A week or so back, a colleague of mine at work sold off some bits and bobs off his previous Civic VTi, which included a pair of HID H4 headlight bulbs and HID H11 foglight bulbs. My training supervisor got hold of the set but after putting them into his own Civic VTi, he found that he didn’t like them all that much and passed the stuff on to me to see if I’d like it on Aska.The colleague who owned the parts were selling the bunch for just Php 500 or a little below $10, and I figured I’d like to give it a try. At that amount, there is very little in the way of loss in my opinion, and would give me something to do with Aska.
A couple of days back, I got the set and split it with another friend of mine who coincidentally needed the H11s for his Jazz (Fit). I got the headlight set and made a test fit the night I got the stuff. Earlier tonight though, I scraped some time to do the install job.
Before I get to the juicy parts, let’s talk about headlights for a moment.
HIDs or High Intensity Discharge (lights) are kind of car lighting system that uses gas to generate its light. Think of it as your CFL (compact flourescent light) that you use at home, but adapted for use in a car. The lights first came out with luxury and high end vehicles in the very early 2000’s and towards the middle of that decade, it became the rave among car enthusiasts due to it’s very bright and while light. Some are so bright that along the edge of the light, a band of blue often appears to the eyes hence some people calling HIDs as “blue lights”. While it’s a good add on for a car, it’s not always a very good idea to simply swap it into those that use reflector headlights.
Reflector headlights use a polished surface inside the housing to reflect light from the bulb on to the road. This is used for a majority of vehicles on the road today, but they are steadily being replaced by projector headlights.
Reflectors are great, they work well enough and fairly cheap compared to projectors. However, most reflector headlights were designed to work with halogen bulbs and HIDs were originally meant (still are actually) for use in projector headlights. The problem is how the light is “thrown” into the road. In reflector headlights, there is a lot of light scattered around and are not exactly the most efficient in a sense. Also. reflectors work best with regular halogens with “normal” color temperatures (measures in K or Kelvin) of around 3600 up until around 4200 something. HIDs though normally produce white light, commonly around 6000K. This white light tends to get scattered much more easily, resulting in a light that appears bright at short distances but doesn’t have the “reach” of conventional halogen bulbs in the same reflector housings.
Enter the projector headlight – as the name implies, it projects the light onto the road much better than reflectors. This is due to the glass lens at the front that focuses the light and throws it further. One of the good things about it is that it doesn’t produce as much glare as a reflector headlight would. HIDs work very well in projector headlights and many cars come with it standard, although some lower spec models may use halogens instead of HID.
All A17x Lancers use the familiar reflector headlight with flutes on the glass, ostensibly to throw the light in a more predictable pattern on the road. It works great with halogens and works well in all weather conditions. Essentially all I’d be doing is change out the bulbs from halogens with the kit that I have now and hope for the best.
Now, I would be the first to admit this isn’t exactly a super smart idea and it’s best to stick to whatever OEM parts were used or if in case of headlight upgrades, going with 90 / 100W Halogens would prove to be better on the most part. But I thought that I’d go with this for now, mostly for kicks. If I am to stick to HIDs though, I am looking to get lower color temps, probably around 4200K or something to mimic the beam and throw of regular halogens.
See the problem with white light in general is the lack of depth (as my friend put it) – this simply means that yellowish light throws further and has better contrast in the dark than a comparable white light. Still, I leave it entirely up to you guys to decide and remember to check local laws and regulations about headlight modifications. In most US states, I will get a ticket for what I just did, or even if I stick in 90 / 100W bulbs. Here in Manila where the roads are mostly lawless, this is fine. But in the interest of a better motoring experience, do check local laws before putting in any mods.