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1,316 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Bill, Mods, etc...

I find myself reading a lot of misinformation out there about HID lighting, light kits, retrofits, kits, etc.....

With the increasing popularity in HID lighting I feel that a lighting sub-forum might be warranted (This could be expanded to include tail lights, fog lights, trouble shooting, etc...).
At the very least a HID sticky under the appropriate section would be helpful.

I would be happy to assist in the creation of either.
Below I cut/pasted a response in another thread, links to other sites with good info. Feel free to modify as needed, as I am not always politically correct.

Kurdain said:
Anything over 4300K is wasting light output, thus wasting your money for putting HID lighting on your car in the first place.

You need to spend your money on a designed system, conversion kits, high color lights, cheap reflectors all produce glare. This is wasted light energy, blinds oncoming drivers and is illegal.

Quality HID's cost money because they are worth it.
Think beyond the cheap ebay price tag, think in terms of performance, longevity, quality. A quality HID is no more expensive than a quality halogen system over the total life of the light.

People need to read up on HID lighting:

Subaru site but lots of REALLY good info.

Moderators, we need a HID sticky, feel free to use the info here and links within as content. I will add more as I get time.
I also know of a post with references to actual DOT safety laws, I'll try and locate it.

I hope this helps and if I can help further let me know, there is just so much bad info out there. I would be happy to rewrite as needed.

1,316 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I borrowed content, links and sources from all over the web.
I can post references if necessary, a lot borrowed from Subaru forum.

HID FAQ and answers:

1. Does higher K (color) mean it?s brighter?

The Kelvin scale is a measure of color temperature i.e. color of the light, not intensity or amount of light. HID setups that produce maximum light output are around 4100-4300K color temperature , and the higher you go, the less light output. A 10000-12000K HID kit will most likely be dimmer than your stock halogen lights. OEM HID's are 4100-4300K kits and will have the color of all the HID lights you see on cars that come equipped with them (like most BMWs, Mercedes-Benz', and other high end/luxury vehicles). The color is very white, while light output becomes progressively bluer as color temperature rises; 6000K is white/blue, 8000K is very blue, and above that you go towards purple. Also the higher the color range of the light the more it bleeds or glares. Amplify this effect by installing high color bulbs into NON-HID housings and the glare can become very bad.

Good read with pictures on color, glare and beam patterns:
What is color temperature:
More on that:
General HID info (scroll to bottom for stuff on brightness):

2. What HID kit should I buy, what is the difference in quality?

Aftermarket HID?s are sold by a large number of companies, although less so recently because of changing DOT/NHTSA regulations. However, to ensure the highest quality, make sure you buy HID that is made by an OEM HID manufacturer. OEM HID kits are the same products fitted to many vehicles (usually luxury) by manufacturers before they are sold as new vehicles. See this link: Notice that almost all ballasts and bulbs used by car manufacturers are Bosch, Osram, Philips, or Hella. Bosch and Osram are not as readily available for retail, but Philips and Hella are. Kits that are not made by these companies are most likely not of the highest quality, although some aftermarket manufacturers such as Brightstar and McCullogh have been recognized as high quality products as well. Philips/Hella kits are generally considered the best.

3. Can I put HID into my stock halogen reflector lighting assembly?

Yes. But it is strongly recommended that you do not. Although it may not seem so, directing the light produced by a headlight bulb to the right places requires a good deal of precision. When you place a HID bulb into an NON-HID housing; the reflector assembly can not properly focus the beam pattern. Replacing those bulbs with HID bulbs that produce 2.5 to 3 times the light yields a terrible and glaring beam pattern. You will have light going all over the place, most importantly into the eyes of drivers of oncoming vehicles. Even if you can tolerate such a beam pattern, your lights would be a safety hazard on the road. Many people try to solve this problem by lowering their lights. However, to reduce glare to acceptable levels, you would have to lower HID lights in halogen reflectors so much that you would not have much of a useable light increase over your stock setup, thus defeating the purpose of upgrading to HID's in the first place. The effect is even worse the higher up the color range you go.

The thread is closed but if the moderators could quote or reference post #13 of: (needs updating)

The next best approach to getting HID's into our cars is by using an existing OEM quality manufacturer. However since our cars never came with HID's as OEM we must rely on the few manufacturers out there producing DOT approved kits and lamp suppliers. (I only know of Revision 6 and Hella please add others)
In the end it doesn't really matter what route you take as long as the HID?s you are using are indeed a designed and DOT approved system.


There are other DIY kits on the board as well.

5. Cost vs. Performance
Your quality OEM grade HID's are going to run you a pretty penny, it is not uncommon to pay $1000 for a pair of lights, more if you need to custom mount them or want more than 1 set. However few can argue the resulting performance benefit in a quality set of HID's. For roughly 10x the cost of a halogen bulb you will get 2.5x the light output, less power draw (35w vs. 55w) and superior longevity, roughly 7x-8x longer life over a halogen bulb and 5x+ longer life over most cheap HID units. If you take cost of ownership over the life of the unit, then quality HID's end up being only slightly more, however the large upfront costs can seem intimidating.

6. Conclusion
As you can probably see that combining an improperly designed system with a high color temperature is a recipe for glare, poor performance and unsafe conditions. What color do most 'conversion' kits push or advertise? 6000K+ usually, hopefully you can draw your own conclusions from here.

I hope this helps.

2 special
2,490 Posts
HID's in stock housings are fine, as long as the HID bulbs included block off plates, which will cut the beam from the top half of the assembly.
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