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Xenon ABCs FAQ Comparative Analysis Vehicles

Xenon FAQ

Does Xenon produce more glare?

Why is Xenon blue?

Are All blue headlamps Xenon systems?

How is Xenon different from Xenon look-alike bulbs?

How do I know my vehicle is equipped with an Xenon system?

How do I know my Xenon System is legal?

Can I replace my halogen bulb with an Xenon bulb?

Can I upgrade my Halogen System to a Xenon system?

Aftermarket Xenon is there a difference between Aftermarket Xenon and OEM Xenon systems?

Will night drive visibility improve with these systems?

I am a good driver, why do I need these?

 


 

Does Xenon produce more glare?

Federal requirements, which limit the amount of  headlamp glare, are identical for Xenon & halogen headlamp systems. Click here for details on root causes of Glare.

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Why is Xenon blue?

Xenon is blue because of light energy distribution produced by gases inside of the bulb.  The radiation output of Xenon bulb has a line spectrum with some of the peaks in the visible blue region.

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Are All blue headlamps Xenon systems?

There are blue coated (halogen) bulbs available which try to mimic Xenon color/appearance Click here to read the difference between Xenon and blue coated bulbs.

The blue color of Xenon is not due to a bulb coating.  The bluish color is a result of the high voltage arc and discharge of internal gases.

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How is Xenon different from Xenon look-alike bulbs?

It is somewhat difficult for an on-coming driver to determine if a vehicle is equipped with an Xenon system or halogen bulbs that are designed to mimic the appearance of Xenon. This is due to the fact that current versions of Xenon look-alike halogen bulbs closely parallel the color temperature of Xenon systems. However, a vehicle equipped with an Xenon system can usually be differentiated from an Xenon look-alike halogen system by the significant increase in foreground and side lighting resulting in better roadway illumination for the driver.

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How do I know my vehicle is equipped with an Xenon system?

Xenon headlamps are easily recognizable because of their brilliant bluish white appearance versus a more yellowish appearance of standard halogen systems.

Headlights equipped with Xenon put more light on the road than  standard halogen systems.

Xenon systems "flash" blue and change color during the first few seconds of startup.

The outer lens of a headlamp is required to be marked with the light source used. If your car is equipped with an Xenon system, the markings D1S, D1R, D2S or D2R (depending on type of lamp design), should be displayed on the lens.

The letters "DOT" should also appear on the lens to indicate compliance to the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.

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How do I know my Xenon System is legal?

The outer lens of a headlamp is required to be marked with the light source used. If your car is equipped with an Xenon system, the markings D1S, D1R, D2S or D2R (depending on type of lamp design), should be displayed on the lens.

The letters "DOT" should also appear on the lens to indicate compliance to the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.

If the product is labeled with the disclaimer "for off-road use only", it is not legal for highway use.

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Can I replace my halogen bulb with an Xenon bulb?

A full Xenon lighting system consists of the following components:

  • Xenon Light source
  • Ballast
  • Igniter
  • Reflector
  • Lens

All of these components are designed together to work as a system and meet Federal regulations. Simply substituting a Xenon bulb for any other light source does not provide a legal headlamp beam pattern.

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Can I upgrade my Halogen System to a Xenon system?

Certain vehicles are designed with an optional Xenon system. Click here to see the vehicles equipped with an OEM Xenon system. There are some aftermarket Xenon lighting systems made by reputable lighting companies that meet all legal requirements required by Federal regulations.  These lighting companies are often the suppliers to the OEM vehicle manufacturers as well.

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Aftermarket Xenon is there a difference between Aftermarket Xenon and OEM Xenon systems?

YES. First of all, most Xenon lighting systems are purchased as part of the vehicle's original equipment(OE). OE lamps are carefully specified, designed and tested as part of a full Xenon Lighting System. Generally speaking, an OEM lamp has gone through the most rigorous validation and durability testing.

A full Xenon lighting system consists of the following components:

  • Xenon Light source
  • Ballast
  • Igniter
  • Reflector
  • Lens

All of these components are designed together to work as a system and meet Federal regulations. Simply substituting a Xenon bulb for any other light source does not provide a legal headlamp beam pattern.

There are some aftermarket Xenon lighting systems made by reputable lighting companies that meet all legal requirements required by Federal regulations. These lighting companies are often the suppliers to the OEM vehicle manufacturers as well.

However, there are many headlamps available on the aftermarket which do not meet federal requirements and are still available. In summary, before purchasing an Xenon aftermarket lighting system, it is imperative to understand the type of system being considered for purchase.

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Will night drive visibility improve with these systems?

Night drive visibility will be significantly improved through use of Xenon lamps because of the Color Temperature (quality of light) produced, which is close to daytime light and the increased amount of light {The color temperature of light refers to the temperature to which one would have to heat a "black body" source to produce light of similar spectral characteristics. Low color temperature implies warmer (more yellow/red) light while high color temperature implies a colder (more blue) light. The color-temperature of a sunny daylight around noon is 5500 K. The Color-Temperature of the Xenon lamps is 5000-4500 K.  The color-temperature of a Halogen lamp is for example just over 3000 K (which is responsible for its yellowish color).

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I am a good driver, why do I need these?

At night the visibility is significantly reduced.  Even the best drivers can only react to what they see.  Xenon lights give the opportunity to increase the field of vision, both down the road and to the sides of the road and thus create a much improved driving environment.

Driving with Xenon systems at night has been proven to be less fatiguing compared to Halogen systems. [Click here for UMTRI SAE Paper]

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