Headlights are an important part of your vehicle that could easily be the only thing keeping you safe in certain situations, so you need to know how far they can take you.
So, this begs the question- how long do headlights last? If you’d like to find out, keep reading to see what I discovered!
How Long Do Headlights Last?
Headlights last for different spans of time depending on the lighting technology they use. On average, tungsten halogen headlights last between 500 and 1,000 hours while HID headlights last about 2,000 hours. Xenon headlights last about 10,000 hours while LED headlights are currently the longest lasting, at an average of 30,000 hours.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about how long headlights are supposed to last, including the breakdown of technology, comparison in years and more!
How Long Do LED Headlights Last?
LED headlights last longer than the other popular bulb types, at an average of 30,000 hours. This means that you can have the same bulbs in your car throughout its life without needing to replace them.
These bulbs are very energy efficient, using as much as 90% less power and using it more effectively than incandescent bulbs.
This is one of the major factors contributing to their long life; by handling a smaller amount of power, these bulbs are less likely to get overloaded and burn out quickly.
They are also not mechanical, meaning they have no moving parts so there are fewer points of failure (i.e., they have less components that can burn, wear out, break or jam over time).
Moreover, LED bulbs generate very little heat during their operations, because they generate light by moving electrons to create photons instead of essentially burning a substance inside the bulb.
This also increases their lifespan because there’s less chance of internal components literally getting burned out.
Overall, their long lifespan is why LED bulbs are used in daytime running lights (DRLs) that are always on when the car is running.
How Long Do Halogen Headlights Last?
Halogen headlights last the shortest out of all common bulb types, at between 500 and 1,000 hours.
These are the most common bulb types because of their low cost, and have been widely used by vehicle manufacturers since the 90s. In fact, they’re likely the ones you have installed.
Halogen headlights work by passing electricity through a tungsten filament inside the bulb that builds up enough heat that it starts glowing and produces the light required.
This process is very intensive on the bulbs, which is why they burn out or blow so quickly, and is the reason you shouldn’t leave them on for too long.
For starters, thermal expansion inside the bulb causes it to blow if it gets to a certain point. Moreover, the tungsten filament melts and gets deposited onto the glass and this makes it expand irregularly, increasing the chance of it shattering.
How Long Do HID Headlights Last?
High intensity discharge (or HID) headlights last for an average of 2,000 hours, making them more efficient than halogen bulbs but not as preferable as LEDs.
They’re built much like halogen bulbs, with an electric charge that is sent through two electrodes, but instead of a filament, there’s an ionized gas or plasma between them.
In this setup, it’s the gas that gets charged to produce the light in a process that’s similar to the neon signs used in store fronts.
This means that there’s no heat produced so there’s less damage to internal components, which helps the bulb last longer.
How Long Do Xenon Headlights Last?
Xenon headlights are a subcategory of HID lights and they last a lot longer than the group average, at 10,000 hours.
They work through the process outlined in the section above, but with xenon gas specifically being what lights up inside the bulb.
Xenon is an inert or inactive gas, meaning it isn’t highly reactive, so it doesn’t degrade quickly while inside the bulb (which is how they last so long).
How Long Do Headlights Last in Years?
Going by the numbers provided above, it can be determined that these lights last for the following time frames:
- LED Headlights:4 years
- Xenon Headlights:14 years
- HID Headlights:22 years
- Halogen Headlights:11 years
How Long Do BMW Headlights Last?
How long BMW headlights last depends on the type of bulb you’ve installed, as each bulb type has a different longevity. For example, if you have halogen bulbs installed, you’re looking at between 500 and 1,000 hours.
BMW also sells cars with LED and HID headlights, so they could last up to 2,000 or as much as 30,000 hours depending on your configuration.
How Long Do Sylvania Headlights Last?
Different Sylvania headlight models come rated for different lifespans. For instance, the Sylvania UltraStar halogen is rated for 250 hours, while the XtraVision is rated for 850 hours.
It’s recommended that, if you’re going to install the XtraVision brand lights, purchase HID or LED models that are rated for longer life to be on the safe side.
How Many Miles Will Headlights Last?
It’s difficult to determine a headlight’s lifespan by miles because it comes down to how often you have it on.
If you’re driving a lot, but it’s mostly during the day, your lights will last longer than someone who drives primarily at night, even if they drive less often than you.
That said, we can use the information in this article to determine that halogens might need more frequent replacement than the other types.
We have also concluded that LED headlights are probably going to last you the entire lifespan of the car, which is about 200,000 miles or approximately 322,000 kilometers.
In the middle we have halogens, which experts have estimated could last for about 90,000 miles or approximately 145,000 kilometers.
To find out more, you can also see our posts on how long do LED headlights last, when to use high beam headlights, and how do automatic headlights work.
Different headlights have different lifespans depending on the technology used to produce light. LEDs last the longest at 30,000 hours, followed by xenon at 10,000 hours, HIDs at 2,000 hours and halogens at a maximum of 1,000 hours.
LEDs have no moving parts and don’t use heat to emit light, both of which are factors that contribute to its long lifespan. Halogens, however, do use heat to produce light, creating the extreme conditions that make them blow so frequently.