HID Retrofit for Your Headlights: Here are the Pros and Cons
Does your vehicle have halogen headlights? And do you usually drive at night? If you need excellent visibility without blinding motorists on the road, then perhaps you might want to “retrofit” your lights with HID.
HID, or High Intensity Discharge retrofits allow you to install “or retrofit” HID projectors inside a halogen headlight. This allows your headlight to have around three times more light compared to your original halogens.
There are cars already fitted with HIDs in the market today. For instance, Toyota Camry, Honda CR-V, Subaru Impreza, Corolla Altis, Mitsubishi Pajero, and many Mercedes Benz and BMW models come with this kind of lighting system.
Pros and Cons
Doing a retrofit is quite straightforward, and usually takes around a day if it’s not a customized, one-off build. Usually, a professional would open a headlight, and separate its lens from the body. Afterwards, an HID projector is placed inside the reflector housing, making sure that they are properly aligned and sealed completely.
Pros of HID Retrofits
- The bulbs generally last a long time when used moderately. For instance, a Philips HID bulb will last around five years if you use it for two hours per day. Meanwhile, Original Equipment Manufactured (OEM) bulbs can last for three years. Note that this is a conservative figure. Most exceed these numbers.
- It effectively reduces blinding glare, preventing accidents on the road.
- It gives 3x more light compared to traditional halogen headlights.
Cons of HID Retrofits
- They can get expensive. The best ones start at around PHP20,000++. Meanwhile, the inferior ones–which we don’t recommend–can go for as low as PHP10,000 (service charge included).
- The visibility of HID retrofits function less efficiently if your car has dark tints. Ideally, it’s better to first convert your car’s windows to light or light-medium tints before you do an HID retrofit.
- Headlamp lens with lines or ridges (EDITOR’s NOTE: Also known as fluted lens) can’t be retrofitted with HIDs. This means you need to convert to clear lens before you do an upgrade.
HID retrofit process
A typical HID retrofit service from a professional often comes in a package. This includes: HID projectors (such as FXR, H1,H7 and other D2S projectors), HID bulbs like Osram Nightbreaker, and Philips (usually using around 4300k-5000k color temperature for maximum lighting output), shrouds (cover for the back part of the projector, like the E46 and ocular shrouds), mounting parts, sealants (non-silicone is better), HID ballast (like Matsushita and Morimoto), wiring, and the company’s service charge.
By the way, how will you know if their work is good? Check if the HID lights have clean cutoffs, without visible hot spots, misaligned light, and too much glare. Moreover, the color should look sharp and crisp. Too much blurred edges are a sign of poor installation.