The Lighting Basics: Frequently Asked Questions about Headlights

Updated: Dec 5, 2018

This month, I will share with you the short responses I give to six commonly asked questions about semi-truck headlights as accurate as I can. Please note that these responses will change if I learn new information. These are my own conclusions that I have come to on my own by helping truckers every day.


Q: “If money were no object, are LED headlights worth it?”

A: Regardless of money, the more cold, snow, and ice you drive in, the less useful LED headlights will be.


Q: “If winter weather isn’t a factor, are there any benefits to using Sirius bulbs over LED?

A: Sirius bulbs are less expensive and are easier to replace in a pinch as opposed to LED bulbs.


Q: “Since LED bulbs are more expensive, does that mean they will last forever?”

A: The diodes themselves may last, but LEDs are still prone to wire corrosion, circuit board failures, lens distortion, or road damage over time. Nothing lasts forever.


Q: “Should I look into an HID headlight system instead of LED?”

A: I would strongly advise against HID headlight systems purely on the basis that your truck’s wires, circuit board, and light control module are not designed to handle the power draw of an HID system.


Q: “Is a single 5x7 or a pair of 4x6 bulbs brighter?”

A: A single 5x7 or a single 7” round, on average, will produce more light output than a pair of 4x6 bulbs. **Assuming we are comparing LED to LED, sealed beam to sealed beam, etc.


Q: “Is glass or plastic better for a lens on a bulb?”

A: While both are rated to withstand the punishment of the road, I would give the edge to glass because plastic becomes distorted or yellowed after a period of time.


We carry sealed beam, Sirius, and LED headlight direct assembly replacements for a variety of trucks on the road today. Visit our website www.slclighting.com or you can give us a call at 800-938-0120 to see what we have to offer.


Next month, we will discuss some issues with halogen bulbs and what precautions to take.

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