We have all been there, driving along the motorway at night when suddenly you see a vehicle approaching in your rear view mirror with intensely blue headlights that seem to stand out from all the other cars around you. Once the vehicle has passed you by, you may find that it was the latest Range Rover, BMW or Mercedes, but is there a way to get that same blue xenon bulbs look for your own headlights?
The light you see from the headlights of these prestige cars are generated by HID xenon, the HID stands for High Intensity Discharge and it means that the bulbs operate on a different principle to normal halogen headlight bulbs. Instead of using a metal coil filament to create light the HID bulbs use a very high voltage spark to ignite the xenon gas inside the bulb to create a much more intense and powerful light.
Although HID bulbs generate a more intense light, the blue colour that you see as they loom up behind you is not necessarily due to the bulbs having a blue tint. Often the colours you will see emitted from HID lights is due to refraction. If you can remember back to your school days, you may have seen a science experiment whereby a white light is split into to different colours by passing through a glass pyramid. The same principle occurs with xenon lights, normally the xenon bulbs emit a white light but as the light is refracted around the metallic reflector and glass lens it changes colour to give the impression of a blue xenon light.
It is possible to get a similar HID blue xenon light effect, even if your vehicle does not have HID lights fitted as standard, by replacing your existing halogen headlight bulbs with the latest upgrade xenon tinted blue bulbs. Importantly these upgrade headlight bulbs are a direct replacement for your standard halogen bulbs and so can be fitted without modifications or cutting wires.
Whilst there is a wide range of upgrade blue xenon bulbs on the market today, ECE regulations limit the maximum level of blue tint, so you will find that the amount of blue light emitted by street legal upgrade bulbs is very similar. Typical examples of street legal blue tinted bulbs include Osram Cool Blue, Philips Blue Vision and Ring Extreme Blue.
For vehicles not limited by street legal products, like rally cars and off-road vehicles, there are much darker high wattage blue bulbs, like Ring Sportz Blue, which will really ensure that your vehicle stands out from the crowd. It is important to remember however that the darker the blue xenon tint, the hotter the bulb will get which will shorten the bulbs overall lifespan.
So there you are, fitting blue xenon bulbs will not only make your headlights look more stylish, you will also find that they help to reflect and illuminate road markings more clearly with a much crisper and more intense light.