How Long Do Headlights Last and When Should You Replace Them?

A standard headlight normally lasts five years or so, but that's not the case with some replacement bulbs. Most cars have had at least one headlight replacement during their lifetime, especially considering that the average age of cars on the road is about 12 years.

If you’ve noticed that your headlights aren’t as bright as they once were, it might be due to headlight bulb degradation. This natural process happens to all types of headlights, including halogen, HID, and LED bulbs, whether they’re factory originals or aftermarket replacements. While it can be challenging to detect the gradual dimming of your headlights, it’s important to replace them long before they become too dim to provide adequate illumination while driving.

Halogen bulbs have the shortest lifespan of any headlight option and are the most susceptible to degradation. The filament inside the glass capsule eventually breaks down due to the process of superheating and cooling off that occurs when the bulb is in use. This degradation results in a decrease in brightness, which can be up to 70-80% over the bulb’s rated lifespan of 500-1000 hours. It’s vital to replace your halogen bulbs before they become too dim, and you have the option to upgrade to new halogen bulbs or switch to a different technology, like HID or LED, that provides significantly brighter illumination.

HID headlights, which were introduced about 20 years ago, are entirely different from halogen bulbs. They feature an outer shell made of glass and an inner capsule filled with various chemicals like xenon gas, metal halides, and minerals. When the power source is connected to the bulb, an electric arc ignites the chemicals, creating a plasma that produces light. While HID bulbs have a longer lifespan of about 5000 hours, they still suffer from significant light degradation of up to 40-50% before needing replacement.

The newest headlight option is LED bulbs, which are the brightest of all the options and have the longest lifespan. LED bulbs can be up to 3-6 times brighter than halogen bulbs and 2-4 times brighter than some HID systems. They have a lifespan of 50,000 hours and experience only 20-30% degradation of light during their useful lifespan. LED bulbs have LED diodes that create the light source, which are more durable and robust than the filament and chemicals used in other bulbs. While LED bulbs do experience some degradation due to heat cycling, it’s much less severe than the degradation experienced by halogen and HID bulbs.

Whether your bulbs are dimming due to degradation or have experienced catastrophic failure, it’s crucial to replace them promptly and with the right replacement. At Headlight Revolution, we offer a wide range of headlight options and expert customer service to help you find the right upgrade for your vehicle and application. Don’t settle for dim headlights – upgrade to a brighter, longer-lasting option today.


How often should headlights be replaced?
All About Car Headlights: Parts &, Types. A car headlight should be replaced after an average time of 2,000 hours and 3,000 hours. In simple terms, you should replace your car's headlight when the emitted light is not enough to see in the dark, or it is giving you constant trouble.
How do I know when my headlights need replacing?
Car headlights are dim. Headlights lose their luster after a while, so if you notice yours are dimmer than before, that's a good sign they're reaching the end of their lifespan and will burn out soon. ... Car headlights are flickering. ... Car headlights are hazy. ... Car headlights are dead.
How fast do headlights burn out?
If you primarily drive during the day, you might not notice if a headlight burns out and stays out for weeks. A typical halogen light bulb, like the kind most cars use for their headlights, taillights, turn signals, and hazards, is supposed to last about five years.
Why do my headlights burn out so quickly?
Any signs of condensation inside the headlight housing may indicate that water is leaking into the housing. Water and electricity don't mix and any condensation may cause a short circuit leading to failure. Also, any condensation coming in contact with a hot bulb may cause the bulb to break.