How Long Do Headlight Bulbs Last

This article talks about how long headlight bulbs last. 

High-performance headlight bulbs can be expensive. And if you’re looking to replace the headlights on your car, you might want to find the pair that has the best longevity. 

Alternatively, you might be looking to extend the longevity of a pair of headlights you already bought. 

Whatever your aim, you came to the right place. We’ve been testing and reviewing headlights for over a decade, and would love to answer all of your headlight-related questions. 

Put simply, there is no definite answer to the question, ‘How long do headlight bulbs last?’ It really depends on the type of headlight bulb, who manufactured it, and a number of other factors that we’ll get into below. 

In fact, headlight bulbs can last anywhere between 400-50,000 hours!

Keep reading for more information about how long headlight bulbs last.  

How Long Do Different Types Of Headlights Last

Different headlight bulbs will last for varying amounts of time. Generally, headlight longevity is measured in hours. The different technologies and designs used for different headlight bulbs allows them to last longer. 

Halogen Headlight Bulbs

These are the most common type of headlight bulb. They’re the kind your car probably came with from the factory, especially if it is an older model. Halogen headlight bulbs only last about 450-1000 hours, depending on the manufacturer, the materials used, and how well-designed the bulb actually is. 

HID Headlight Bulbs

High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlight bulbs are usually found on the aftermarket, and they last a bit longer than halogen bulbs. Most HID bulbs will easily last you 2000 hours, with the best of the best offering upto 10,000 hours of longevity.

LED Headlight Bulbs

LED headlight bulbs are the most efficient of the bunch. They draw less power, output brighter, more powerful light, and also last the longest. A nice set of LED headlight bulbs will last anywhere from 10,000 hours all the way up to 50,000 hours or more. 

What Factors Affect Headlight Bulb Lifespan

There are a number of factors that affect the lifespan of a headlight bulb. 

Wattage

Wattage is how much power is being supplied to the headlight bulb. Increasing the wattage usually means you get brighter, more powerful lighting, but at the cost of longevity. 

Usage

The more a bulb gets used everyday, the lower the lifespan. That’s pretty straightforward. 

Cars and vehicles that have automatic headlights that turn on when it gets dark get used a lot more than regular headlights. This is because they often turn on during the day when it’s cloudy or overcast. 

Environmental Factors

It is possible for your car’s surroundings to have an effect on the lifespan of your headlight bulbs. Moisture and contaminants from the atmosphere can make their way into the headlight assembly, where they can cause all kinds of damage to the headlight bulb. 

This hurts the lifespan, while also causing the headlight bulb to experience reduced performance. 

Build Quality

And finally, one of the biggest factors that affects your headlight bulb’s lifespan is the build quality. A bulb that is made from high-quality materials, uses more efficient components, and is made by a manufacturer that cares about QC will outlast a bulb that doesn’t have those things. 

Expensive v. Cheap Headlight Bulbs Lifespan

And that brings us to our next point. You might think that the more expensive a bulb, the longer it’ll last, and vice versa. However, the reality is that these days, you can find high-quality headlight bulb options at just about every price point. 

Moreover, an expensive price tag might just be hiding a low-quality bulb, and a budget-friendly set might just have the highest performance of them all! 

Generally speaking, more expensive bulbs tend to use higher quality materials, and more efficient components. This gives them higher performance, and may also give them a slight edge over cheaper bulbs when it comes to bulb longevity. 

Still, you don’t need to spend a million dollars to get a high-quality headlight bulb. And, if you want to avoid the overpriced lemon, give our buying guides a look, where we help you find the best headlight bulbs for your particular needs. 

How To Make Your Headlight Bulbs Last Longer? 

If you want longer-lasting headlight bulbs, your best bet is LEDs. These offer the best lifespan, but also the longest lifespans. 

Alternatively, if you want to figure out how to make your current headlight bulbs last longer, there are a couple preventative measures you can take. 

Check The Fuses And Relays On Your Car

Fuses and relays ensure normal flow of electricity in your car. If the fuses or relays in your car fail, they could cause electrical surges, which can reduce the lifespan of your headlight bulbs. 

Faulty relays and fuses can also result in fires, which can damage a whole lot more than just your headlight bulbs. So make sure all or the fuses and relays in your vehicle are up to date and working properly. The same goes for all of the wiring leading to the headlights. 

Keep Up With Maintenance Of The Battery

It is important to make sure that your car’s battery is working properly. This means keeping the battery fluid topped up, periodically cleaning the terminals, and replacing the battery when needed. 

This will ensure that the battery is working at peak efficiency and that the headlights are getting optimal current, which in turn should extend their longevity. 

Apply Physical Protection To Your Headlights

As we’ve discussed, stuff like moisture and road grime can get into your car’s headlight assembly and damage the headlight bulbs. A good way to prevent this is to use a physical barrier that prevents these contaminants from getting in. 

This could be in the form of a clear coat for your headlights that protects against UV damage, rock chips, and the like. It could also be a headlight protector, which is a polycarbonate shield that prevents larger rocks and stones from damaging the headlights. 

Or, you could even put a clear plastic film over the headlight assembly, which has most of the same benefits. 

Conclusion

So, to sum up, different types of headlight bulbs last for different amounts of time. With stock headlight bulbs, you can expect them to last anywhere between 400-50,000 hours with regular usage. 

Bulb longevity also depends on the type of bulb, the quality of the build, and a couple other factors. Similarly, if you want to extend the longevity of your headlight bulbs, there are a number of things you can try. 


Check out our most popular pages to find the best headlight bulbs.

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Author

Richard Nickleson is the author and owner behind Headlight Reviews. He first started the site as a hobby to share his insights on car parts and specifically headlight bulbs, but it soon ballooned and now he writes on all topics surrounding headlights bulbs. If you've got a bulb question, contact Richard here.