Do HID Bulbs Fade Over Time?

When it comes to upgrading your car or truck’s lighting system with new, brightly-shining headlights, you want to be sure that the bulbs are going to last as long as possible.

Do HID bulbs dim over time?

HID headlights (High-Intensity Discharge), also known as Xenon gas bulbs, provide an enviable shine that illuminates the road with a pure white light. However, HID headlights can eventually lose their brightness over time.

Why does this occur? Read on for common reasons why HID headlights lose their initial intensity.

Why do Xenon/HID headlights lose brightness?

HID headlight bulbs display degradation (a progressive dimming) throughout their lifespan, but at a really slow rate. Due to the very slow-moving process of this degradation, some vehicle owners aren’t always sure when it is time to replace their headlight bulbs.

How does this dimming happen?

  • Over time, HID bulbs experience loss of internal chemicals that are needed to create the bright light projection.
  • Additionally, a gradual darkening of the inner tube of the bulb accumulates.
  • This inner tube is where the chemical reaction occurs that creates the light.
  • The darkening of the tube/loss of light is therefore part of the degradation process.

How long do HID headlights last?

  • Research has shown that high-quality, durable HID headlights can last up to 10,000-15,000 hours of use before needing to be replaced.
  • When HID headlights lose a substantial amount of brightness, the result is that the bulbs are no longer suitable or safe for use when driving in dark or otherwise hazardous road conditions.
  • A sign that your HID bulbs may be on the brink of going out, in addition to noticeably decreased brightness, is a change from bright white to blue or purple-tinted light.
  • Another sign that your headlights are losing steam is a reoccurring flickering on and off, which intensifies and happens more frequently as the bulb’s brightness continues to fade. This process is called “cycling.”
  • If you see a shift in color, a flickering and/or weakened light intensity projected by your vehicle’s headlights, it is likely time to make a switch to new bulbs.

Extending the lifespan of Xenon HID bulbs

  • What’s the good news? Although HID bulbs will eventually go out, there are steps you can take to maximize their lifespan and functionality for your car or truck.
  • Basically, a Xenon/HID bulb’s lifespan is most affected by how much they are turned on and off.
  • Most people think that a headlight bulb’s longevity is dependent upon the total length of time they are in use while driving, but that is not the case.
  • Keeping this in mind, be sure to keep the frequency with which you turn them on and off to the bare minimum. The less you do so, the longer the bulbs will last.
  • Give your HID bulbs time to cool down between uses
    • Another factor that speeds up the gradual dimming process is turning your headlights on when they’re still hot, like after a long drive.
    • Instead, let them cool down for up to 20 minutes when possible. The longer you let them “rest,” the longer they’ll last overall.
  • Make sure your headlight assemblies are clean—free of dirt, water, and moisture. If they look dirty or hazy, cleaning them will help boost their longevity and functionality.

Start your engines! The best and brightest HID/Xenon headlights are in stock and ready to add an instant upgrade to your car or truck. Call, chat, email the pros at Underground Lighting hook you up with exactly what you need for your vehicle.