DIY: HID Kits and How They Work
What are HID Kits?
HID kits are kits that contain everything you need to change the factory-standard headlights on your car or motorcycle from traditional halogen bulbs to xenon bulbs (also known as HID bulbs, which stands for High Intensity Discharge).
In most HID kits, you’ll find two bulbs, ballasts, starter, holders, connectors and all of the necessary wires to do the conversion. The instructions are typically such that savviest car owners can do the conversion themselves, but you can also ask your mechanic to do it for you.
How do they work?
HID kits work when the ballasts take the signal from the starter and then supply the necessary voltage needed to ignite the HID bulbs while simultaneously controlling the current to the bulb. When the bulb receives the power from the ballast, the xenon gas inside the bulb is energized, giving off a white/blue light.
As with most types of vehicle modification kits, the prices of HID kits can vary pretty greatly, depending on the brand, type and the quality. What usually determines the cost is how high and low beams are achieved. For example, single HID headlight kits can cost less than $100, but these kits only supply low beam from a single HID bulb, as the name suggestions. If you are looking for high beam light, you will have to get an HID/halogen kit, which use HID light for low beam, and then halogen light for high beam. Those kits can cost a bit more, somewhere between $150 and $200. Bi-xenon kits are the most expensive, because the contain two HID bulbs and two ballasts per head lamp. The first bulb is used for high beam and the second is used for low beam. These kits are quite intricate and can cost well over $200.
When you go to choose your HID headlight kit, you might be surprised to find out exactly how many options there are. The important thing is to remember that they are not interchangeable. Before you go shopping, be sure you know your car’s model type and the HID bulb size you will need. Also, buy the best kit you can afford. The quality will be much better and you’ll get more longevity out of it. Whichever model you choose, always be sure that you are getting at minimum a one-year warranty on all of the parts of the kit. That way, you have some resource if things go wrong with the kit within the coverage time period.
An HID kit can be a great way to personalize your vehicle and to give it a more custom look. The trick is to know how to shop for your kit and how to install it. If you aren’t sure how to do it yourself, call your friendly local car guy. He’ll know what to do.