Choosing The Right Headlight Set: Everything You Need to Know

Choosing The Right Headlight Set

Headlights all too often get overlooked when it comes to car maintenance, but they play an important role in vehicle safety and the appearance of the vehicle. It is helpful to understand when to replace your headlight set and how to choose the right headlight set for your specific vehicle to ensure optimal safety while driving and keep your beloved vehicle looking great for more than a decade.

The following is everything you need to know about choosing the right headlight set, including signs that indicate your headlights need replacement, an overview of the different types of headlights and how to make the right decision for your vehicle specifically.

When to replace your headlights

Although each headlight set is unique, they generally last between 15 and 20 years with proper care. This means vehicles that were made before 2005 that still have their original headlamps may require a headlight replacement. Of course, there are certain signs to check for that may indicate the headlights are worn down, and the age of the headlights is not always a direct indicator of their condition.

Regardless of age, anytime the headlights become damaged it is encouraged to consider headlight replacement. Damaged headlights can lead to failed safety inspections, make it more difficult to see the road while driving at night and cause an issue with the vehicle’s appearance. Headlights can become damaged in a lot of different ways, including cracks and chips. Headlights can also become oxidized beyond repair, which can impair the headlight bulbs ability to shine through and light up the road properly. Lastly, some drivers may simply prefer to change their headlights to improve the appearance of their vehicle, and a new set in good condition can make a car look much more attractive.

Different types of headlights

Not all headlights and headlight bulbs are the same. By knowing the different types of headlight sets, you can have a better understanding of how to choose the right headlight set when the time for replacement comes. There are three main types of headlight sets to be familiar with, which are halogen, LED and Xenon headlights.

Halogen headlight set

Most car manufacturers offer a certain type of headlights, and it is often best to stay with the default headlight set. Halogen is perhaps the most common type of headlight bulbs, and they are reliable long-term and often more affordable than LED headlights. Halogen headlight sets are often the easiest and most affordable solution, especially for most vehicles that were manufactured before 2010. You can find out what the right headlight set is for your specific vehicle at Headlights Depot.

LED headlight set

LED headlights have become more popular within the last decade, and they often last longer and shine brighter than halogen headlights. However, it is not always permissible to switch from a halogen headlight set to an LED headlight set in certain jurisdictions, which is why knowing what the factory headlights and headlight bulbs are can be important. With that said, a properly installed LED headlight set can make driving safer and make your car look great at night.

Xenon HID headlight set

Xenon HID headlights – otherwise referred to as HID (high-intensity discharge) headlights – are common with many BMW, Volkswagen, and other foreign models. One benefit that Xenon bulbs have is that they often reach farther than LED headlight bulbs. However, they are typically more expensive and may require professional installation.

How to choose the right headlight set for you

Now that you are more familiar with the different types of headlight sets, let’s discuss how to find the right headlight set for your vehicle specifically. Keep in mind, replacement headlights for a 2005 Toyota Tacoma are not going to be the same as the replacement headlights for a 1994 Dodge Ram, and it is important to find the right headlight set that matches the factory headlamps for your vehicle.

The important thing is to choose headlights that are appropriate and fit properly. Of course, if there are multiple options available, then choose the set that is most appealing to you, considering factors such as the appearance of the headlights, the safety, how long they are expected to last and your budget.

There are websites and resources that can help you find the right headlights quickly. At Headlights Depot, choosing the right headlight set is easy. On the homepage, you can easily choose the year, make and model of your vehicle and see a selection of possible replacement sets.

Benefits of headlight replacement

For many, replacing headlights is not important as they do not understand the benefits of doing so. In fact, many who replace their headlights are surprised by how much it helps. The benefits of headlight replacement include:

  • More attractive headlights
  • Better ability to see the road
  • Avoid failed safety inspections
  • Long-term headlights reliability

Most importantly, a new headlight set can improve safety. Oxidized or damaged headlights may cause the headlight bulbs to not shine through properly, which can make seeing the road, other drivers, etc. more difficult while driving at night. A new set ensures the driver can see the road in an optimal manner. The improved safety from new headlights also ensures long-term reliability without the owner having to worry about headlights becoming more damaged and can significantly improve the chance of an older vehicle passing state-required safety inspections.

The bottom line

A headlight set typically includes both a driver side and a passenger-side headlamp, along with bulbs that go with each. It is important to ensure you choose the right headlight set that fits your specific vehicle to avoid a difficult or impossible installation process. You can find the right headlight set for your vehicle by going through a simple search at our sister company Headlights Depot. Simply enter what you are looking for in the search bar, and you can choose the right headlight set for the year, make and model of your vehicle. It’s as easy as that!

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Aaron Westbury
Aaron is a content writer with a passion for cars. He enjoys learning new things and loves to share what he learns with others. Aaron also has a Bachelor's in English and years of experience as a writer, and he constantly seeks to improve and make his writing more informative and helpful for readers. Although a writer by day, Aaron enjoys his free time by getting outdoors and staying active anyway he can.


    1. It is also important to consider the difficulty involved in the replacement process. With some vehicles, replacement is as simple as just pulling them out and putting the new headlights in, while for others, the process can be much more involved. Sometimes, replacing headlights are much more intensive, where the entire bumper assembly needs to be pulled off – Which is something to consider before taking it on as a DIY project instead of hiring on a professional mechanic.

    2. Buyers should also be mindful of the type of lights that came with your vehicle, as the plugs may be different. Some lights may require a conversion kit in order to function properly if they did not already have that type of light.

    3. Replacing your headlights is often overlooked, but the results can be impressive. The headlight lens coating yellowed and dull slowly, so a replacement set of lights can be a huge improvement. Using a high quality halogen bulb or led conversion bulb goes a very long way also. Headlights Depot recently started carrying very high quality LED conversion bulbs, and the performance increase in light output is well worth the money.

    4. Maybe mention how older lights are fogged up or have condensation as well. Older lights seem to be used and there is zero visibility because of the fogging or condensation inside the housing.

    5. I recently replaced my friend’s headlights and it looks like a brand new car!
      Headlights are the eyes into the soul of the car

    6. With some simple tools I had in my garage I was able to install new HID bulbs. A simple socket set, torx set and some screwdrivers it was an easy job my vehicle was a late model year and had a special chassis code I just made sure using the VIN and chassis code to make sure that I had the correct code. There are plenty of information online to replace it. using a high quality bulb or headlight is key because you dont want to do this often, better to do it right the first time.

    7. You should also think about the care of your new lights. Keeping them clean helps for better longevity.

    8. Great article, but I disagree with the statement that HID’s are typically more expensive than LED’s. In my experience, this is only true when comparing low-quality conversion kits. For both high-quality conversion kits and OEM light sources, LED is often more expensive than HID.

    9. Excellent article, but I have to disagree with the statement that today’s headlights last 15-20 years. In my opinion with the plastics and the angle of today’s headlights, you are lucky to get 5-10 years out of a headlight before having to replace them.

    10. Another term for Xenon type headlights is HID, This could be confusing when trying to find replacement parts.

    11. Replacing the headlights is important for safety. Also it makes your car look so much better!

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