[Philkotse guide] 5 helpful headlight upgrades you can do at home

Updated Feb 01, 2020 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

This article will help you determine how you can make your headlights brighter and consider what makes the headlight work.

Upgrading the headlights of your vehicle can be for practical reasons, aesthetic, or both. If you decide to upgrade the old halogen headlights to high-intensity discharge (HID) or LED, it will effectively swap out yellow and dull beams into blue or colder white.

And if you do it the right way, it can also provide a brighter headlight that will effectively enhance your night vision without blinding other road users.

How to make your headlights brighter?

If you want brighter headlights, it's essential to ask if you're looking for cool-looking headlights, or you prefer headlights that will make your night drive safer.

Brighter headlights, especially those blue or cold white headlight, looks exceptionally nice during the night. But take note that brightness is just a part of the equation. Additionally, all extra lights should be aimed directly at the road and not into the eyes of oncoming drivers.

Car with headlights on

Brighter headlights look exceptionally nice during the night

Lots of headlight upgrades are basic enough that you can do them on your own without much prior experience. However, some upgrades are more complicated.

Some are easier, and others are harder. It depends on the car you drive and the headlight type that it came from the manufacturer.

Philkotse.com prepared five of the best technique and upgrades to get brighter headlights.

1. Replace worn capsules or headlights with new ones

Over time, headlights grow dim. By merely changing and replacing old headlights and capsules, you will have brighter beams. Other headlights, such as long-lasting HID bulbs, can lose their intensity by as much as 70% by the time they finally burn out.

Car headlights

Changing and replacing old headlights and capsules will have brighter beams

2. Upgrade your current capsules to a brighter version

If you're looking for the easiest upgrade possible, you can opt for the direct-replacement bulb, which is brighter compared to the original capsules you have.

There are aftermarket capsules that can be over 80% brighter when compared to your vehicle’s headlights when they are still new. Remember that brighter headlights tend to last shorter.  

>>> Recommended article: Upgrading your car's headlights - Things you've never noticed

3. Clean and restore the headlight lenses

This step is a bit harder than replacing headlight capsules. But don’t worry! You can still do this at home. If you have a hazy or foggy headlight, more often, it is because of a buildup that can be removed.

Doing so will make your vehicle’s headlights look nicer and will increase its brightness. Buying a restoration kit is the easiest way to recondition your headlight.

Restoring car headlight

Buying a restoration kit is the easiest way to recondition your headlight

>>> Read more: Car lights and the importance of checking them regularly

4. Upgrade your headlights to an HID

HID headlights provide a significantly brighter beam compared to halogen factory headlights. It still utilizes capsules, however, you can't just remove the halogen then replace it with HID.

It will need to be retrofitted for HID headlights, which requires installing ballasts. It can also demand new projector headlight assemblies.

If you happen to find capsules marketed as xenon and was designed to fit in your car's existing headlight assemblies, most probably, these capsules are not real HID.

>>> Very useful article: HID Lights: Should you have them?

5. Upgrade your headlights to LED headlights

This type of headlight basically lasts longer and is much brighter compared to factory halogen bulbs. Another good thing about it is that direct replacement LED headlights capsules can fit in your car’s existing headlight housing.

But, take note that if you install LED capsules in reflectors casings, the results can be poor beam pattern. If your car has projector-style headlights, you can opt for a drop-in LED capsules as it works better with it.

However, we suggest you do thorough research on your car’s specific make and model.

LED headlight

LED headlight basically lasts longer and is much brighter compared to factory halogen bulbs

>>> FYI:  A short guide to LED car headlights: Basic parts, types, price & more

Important things to consider when looking at what makes the headlights work

The headlight brightness and beam pattern are the two most crucial things to consider. Commonly the brightness of the headlight capsule or bulb is measured in lumens. It refers to how bright the capsules are.

On the other hand, the headlight beam pattern pertains to the swath of light created by the headlight in the darkness. It is as equally important as the headlight’s brightness.

Beam pattern is a product of the lens and reflector in a standard headlight assembly. But some headlights utilize projectors rather than reflectors.

headlight upgrades

Beam pattern is a product of the lens and reflector in a standard headlight assembly

>>> Worth your attention: Complete guide for car headlight maintenance

If the beam pattern of your vehicle is fuzzy and not sharp, or it lights the wrong part of the way, the brightness of the headlight bulb doesn’t matter. If you install brighter bulbs, it will only illuminate even more light to the wrong place.

Lots of headlight upgrades only focus on the bulb’s brightness. However, the beam pattern shouldn’t and can’t be ignored.

For example, a drop-in headlight bulb upgrade can lead to misaligned or fuzzy beam that does not light up enough of the road and can even blind oncoming drivers.

The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that if your vehicle has halogen headlight bulbs in a reflector headlight assembly, you should be looking for a brighter halogen capsule.

car headlights

Lots of headlight upgrades only focus on the bulb’s brightness

If you install HID capsules in that type of headlight assembly, you will have brighter headlights but an awful beam pattern.

A study performed by the IIHS looked at several headlight configurations in thirty-one cars. Only one out of eighty-two made the grade.

This only means that even if you have a relatively new car, and its headlights seem bright, doing a headlight upgrade can still make a big difference.

Additionally, by simply adjusting the headlights so that it is aimed in the right direction can greatly help you, especially during a night drive.

>>> Also read: Choosing the best headlight for your car: 5 common kinds for drivers


Simply adjusting the headlights so that it is aimed in the right direction can greatly help you

Headlights are essential components of all types of vehicles. It is the car part that enables us to see and be seen during the night.

It illuminates the road and allows us to see the obstacles and other road users in the dark. Keeping your headlights in good shape is a must. Upgrading it is another thing.

The key here is to have better brightness and beam patterns for a safer and clearer drive during the night.

Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez


Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.

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