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The Complete Beginner's Guide To LED Headlight Bulbs

Headlights are now standard on every car and buyers may need to replace them from time to time. This may be to upgrade the quality of the headlights, replace a broken headlight, or for purely aesthetic reasons.

There are many factors to consider when choosing headlights for a car. Firstly, Buyers need to understand the components of headlights, the difference between headlight bulb and sealed beam headlight, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of bulb. Secondly, buyers need to know how LED technology boosts the evolution of automobile headlights, and the factors affecting the quality of LED headlight bulbs when you choose to buy LED headlight bulbs.Thirdly, Buyers also need to ensure that the new LED headlight bulbs are compatible with their car and adhere to the law. Finally, buyers should consider how to convert to LED headlight bulbs to create optimum driving conditions.

The Complete Beginner's Guide To LED Headlight Bulbs


1. What are the types of headlight bulbs?

2. What is LED technology?

3. How to tell high performance LED headlight bulbs?

4. What factors should consider before purchasing LED headlight bulbs?

5. Which VehiCode LED headlight series should I choose?

6. How to find right bulb model number?

7. How to install LED headlight bulbs?


Types of Headlight Bulbs

Single Beam Bulb vs Dual Beam Bulb

All car headlights must have both high and low, or dipped beams. Some achieve this by using one individual bulb integrated with both high and low beam function, it is called Dual Beam bulb (basically H4, H13, 9004 and 9007). Other designs have two separate bulbs with high beam and low beam function separately, for example, an H1 bulb for the high beam and an H7 bulb for the dipped beam. Both H1 and H7 bulb are called Single Beam bulbs (basically h1, h3, h7, h8/h9/h11, 9005, 9006, and 880/881).

The single beam headlights have two headlight bulbs per headlight. The dual beam headlights have just one headlight bulb per headlight. If your vehicle came with single beam headlights, your only option is single beam bulbs replacement if you need to change them. The same goes for dual beam headlights. The two styles are not interchangeable because the headlight wiring on the vehicle will not match up to the opposite style.




Halogen vs HID vs LED

All Halogen, HID and LED headlight bulb has its own benefits and drawbacks that result from how it is manufactured. The table below lists some of the key advantages and disadvantages of the different bulb types.

 Bulb Type




 Low price


 Short life span

 HID (High Intensity  Discharge)

 Produce high lumens

 Cause Glare & potentially troublesome to other drivers

 Energy waste

 Illegal by some governments

 LED (Light Emitting  Diode)


 Energy efficiency

 Longer life span

 High production costs


LED Technology

LED produces light, as a diode is a semiconductor that controls the flow of electricity. There are two primary parts within the diode: the p-type semiconductor and the n-type semiconductor, whereas the p-n junction is located between them. Negatively-charged electrons fill the n-type semiconductor, and positively-charged carriers fill the p-type semiconductor. During the application of an electric current to the diode, the electrons that are negatively charged become attracted to the positively-charged p-type conductor.

Nevertheless, the electrons continuously circuit around the nucleus of an atom. To move away from the nucleus, they must change their energy, or more precisely in a given case, lose some energy. They start losing the energy in the form of photons or light while crossing the p-n junction. In this process, the light energy that illumines LED bulbs is created.



LED Headlight bulbs in Automobiles

As in the majority of applications, LED headlight bulbs used in cars produce enough light for visibility due to a series of diodes. LED headlight bulbs have certain particular features related to performance, and style & model number.


LED technology for headlight bulbs aims at improving performance in several ways. LED bulbs produce light in an efficient way as they do not emit heat as a byproduct of their light. Nearly all energy consumed by an LED headlight bulb is used to generate light, unlike in cases of HID technology and halogen, which convert a significant amount of energy into heat. Accordingly, less fuel is required to produce light by LED headlight bulbs in comparison to other lighting technologies. In regards to full explanation of LED headlight bulbs performance, you need to consider the following points.



#1: Brightness

Lumens is the measurement that is used to evaluate the brightness of light bulbs in general, normally one LED headlight bulb could reach around 3000lms or higher, but it is important to pay attention to how many lumens the bulb uses for actual light, since some luminosity is lost to other energy production within the lighting process. One solution is to install extra LED projectors in headlight assembly to make light beam more focused rather than scattered. The other solution is related to the type of LED chips and how you pick the high performance LED headlight bulbs on the market.



#2: Color

Kelvins are used to measure the color of both natural light and light produced by light bulbs. This unit, in fact, measures the temperature of light.  The warm white color is typical for the temperature range of 2500 to 4000 K, whereas the cool flu whites range from 5000 to 8000 K.LED headlights tend more towards the lower end of cool white light, typically from 5500 to 6500 K.



#3: Temperature Issues

LED bulbs are semiconductors, and accordingly, their performance depends on the temperature. A diode is designed to produce more light at a lower temperature than at a higher temperature. Thus, the temperature of the LED headlamp must be stable to keep the continuous light output required by headlights and to ensure a longer life span in case of being shut off instantly. Hence, buyers should take the heat dissipation of LED headlight bulb into consideration.


