What Is The Lifespan of LED Headlight? Why Some Fall Short?


The LED headlight, with its unique advantages of high brightness, low power consumption, and long lifespan, has become a popular replacement for traditional headlights.


However, some drivers, after replacing their halogen bulbs with LED car lights, find that LED lights are not as impressive as claimed online, especially in terms of lifespan. Some drivers, after using LED car lights for a while, discover that they don’t seem to be as good as their original halogen bulbs.


So, what is the real lifespan of automotive LED lights, and why do some LED lights last for up to 10 years while others have to retire after just one year? This article will help you find the answers.


Telling The Truth: How Long Can LED Headlight Bulb Last?


It can be confirmed that the lifespan of LED car lights is longer than that of halogen and xenon lights. However, the exact lifespan of LED car lights does no t have a specific authoritative figure because it depends on the quality of the LED lights you purchase and the method of installation.


As a professional car light manufacturer, NAOEVO found that a high-quality LED light can have a lifespan of at least 5 years or more. (Of course, this depends on factors such as brand, heat dissipation, and frequency of utilization.)


Decisive Factors: What Affect The Lifespan Of Led Headlights?


The lifespan of LED headlights is influenced by several decisive factors. The quality of the LED bulb, the effectiveness of its cooling system, proper installation, and regular maintenance play crucial roles.


However, the decisive factors that affect the lifespan of LED headlight bulbs must be the heat dissipation.

There are two main heat dissipation methods of LED headlights on the market: passive heat dissipation and active heat dissipation.


1. Copper Braided Cooling Method

This cooling method uses copper braiding at the rear, known as copper braided cooling. The heat is rapidly conducted away through the copper strip. In terms of heat dissipation materials, copper has heat dissipation performance second only to gold and silver. When the braided strip is fully expanded, it can achieve optimal results.


Due to their small size and versatile designs, copper braid were initially more common in low-wattage and compact automotive LED products.


Pros: Small size, foldable at the tail, easy to install.


Cons: Copper is prone to oxidation at high temperatures, so the nickel plating on the surface of the copper strip significantly reduces its heat radiation capacity.


2. Aluminum Heat Dissipation

This is called integrated heat dissipation. The heat generated at the lamp body is conducted to the hollow-carved heat sink through heat conduction, and then the heat is taken away by airflow.


Some LED headlights, to improve heat dissipation efficiency, may apply nano-radiation coatings on the lamp body, significantly increasing the heat dissipation performance. In addition, there are fin-type heat dissipation and soft aluminum heat dissipation, but they are different structures of the same heat dissipation method.


Pros: No noise; no issue with the fan failure; keep for a consistent brightness; longer lifespan


Cons: In order to achieve a better cooling, the heat sink will be larger, thus leading to hard installation. Only suitable for low-wattage automotive headlamps.


3. Fan Cooling


Active heat dissipation essentially accelerates air convection—yes, that is fan cooling!! This method involves adding a high-speed fan to bottom of LED headlights. When the LED bulb is activated, the fan starts working simultaneously, dissipating the heat from the aluminum base into the air through air convection. 


This method is suitable for high-wattage products. The efficiency of heat dissipation has a significant impact on automotive LED headlights. Different heat dissipation methods affect efficiency, and fan cooling is currently the mainstream method applied to LED headlights.


Pros: The forced air from the fan helps in quick heat dissipation, fan cooling suitable for high-power LED headlights, the built-in fan makes the bulb a compact design, allowing for installation in limited spaces.


Cons: Fan can produce noise during operation, the fan can attract dust and debris.


Other Cooling Technologies of Auto LED Headlamp


1. Vapor Chamber

[The Layer of Vapor Chamber]


Vapor Chamber is a widely adopted heat dissipation technology in most smartphones on the market, and it is gradually becoming one of the choices for LED headlight bulb cooling.


Compared with conventional heat pipes, the heat transfer mode of the vapor chamber is two-dimensional, which not only provides a higher heat transfer coefficient, but also rapidly and isothermally spreads the heat of the local heat spot.


The appearance of the vapor chamber largely compensates for the shortage of the heat pipe. It is a two-dimensional phase change heat transfer device with a flat type, which has higher heat transfer efficiency and installation adaptability than the conventional heat pipe.


2. Heat Pipe

[Copper Heat Pipe Technology]


A heat pipe, consisting of a working fluid, a wick structure, and an envelope, absorbs heat from its one end installed to the heat source when the working fluid evaporates as latent heat.


The working fluid that has moved to the low-temperature section condenses and returns to liquid while releasing heat. The working fluid that is now liquid then returns toward the heat source due to capillary action.


In combination with different heat sink designs and cooling options, heat pipes can provide 2 to 3 times higher heat capability and up to 50% lighter cooling module, as compared to die cast heat sinks.


Heat pipes due to their ultra-high thermal conductivity (~5000 W/m.K or higher) can drastically improve heat dissipation capability of heat sink (natural or fan cooled) and allow different heat sink design options (chassis/frame type, die cast type, stacked-thin-fin type).


