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How Long Do LED Headlights Last?

One of the main reasons many people are moving to LED headlights, or at least considering it, is the light’s lifespan.

Changing a headlight is not something you need to do too often anyway – it’s not like you’re opening up your housing every few months to swap out a bulb.

So is the lifespan of an LED headlight really worth paying for an upgrade, especially when you sometimes have to make changes to the housing for them to be installed?

LED headlights will last around 30,000 to 50,000 hours, depending on the chosen cooling method, quality, and maintenance. This is up to 20 times longer than HID and Xenon headlights and 100 times longer than halogen headlights.

To make the comparison clear, let’s take a look at the following:

  • The standard lifespan of halogen headlights
  • The lifespan of HID and Xenon headlights
  • How long LED headlights last in comparison
  • Why LED headlights last so much longer

How Long Do LED Headlights Last?

close image of headlight

So, how do LED headlights compare?

Even with mid-to-heavy usage, an HID headlight could last up to 8 years. Do LEDs offer such a benefit to make them worthy of an upgrade?

LED headlights will last for around 30,000 to 50,000 hours. This is easily the lifespan of the entire car.

If you were to only average an hour per day of headlight use, the bulbs would last between 80 and 130 years.

With more intensive use of 3 hours per day on average, that’s still around 27 to 43 years.

The upgrade might not be worthwhile if you already have HID headlights. Still, upgrading from halogen to LED definitely makes sense.

Also, LEDs have other benefits – a lower power draw and a brighter light. So the upgrade might still be beneficial.

Let’s compare those lifespans to see just how stark the comparison is.

Headlight Type Lowest Lifespan (hours) Lowest Lifespan (years – assuming 1 hr per day) Highest Expected Lifespan (hours) Highest Expected Lifespan (years)
Halogen 450 1.5 1,000 3
HID/Xenon 2,000 6 8,000 24
LED 30,000 80 50,000 130

If you’re still using halogen headlights in your car, it might be time to consider an upgrade – and LEDs will last the longest.

However, if your car is already old, you should stick with halogen and upgrade to LED when you’ve got a car that will last.

Why Do LED Headlights Last Significantly Longer Than Other Types?

Detail on the headlight of a white car

While the quality of an HID headlight is more important than the surrounding temperature, that doesn’t mean they don’t have some issues with heat.

Its heat is why LED headlights have much longer lifespans than other bulbs.

Both halogen and HID headlights get a lot hotter than LED lights. Heat will naturally degrade the headlight parts, causing them to wear out faster.

LED headlights still generate a lot of heat. That’s why they have either active or passive cooling tech to draw that heat away from the bulb, giving them a much longer lifespan.

So while LED light bulbs are considerably more expensive than other headlight types, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth buying.

Remember that for every LED headlight you buy, you would have to buy a lot more halogen or HID headlights in that lifetime.

And yes, while HID headlights may last for a long time in the world of driving – probably as long as many people own a car, they also come with drawbacks around warm-up time and the potential hazards of a broken bulb releasing gases.

What Is The Standard Lifespan Of Halogen Headlights?

halogen headlight fixture

A halogen headlight’s typical lifespan will be between 450 hours and 1,000 hours.

If you were to use your headlights for an average of one hour per day – assuming that you might use them longer during winter and less during summer – then this would give them an average lifespan of somewhere between 1.5 years and 3 years.

That’s a lot of variances, but it’ll depend on the bulb’s quality and how cool the temperatures are around the headlight housing bay.

Halogen headlights are built to withstand high temperatures – they have to be, based on how they work.

But that doesn’t mean they’re impervious; if the surrounding air is a little cooler than the light bulb, it will still last longer.

If you’ve bought a cheaper bulb, it’s more likely to burn out quicker than if you buy one from a reputable manufacturer with quality checks.

Lifespan Of HID And Xenon Headlights

Headlight from Q7 Audi car

HID headlights are a different type of headlight. Instead of using a filament, these create light by passing a current through a gas – similar to how neon lights work.

Xenon lights are a sub-category of HID light, where the gas used is xenon – these are the most commonly used.

HID lights use more power than halogen lights when they are first switched on – they need a burst of energy to get the light going.

But then maintaining that light uses a lot less power.

As for the lifespan, it’s significantly better than halogen lights, with a typical lifespan of at least 2,000 hours but sometimes as many as 8,000 hours.

The lifespan of HID headlights tends to rely less on temperature and more on the quality of the light – those manufactured to higher standards will last much longer.

Again, assuming a 1-hour per day average across a year, your headlights will last between 6 and 24 years.

And if you do a lot of early mornings or late-night driving and average 3 hours per day across the year, the lights will still last anywhere from 2 to 8 years.

Final Words

Consider LED headlights to be an investment.

You might need to pay more upfront, but you’ll pay a lot less in the long term since the bulbs will easily last as long as any car.

Plus, when the car breaks down beyond repair, you can remove the bulbs and install them in your next vehicle, provided they fit.

LED lights are considered the future in the home and in automobiles, and their lifespan certainly gives them value.

They offer a wealth of benefits when coupled with their reliable performance, instant switch-on times, and low power draws.

Do you have LED headlights in your car, or are you considering making the change the next time your bulbs burn out?

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