An HD experience with HID?
High-intensity discharge or “Xenon gas” headlights are present on many high-end vehicles on the road today, and are rapidly gaining popularity.
High-intensity discharges (or HID headlamps) are available in many different lighting levels. The brilliance or strength of the emitted light is a product of the temperature created in the bulb, which is expressed by Kelvin degrees (0º Celsius = 273,15º K).
The Xenon gas contained in the bulb is heated to a high degree, thus producing photons (light) in order to dissipate the surplus energy provided. The light wave which is produced by this process is visible to the human eye, and follows a color curvature that is demonstrated by the chromatic diagram below.
There is a wide selection of bulbs on the market ranging from 2,200K to 12,000K, going from slightly rosy to pure white, and up to a very light bluish tint. There are tints which do not correlate at all with the intensity, but are more a by-product of different gases and chemical salts that were inserted into the bulb (purple, green, blue, etc.)
Although frequently installed for their distinct style, most consumers appreciate the increased visibility that the HID headlamps provide. Unfortunately, the glare and distraction they sometimes produce irritate other drivers, and raise questions as to their legality.
HID, or “Xenon” headlights, respect Transport Canada regulations and are perfectly acceptable as an OEM add-on. Subsequently, fines ranging from $100 to $200 can be given to offenders who install these systems on vehicles that were not designed for their use.
HID headlights can easily be found on the internet or in many local specialized shops, in spite of the legal threat.. These kits include the bulbs, ballasts and modulators. HID headlamps are dependable and long-lasting when correctly installed.
HID headlamps are not to be confused with bulbs claiming to be 30% brighter which are often used as replacement bulbs for your car. These bulbs do not require any modifications to the headlamp electrical circuit.
There are a wide variety of different bulb holders which need to be selected and matched to your vehicle. The installation requires more than just popping in a bulb. You need to reroute the lighting harness through the ballast and attach the assembly to a small metallic box the size of a deck of cards, which then needs to be solidly fixed to the car.
HID kits run anywhere from $80 to $150, depending on your choice of supplier. You need to add the price of labour to this total if they are installed by a professional.
If you decide to run the risk of bending Transport Canada regulations (if your vehicle was not originally designed for HID lamps), you should at least adjust the bulb angle correctly. Go out after dark and park your car in front of a wall in order to adjust the bulbs to a reasonable height. Be sympathetic to those who will be meeting you head-on.
We've all experienced driving head-on towards a HID equipped vehicle that's left us blinded