Why Heat Dissipation Affect The Lifespan of LED Headlamps?

[LED headlamp decay curve chart]


The graph indicates the relationship between LED headlamps decay and its junction temperature, where the junction temperature, referring to the semiconductor PN junction, plays a crucial role.


A higher junction temperature leads to earlier light decay and a shorter lifespan. From the graph, it can be seen that at a junction temperature of 105 degrees, the lifespan with brightness reduced to 70% is only a little over 10,000 hours. At 95 degrees, it reaches 20,000 hours, and with a reduced junction temperature of 75 degrees, the lifespan extends to 50,000 hours. At 65 degrees, it can be further extended to 90,000 hours.


Therefore, the key to extending lifespan lies in reducing the junction temperature. That means an effective heat dissipation is necessary.


How Long Should HID And Halogen Headlight Last?

There are three common bulb types on the market today—halogen, HID, and LED bulbs. Now that we know the approximate lifespan of automotive LED headlamps, and then, how about the HID and Halogen?


Halogen Lamps

Halogen lamps currently dominate the market share among sold car models, with a majority of vehicles originally equipped with halogen lamps from the factory. Besides, out of all three types of bulb, halogens rank the worst in terms of longevity. 


Replacement Cycle Reference: The lifespan of halogen lamp is about 500 hours. It depends on individual usage, and it’s better to inspect and replace after one year or driving a total of 20,000 kilometers.


Replacement Explanation: Generally, the lifespan of OEM halogen car headlights is only 500 hours, which is less than 42 nights. Based on this data, we can conclude that if the car headlights are turned on 24 hours a day, they can only be used for 21 days. Of course, most people will not drive late at night for a long time.


For an average car owner who uses headlights for about 2.5 hours per day, the replacement cycle is around 200 days, approximately every six months. A friendly reminder: It’s not necessary to wait until the headlights go out; if the brightness is insufficient or decreases, it’s time to replace them.


HID Xenon Lamps


Moving on to HID bulbs, while they outlast halogen bulbs, they don’t match the remarkable lifespan provided by LED bulbs.


Replacement Cycle Reference: Xenon bulbs have a lifespan of approximately 3000 hours. Depending on individual usage, they should be inspected and replaced after 3 years or driving a total mileage of 50,000 kilometers.


Replacement Explanation: Xenon bulbs have an extended lifespan of up to 3000 hours. Assuming an average daily usage of 2.5 hours for car lights, the replacement cycle for the bulbs is around 1200 days, approximately 3 years. If there is indeed insufficient brightness, it is recommended to choose a high-quality headlight brand for an upgrade to avoid potential safety hazards due to inadequate lighting.


Choose The Most Durable LED Headlight Bulbs For Your Car!


If you are looking for a long-lasting automotive LED lights for your car while keeping an excellent high brightness. The following LED headlight bulbs are good examples.


Top 1 – NAOEVO P1 Series LED Headlight


The first must be the newest P1 LED headlight provided by NAOEVO. Featuring a high power of 140W and 16800LM, it is designed to deliver maximal brightness, instantly lighting up the night.


Thanks to its double copper heat pipe for heat dissipation, it can transfer about 30 watts of heat each time. With the combination of die-casting fins and a high-speed fan, it is able to keep the bulb within a safe junction temperature. A great product designed for a long lifespan and high brightness.


Top 2 – NAOEVO NR LED Headlight

Here is the mini design NR series LED headlight. They come with 6 pcs large flip chips to deliver a superior brightness of 110W and 13200LM per set. High brightness doesn’t mean glare light; the NR LED bulb, with the latest optical technology, delivers a safe light beam with a clear cutoff line and a broad, uniform light beam pattern.


NR LED bulbs are designed to serve your car for a long time. They come with a large copper pipe inside the bulb to transfer heat faster, and, with the help of 6063 aluminum fins and a high-speed fan, they achieve effective cooling. The built-in thermistor also protects the bulb from overheating, ensuring a less than 1% defective rate.


Top 3 – NAOEVO V05 LED Headlight

One of the biggest selling points of the V05 LED headlight bulb must be its all-in-one design. Many LED headlight bulbs encounter difficulty during installation. That’s because they have a bulky heat sink or are not compatible with the vehicle system. NAOEVO V05 LED headlights have an all-in-one design for plug-and-play use, with no extra wiring or modifications required.


With an output of 100W and 12000LM, they illuminate the road with sufficient brightness without being too bright or too dim. The built-in copper tube and ultra-thin copper substrate help to conduct 20W of heat each time. Now, enjoy an upgraded driving experience with V05 LED headlights; you will experience a bulb that provides consistent brightness and a long lifespan.


Final Words


After reading the passage, you must have a deeper understanding of how long LED headlight bulbs can last. Some LED headlight bulbs can only run for a few months due to inferior heat dissipation. Therefore, it’s crucial to rely on a well-known brand such as NAOEVO to choose quality and long-lasting LED headlight bulbs for your car.

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