Seeing well on the road is key to our safety. One aspect in which the arrival of LED bulbs is the latest development. However, there are still many doubts about whether this technology or the previously existing ones is more convenient.
If you are a fan of automotive magazines or have been to an auto center lately, you may have read or seen some of the new LED bulbs that are already offered for some vehicles. A novel product that, in the manner of what happens with household bulbs, it seems that it may end up replacing the halogen or xenon bulbs that, until now, we have been using in our vehicles.
However, many drivers are wondering which option is better, LED bulbs or halogen bulbs? Since there are several aspects that we can look at when making a decision, we are going to shed light on the matter.
What are we talking about
As a preliminary step, we are going to briefly analyze each of these technologies. Starting with the halogen, these are the lamps that our vehicle generally mounts, if it did not have LED headlights as standard. This system is based on the conventional incandescent bulb, with a tungsten filament, which is surrounded by an inert gas and to which some halogen is added, such as iodine and bromine. The balance that occurs between the elements present in the filament bubble improves resistance and gives a greater illumination capacity than conventional headlights. In xenon headlights, the light is generated by heating the gas at a high temperature, which generates the corresponding light and the particular hue that these types of headlights usually have.
Regarding LED lights, surely you already know the system for being very popular, both inside and outside the car. In the case of car lights, we have a series of LED lights or diodes, strategically placed depending on the type of light we need. They have the advantage of consuming less energy, offering a different light that is less tiring to the eye, as well as offering much higher durability than conventional bulbs.
Going deep into the lighting parameters of each technology, halogen light tends to be yellow or warmer in color, while light from LED bulbs is usually cooler, with shades closer to blue. Something that has the advantage of not modifying the colors when shooting, giving an extra security at night, since yellow light can slightly alter the perception of the objects with which we pass. However, with xenon headlights it is also possible to achieve a somewhat cooler light, although not as cold as that offered by LEDs.
Another parameter in which these two types of bulbs differ has to do with brightness. Under normal conditions, the LED is capable of generating a much more intense brightness than a conventional halogen bulb. At a technical level, we could say that LED bulbs are capable of generating a greater amount of lumens, the measure of light intensity, than a conventional halogen bulb. Something that we already know about domestic LED bulbs, in which we need a lower voltage and we have less consumption when it comes to getting a certain amount of light. Again, xenon makes a bit of a difference, since the intensity of the light it offers is greater than conventional halogen.
So when it comes to technical parameters and lighting capacity, LED bulbs would be one step ahead of halogen bulbs and also xenon bulbs.
Assembly and legality
However, the advantage of LED bulbs is diluted when talking about the transformation of a vehicle that does not mount LEDS to carry them. A section that not even the best LED car bulbs can overcome without problems or discomfort. We talk about the assembly process of the same and everything that has to do with legality. And is that currently, mounting a set of LED bulbs in our vehicle is not something as easy as opening the hood, removing the halogen bulbs and putting the LEDs. The issue is much more complex.
On the one hand, it is necessary to verify that the space is adequate, since if the gap for the bulb is small it may not fit properly the LED bulb assembly and the fan you need. Without this fan, as well as without good cooling, the light bulb has its days numbered. So space is important. The same happens with the connectors, which in many cases are not compatible with the standards for a halogen bulb, which requires their replacement with others compatible with modern LED bulbs.
As if that were not enough, once we have assembled our new LED bulbs, a much more complicated process begins, which is that of their approval. In this process you have to visit the ITV, ask for documents, turn to experts to certify the installation and something else to legalize the installation of the light bulbs, considered as a major reform. This is the step that most repels users when it comes to switching to LEDs, as it is complex and quite expensive.
Summarizing what has been said, if we limit ourselves to technical aspects, it is true that LED lights tend to give a better lighting result, both due to the intensity of light and the color temperature they handle. So in this aspect there is not much to discuss. But if we analyze the entire legal issue and what the installation of these LED bulbs in a vehicle not prepared for it implies, the truth is that it makes you want to think about it a couple of times, both due to the legal process and the cost associated with the legalization of that assembly.