If you’re a bit of a deer in headlights when asked about the bulbs that guide drivers along dark country roads, keep reading. In your career, you will encounter different choices by manufacturers and car owners with regards to what they’ve put on the front of their vehicles. From common alignment issues to differing technologies and energy efficiency, the more you know, the better you can serve your clients and ensure that they trust you as an authority they can come to with questions.
Read on for some quick facts about headlights that you can keep in mind, during your studies and beyond.
Interesting Facts on Headlight Alignment for Grads of Auto Technician Courses
Frequent bulb replacements or simply the passage of time can cause headlights to become misaligned. Over time, drivers might notice that they can’t fully see the road at night. This is a sign that they need to pay a visit to their favourite mechanic for headlight alignment.
Some headlights will have bubble levels in the housing of the lights to help you align them, which is a nice bonus. However, if this isn’t a feature, your mechanic skills can help you figure it out. Graduates of auto technician courses will be interested to know that headlights are aligned differently for cars driven in Canada versus England. Countries where driving is on the left have lights aiming with a left/down bias, while in Canada the bias is to the right and down, properly illuminating signs and the road without blinding oncoming drivers.
Halogen Bulbs and LEDs: What’s the Difference?
Halogen bulbs are extremely common in headlights. They contain a tungsten filament and halogen gas. The gas re-deposits the tungsten once it evaporates, for long-lasting bulbs. The luminous efficiency—or the light ratio of light emitted to electrical power used—of halogen bulbs is 2%-4%. LEDs are more costly, so drivers and manufacturers may still opt for halogens.
LEDs, on the other hand, are much more energy efficient. Recently, more drivers have begun to search for an alternative to standard halogen bulbs with a longer lifespan and less of an environmental footprint. For drivers who love custom rides, the small size of LEDs allows for headlights to feature almost any pattern at all.
Improvements in Tech You Might one day See After Auto Technician Courses
Adaptive headlights running on electrical systems aim headlights in the direction the steering wheel is turned. This driver assistance technology increases visibility when driving at night over hills or around bends, as the lights will point in the direction of the curves. When you become a mechanic, it’s one of the many different developments that you might come across.
You might also hear a thing or two about Xenon HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlights. Xenon HID headlights are another form of bulb, that pass Xenon gas over an electrical charge. These are usually brighter than halogens and LEDs, but bring with them fragility and the need to be replaced more often than other types. Clients may choose HIDs as a more energy-efficient alternative to halogens that is still cheaper than LEDs.
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