Xenon HIDs: Three is the magic number

New research is suggesting that xenon HID headlamps should be replaced if they are over three years old

Published:  20 May, 2019

Everything has a point at which it needs replacing, and new research from Ring Automotive says  xenon HIDs should be replaced every three years.

Garage businesses will be able to help improve safety for their customers and increase revenue by advising drivers to go for replacement according to Ring Automotive, who are behind the findings.
Ring’s research  indicates  that while xenon HID headlamps may still illuminate and appear white, after three years the light output will have dropped significantly – potentially below legal limits. In tests done in its  beam laboratories, Ring found that the overall lumens light output from four-year-old HID bulbs had dropped by around 17.5% compared to equivalent new xenon HID bulbs – taking them below the legal limits for light output for HID bulbs as set out in ECE Reg 99. The lux output at the brightest point of the beam had dropped by around 59.5% when comparing the old bulb with the equivalent new xenon HID.

Lumens are used to measure the overall output of a bulb, and this measurement takes into account all the light emitted across the entire beam. Lux is used to measure the light output at the brightest point – or hotspot – of the bulb. This is the point at which the light is focused to give optimum visibility when driving.

Opportunity
Carl Harrison, Xenon HID Product Manager at Ring commented: “When a customer is in for a MOT and service, it’s the ideal opportunity to discuss xenon HID bulbs and replacement. We’ve tested the light output of new versus four-year-old bulbs, and can see a significant drop in light output, and based on this and other tests, we are advising technicians to recommend replacing xenon HID bulbs every three years.”

Apart from the safety angle, there is chance to make some money too says Carl: “It’s a value-added service that provides an opportunity for garages, who can offer bulb replacement, and improves driving conditions for their customers. The driver may not have noticed the reduction in visibility as the change will have been gradual, meaning that advice from professionals is even more necessary to ensure optimal driving conditions.”

Around 10% of the UK car parc has xenon HID bulbs fitted, and these vehicles offer a profitable prospect for independent garages: “These bulbs need to be installed by trained technician, and must always be replaced in pairs,“ says Carl, “as if they are not, the colour output of the bulbs will be mismatched. With a higher cost per bulb and more time-consuming fit, there is a clear opportunity for garages to profit, while still offering better value and service than main dealers.
 
“There’s a perception that xenon HIDs must be fitted by a main dealer. This is not the case, and we want to ensure that independent garages don’t miss out on fitting xenon HIDs. There’s even an opportunity to upsell to brighter and whiter options. These upgrade bulbs put more light on the road than standard HIDs, or produce a whiter light for an even more high spec look and a match to LED daytime running lamps. As these bulbs will last for three years, this extra investment can be worthwhile for drivers that want the best in their vehicle.”

Ring offers a range of xenon HID bulbs, including popular references D3 and D4, plus the newer D5 reference, as well as brighter and whiter upgrade options. For more details about xenon HIDs, plus fitting advice, visit www.ringautomotive.com/webapps/refit-hids/

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