#4: Stability

Regarding the stability of LED headlight bulbs, you are supposed to start from aspect of ballast, shockproof and waterproof. The high performance ballast (or called driver) generally connected with LED headlight bulb inside box is a necessary part for LED headlight to prevent LED damages from voltage variation and spikes in order to optimize heat protection, continuous brightness output, and power efficiency.

Secondly, the shockproof is dependent on the bulb materials and whole solid design to reduce vibration frequency and accomplish damping function. When you drive a car, it’s inevitable to be bumping. Some poor performance headlight could shut down temporarily and the cutline could be influenced sometimes to affect your driving experience. 

Finally, in rainy condition, the IP ratings are the main measurement to test the waterproof level of LED headlight bulbs. The higher waterproof level, the less worry you take.


Style & Model Number

In addition to performance enhancement, LED headlight bulbs also give vehicle manufacturers and vehicle owners who are installing aftermarket LED headlight bulbs onto their automobiles more control over the car or truck's lighting style. LED headlight bulbs use a series of smaller bulbs, enabling manufacturers of these headlights to arrange the bulbs in different patterns. This gives vehicle manufacturers more control over how to shape headlight bulbs and vehicle owners more choices for how the headlights that they install will look. Typically, the bulb model numbers are mainly divided into single and dual beam function.

For single beam bulbs, h1, h3, h7, h8/h9/h11, 9005, 9006 and 880/881 are applied to. For dual beam bulbs, h4, h13, 9004 and 9007 are applied to.



Factors to consider when purchasing LED headlight bulbs

One of the most basic factors to consider when buying car headlights is whether the model fits the vehicle. Buyers also need to ensure that the headlights are permitted by law, safe, and appropriate if they wish to travel.


Legality of Car Headlights

In addition, buyers should to verify that the headlights are legal for use on the road, and not meant to for display only. For example, buyers cannot simply replace the bulbs in a halogen headlight with HID bulbs. Instead, they must upgrade the entire headlight and ensure that it carries RoHS, CE, and E-Mark certifying its compliance with European standards. Or in United States, it needs to be DOT-Compliant to follow USA transportation regulation.


Compatibility of Car and Headlights

Perhaps the biggest factor for buyers to concern themselves with when purchasing headlights is whether the type of headlight they are interested in is compatible with their vehicle. While in most cases, headlights are suited to a wide range of models (h1, h3, h7, etc), it is critical for buyers to investigate the matter thoroughly to avoid making an erroneous purchase. The user manual for most vehicles provides this information or the model number marked on previous headlight bulb. In addition, buyers could refer to VEHICODE BULB FINDER to find out the bulb matches your vehicle.


CanBus Issues

This is usually caused by the incompatibility between LED bulbs and vehicle computer system. It is commonly found in high profile automobiles such as Mercedes, Audi, and BMW among others and latest year vehicle.By simply wiring the capacitors (also named as warning cancellers or anti-flickers) between LED bulb plug and vehicle socket, this kind of issue can be well resolved.

NOTE: GoldPro200 and Silver200 Series have carry-on capacitors inside package.



Which VehiCode LED headlight series should I choose?

In VehiCode, there are 6 series of LED headlight bulbs for buyers to choose:

Aquila Series, Silver Series, Silver+ Series, GoldPro Series, GoldPro+ Series and Vanguard Series.

Aquila series: features affordable price and cost-effective.

Silver & GoldPro series: feature 2 sides and basic performance of LED headlight bulbs.

Silver+ & GoldPro+ series: features unique 3 sides of 3 chips for single beam (h7, h8/h9/h11, 9005, 9006, etc), 360° light emitting and CanBus Ready.

Vanguard Series: features highest performance, adaptibility and stability. Adjustable beam angle, reversible heat sink and extra 2 years warranty.


How to find right bulb model number?

#1: Use vehicle owner's manual

Find out your vehicle owner's manual or download it from Internet. Read More



#2: model number on previous bulb



#3: Use VehiCode bulb finder

Regarding VehiCode bulb finder, we couldn't make sure all data is stored in our database due to enormous work volume, but we'll continuously update our database.


Part Finder



#4 Use Philips Bulb Finder

Well we're still working on getting the sufficient data plugged into our website for most vehicles. If you couldn’t find the result from VehiCode Bulb Finder, you then could have a try Philips bulb finder.

1.  Login Philips Bulb Look Up

2.  Enter year, make, model &  Find the bulb number

3.  Click shop by bulb number



Converting to LED Headlights

When purchasing new LED headlights, ensure the lights are compatible with the model of the vehicle. Most of vehicle follows the most common and easy installation steps within 20 minutes. The followings are standard fittings, but the socket fittings may differ from model to model. To convert halogen bulbs to LED technology, follow this simple three-step process:

1. Remove the lens cover and the headlights that will be replaced. Another way to access the headlights is beneath the hood, inside the headlight mount.

2. Unplug the existing bulb by taking it out of the socket from either the front of the car or from under the hood, depending on how the vehicle is designed.

3. Plug the new LED bulb into the socket and replace the lens cover.


Or, you could download the installation graph here.


Note: more complex headlight arrangements may require special tools or expertise necessitating professional assistance.

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