There are some things in life we would struggle to live without – can openers for example. A simple concept and design, styles vary but the basic function is the same. Car headlights are another example; without them, driving in dull, dark or bad weather conditions would be so much harder.

Common things in life are often major pieces of technological advancements – there are a few variations in headlights in use today from the ‘old’ style headlights to the new, ultra efficient LED headlights.

As we try to conserve non-renewable energy, car manufacturers are increasingly turning to other forms of fuel and energy to drive their cars. Hybrid vehicles can benefit more from LED headlights simply because LED bulbs need only a small amount of energy to glow brightly, helping batteries last longer.Eco-Friendly - LED Headlights

LED bulbs and technology is becoming common place in many strands of our lives; LED bulbs can be found in domestic and Commercial settings but they have now found their way into motor vehicles. Whilst this offers a bright light for less energy with a long bulb life but there are some drawbacks too.

The first drawback is the heat. It is often mis-understood that LED’s don not produce heat. They do produce heat, just much less than traditional lights (that’s why they’re more efficient). Most of the heat produced by the LED stays in and around the LED chip, some is emitted in the form of heat radiation. LED’s are sensitive to heat so unless the heat generated is conducted away from the LED chip it will become damaged beyond repair. With car manufacturers increasingly designing vehicles with automatic, low- day lights, this could be a problem if adequate heat sinks are not built into the design. It’s not so much of a concern for LED bulbs used in brake lights, turning lights etc. – in other words, settings where the LED bulbs are not on continuously for long periods.

But… there is another drawback – LED bulbs and accompanying technology is still expensive to manufacture, a cost that is currently passed to the consumer. However, on the plus side of this, LED bulb technology means they are one of the longest lasting bulbs currently on the market – technically, this means no longer fiddling with small bulbs in hard-to-reach places!

On the plus side, LED bulbs are much smaller than traditional bulbs therefore they can be used across a wide range of applications. This coupled with the fact that LED bulb technology is currently the hot research topic within industry the performance of these tiny bulbs is likely to increase in the future.

And so, are LEDs the best performing car headlights? It would seem that car manufacturers think so, with more and more new models hitting the market sporting the new look headlights. Their small size, low energy consumption and long life make them versatile, however the relative high cost and heat management considerations mean the industry is still researching, experimenting and improving.

LED Lighthouse are LED specialists with a wealth and knowledge on these products and guest authored this article.

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