Can I upgrade my headlights from Halogen to Xenon?

We know from our customers and other people we speak to every day that upgrading headlights from a halogen system to a xenon system is a common idea. But how easy is it? Is it even possible?

The difference between Halogen and Xenon

Firstly, we need to know the technical difference. Halogen and Xenon are both gases, and so operate in a similar way. The main differences are that Xenon is more efficient (you need less to produce the same or more light as a Halogen bulb), and the light produced by a Xenon bulb is whiter and brighter than a traditional one.

The gas itself is a lot safer and more stable than Halogen.

Why you might want to upgrade

Xenon lights are brighter, it's unmistakable. You are able to see further and better in dark conditions, and your vehicle is more obvious to other road users - so safety is often improved.

The bulbs also last longer (potentially the life of the vehicle) so combined with the reduced energy needs of a Xenon bulb you could save more money in the long run.

Downsides to upgrading to Xenon headlights

The big elephant in the room with upgrading Halogen headlights to Xenon is the rather large expense and work required - and not every vehicle can be upgraded, either. With some upgrades, half the car might have to be removed in order to rewire and replace the headlight units.

This could mean a large bill at the garage, as well as purchasing the headlight assemblies themselves.

Alternatives to upgrading to Xenon headlights

If your goal is brighter vision on the road, you might want to try better quality bulbs first. For example, if you haven't already, try bulb pioneer Osram and see the difference a better quality bulb can make. If brightness is also your goal, try cleaning the outer plastic with toothpaste (yes, we're not lying!) and it should make them quite a bit clearer, letting more light out.

There is also the option of a Xenon-look headlight, if aesthetics are your main reason for considering an upgrade. These are aftermarket parts built by a third-party, but they replicate the Xenon headlight design whilst keeping the Halogen bulbs and lighting system. This would cost you a lot less at the garage than a full upgrade, but will look practically identical.