headlight bulbs. Replacing the bulbs may restore the old beam strength.
Foggy headlight covers can also affect how far and wide the beams go. Clean the headlight covers as instructed above to restore maximum visibility.
Hazy headlight covers are due to oxidation. So even if you wash your car daily, headlights covers are still vulnerable to this. Once you polish and clean the lenses, always remember to apply UV sealant. It’s this material that keeps the headlights from getting cloudy.
In case the beam strength continues to be unsatisfactory, you can consider replacing the bulbs. LED bulbs can create bright and powerful beams. Xenon bulbs aren’t bad either, though they don’t last as long as LEDs.
5. Headlights Flicker When Driving: Does flickering occur only when the car is moving? Are the headlights fine when the vehicle is parked?
Headlights going on and off when you drive, especially on rough roads, is almost always caused by a bad connection. Your headlights are not attached to the vehicle properly.
This is not difficult to fix. Remove the lens covers and tighten the bulbs. Make sure you don’t tighten too hard.
Be careful to check if the wires are in order. Kinking in the wires may cause flickering issues. Get the wiring checked out by an experienced mechanic to ensure the poor connection isn’t caused by a physical problem.
The vast majority of the time, headlight problems are caused by bulb issues. Therefore, make sure your vehicle has reliable, high-quality headlight bulbs properly installed.
Your headlights shouldn’t cause problems too often. If they do, you need to get the internal system checked out by a professional mechanic.
As most headlight problems are minor, you can apply DIY fixes as explained above. So don’t panic if your headlights aren’t working. Go through the list above to see if your problem has an easy, at-home solution.
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