Unlike halogen headlights that are similar to incandescent home lights, Xenon headlights pass electricity through xenon gas inside a quartz glass bulb. The bulb contains less than 1 mg mercury and metallic salts in addition to the high-pressure xenon gas. Xenon lamps produce an intense blue-white light, compared to the yellowish light produced by filament headlamps. Xenon headlights are sometimes called High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights. The bulbs are UV protected and safe when used with plastic headlight lenses.
Xenon headlights provide drivers with three primary benefits over old-style halogen headlights.
Brighter, Better Light
1. Xenon headlights produce about twice as many lumens per headlight bulb than halogen headlights do. This means they give off brighter light than halogen lamps even when they are set on low beam.
2. The bluer light more closely resembles natural daylight than halogen light does. This improves visibility at night.
3. Xenon lights intensely illuminate the road, giving drivers better visibility in the dark or in bad weather. Xenon bulbs increase the lit viewing radius by up to 70 percent. This means they cover a 70 percent wider swath of roadway.
4. Xenon bulbs illuminate blind spots, animals, debris and pedestrians along the road far more effectively than halogens.
5. Drivers view the road with better contrast and color depth so they can see objects with less fatigue and eye strain.
6. Xenon light is less irritating than halogen light, partially because less light is reflected into the eyes of other drivers. The transition between light and dark is clearly defined.
7. Drivers see road signs and lane markers better as the xenon bulbs illuminate reflective paint. This is a definite benefit to older drivers and those with diminished night vision.
1. Brighter, clearer light is the primary safety improvement offered by xenon headlights.
2. Many newer vehicles feature auto-leveling devices on the xenon lights. These reduce glare by automatically lowering the headlight beam when the vehicle goes over bumps in the road or is carrying a heavy load in the trunk.
3. Some newer features allow the headlights to pivot automatically when the car goes around corners. This points the light lower through the corner, reducing glare for the drivers of oncoming cars and those ahead of the xenon-lamp equipped car. The pivot feature directs light more usefully for the vehicle.
1. Xenon headlights usually last two to three times longer than halogen lights. This is the result of xenon lights conducting electricity directly through electrodes in the xenon gas-filled bulb chamber. There are no filaments to burn and break over time as in halogens.
2. Xenon bulbs are more resistant to damage from shock and vibration thanks to the absence of filaments.
3. Ionized xenon gas also uses less energy than conventional headlamps. HID lights consume 25% less power than standard halogen lights. In some cases, the xenon light bulbs may last for the lifetime of the vehicle.