Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

What are the bluish headlights occasionally seen on non HID vehicles?

These are not Sylvania Cool Blue™ headlights which still appear white.
These were quite blue-white.
Thank you.

They’re people who want to look like they have HID lights, but don’t. So they buy bluish bulbs or apply a bluish film to the outer cover. These aren’t legal generally, but if you’ve spent money making your Civic look cool with super skinny tires that extend beyond the fenders you probably don’t care. You’ll find these bluish bulbs plenty of places online that sell similarly iffy products.

What makes me laugh is that the bluish headlights just scream fake. Current HID lights are a very pure white, witbout the pronounced blue-violet tint of early ones.

They are aftermarket bulbs that perform two purposes.

  1. they extract extra dollars from a consumers wallet.
  2. they give said consumer a false sense of superiority stemming from a need to compensate.

I can’t add to what’s been said except to say that some guy running around here with a Chevy pickup used to run those blue bulbs until he changed his ways.

Now the headlights on his pickup are bright pink. How in the world he gets away with that legally is baffling to me.

The Sylvania “Silverstar” replacement bulbs look kind of like this. They do look a little brighter, are legal, and help with vision a little, but don’t hold a candle to genuine HID lamps and tend to have a short life compared to standard halogen lamps.

I Looked at those 4x the price and 1/4 x the life, ps when in gods great wisdom did a new garbage can cost 30 bucks? Wanted 2 bought none

I “drove” to Menards in my “car” and bought one on “wheels” for about $10 with the lid. Its the type used by garbage “trucks” for pick up with the automatic arm. Never used it though so if you want to swing by Minnesota in your “car”, you can have it.

It’s true that the Silverstar lamps are very expensive and do sacrifice life for light, but I used to commute 31 miles home every night and I have to say that they really do help. When my cataracts got bad, I even added “driving lights” that I modified with Silverstar lamps. They really do make a difference.

I have to say that they really do help
Agreed. As a voldumbteer, I do urgent bloodeliveries to hospitals often in the middle of nights and the Silverstar Ultra™ lamps do help.

Wondering if blue-ish lights would show-up deer, elk and moose even better?
Or witheir coat coloring, would OK’s mentioned pinkish lights do better at revealing them?

In places where wide-open view is blocked by trees and/or terrain, I must slow in case an animal runs out onto the road.
Came upon a half-dozen deer in the middle of the road. My horn honking made them look up but did not scare them off. I need a mountain lion growl.

The lights tinted blue would not, the real “bluish” lamps, the High Intensity Discharge lamps, would, but at a cost. They’re extremely expensive to install and to replace. I’ve also heard that they’re illegal in some states because they can temporarily blind oncoming drivers, but I haven’t taken the time to confirm their illegality.

My own feeling is that if I’m overdriving both my Silverstar Plus and my driving lights, I’m probably driving too fast anyway.

^ Thank you. I would not $pend the money on HIDs.
I have encountered many. They do not blind unless the driver accidentally leaves them on high beam.

Would be nice to have night vision goggles to reveal animals along highways.
So far I’ve seen rabbits - hit one which ran across right in front of me, fox, coyotes, skunks, horses and cattle (reported to State Patrol), deer, mountain goats, elk, Rocky Mountain big horn sheep, 1 bear and 1 moose.

The Rocky Mountain big horn sheep seem to know to stay off the roadways. Have never seen a dead one.

I was stupid awhile back and bought into the “HID effect” blue headlights. I can tell you, no matter how bright you get those lights, the light gets scattered VERY easily. I could probably light the road better with just my parking lights than those blue headlights.

My current cars has real HID lights, and while some light appears to get scattered(compared to halogens), it’s nowhere near how the fake lights were.

the light gets scattered VERY easily
Is that because much light is coming from the blue glass (quartz) envelope rather than straight from the filament through a clear envelope? The headlight reflector is designed from the filament's precise location and not a 1-inch blue light source.

I have SilverStar zXe’s on my Mustang, They are “whiter” than the Silverstar Ultras, but don’t have blueish tint that I can tell. I have seen the blueish non-hid ones before though, I’m not sure if they are DOT-approved or not, I would guess not.

Light from a heated tungsten filament is a very specific frequency curve. The lenses that “tint” the color blue actually filter out some of the higher frequencies in that visual spectrum leaving the resultant light with a “blue tint”, being relatively heavier in the low frequency end of the spectrum. However, filtering out some of the light does not increase the light output in any other area of the spectrum, however, so there’s actually less total light coming out.

HID lights actually produce a different spectral curve. At the edges, where the light is refracting a greater amount, the edge of the lens can actually act like a prism, separating out the lower frequencies from the overall spectrum and creating that “blue edge”. Different frequencies refract different amounts, which is the principle behind a prism.

I should add, Robert, that in response to your earlier post about not seeing any glare, it might be that in your Suburban you’re high enough not to see it. Headlight beams are designed, by law, to aim in more of a downward manner rather than straight ahead. My seat is low, and I’ve noticed it, however it never really bothered me. I just look away.

I tried to link some spectral curves of various light sources to illustrate. I hope the linking worked. If it did, you can see how much richer in the low (blue) frequencies the HID lamps are. You can also see why those low energy streetlamps look so pink.

Thank you.
Lower wavelength (shorter wavelength) = higher frequencies which are the blue side of the spectrum.
Would like to see the HID compared to the others.
That tungsten exponential graph looks completely incorrect.

Correction: “shorter” wavelength = higher frequency.
“Longer” wavelength = lower frequency.

“Wavelength” is a description of the time it takes the wave to compete an entire cycle. The term “lower wavelength” is incorrect terminology.

It’s complicated.

The first link is an HID spectrum.
The second link includes (first chart) an incandescent lamp.
You can see that the incandescent output is far more rich in the red end of the spectrum than the HID, and the HID is richer in the blue light.

The incandescent curve may look odd, but it isn’t. It also isn’t an “exponential” curve. An exponential curve builds on itself at a continuous order of magnitude. The “exponent” is a constant. An exponential curve doesn’t taper off at the top like the incandescent curve does. I’ve attached an exponential curve to illustrate.

I assumed exponential graph. I expected some peaks to be far higher than indicated on a linear graph.