Blue tinted headlights (NOT real xenon/HID)

I’ve lately noticed a lot of cars with blue tinted headlights. I am absolutely not talking about xenon/HID headlights, which can have a bit of a bluish hue to some peoples’ eyes. I have two cars with xenon headlights and I’m very familiar with them. What I’m talking about are cars that appear to either have a blue tinted lens on a regular headlight, or maybe a blue tinted bulb.

Are these legal in most states in the US? Is there some benefit to it, or are people just trying to mimic xenon headlights without actually paying for them? Xenon headlights are much more effective (from the driver’s perspective) than halogen headlights. That’s why they’re worth having, and I wouldn’t ever want to have a car without them now that I’ve had them. But it seems like tinting regular headlights blue would actually make them less effective since you’d be cutting the amount of light output.

What’s the deal?

You are correct. Blue halogens are less effective than white halogens, but are sold to folks who think they will be able to see better with them without paying for xenons.

Here is a site that explains the differences. It is a xenon site, but it conforms with other information that I have seen in other venues.

A more extensive description is found at this site from Lincoln Motors:

Having recently bought headlight bulbs, I did notice bulbs that clearly had blue-tinted glass. They appeared to otherwise be normal halogen bulbs, aside from coming in bulky packaging with plastic chrome details. And costing about 5x normal bulbs.

Are you sure you are not looking at aftermarket HID lights? The aftermarket kits are very inexpensive now and come in colors ranging from pure white to blue to purple :rolleyes: These are real HIDs with a ballast. Even with the HIDs you loose a lot of light output with the blue/ purple.

I have actually seen kits much cheaper than this site has them but they have a color chart near the top of the page -

There are also halogen bulbs that attempt to mimic the look of HIDs but usually look way to blue and of course you loose a ton of light output with them. I am not sure on the legality of them.

I’m pretty sure they’re not aftermarket HID, but if they are, they’re really terrible. Not only are they far more blue than the HID headlights I’m familiar with, but also much less bright.

In an article I read about aftermarket xenon, the article said that you could not just replace the light. A xenon bulb could melt the plastic light cover of normal headlights. You needed a pretty serious kit to swap out to xenons.

I think they are just xeonon-cool-wannabes. The same overgrown kids who turn a civic into a tricked out car…

yep. that, and glare issues since the reflector is designed for use with halogen capsules.

there’s a reason most if not all factory HID headlights are projectors…

Yes, they’re generally illegal, which is why you often see the “for off-road use only” disclaimers on the packaging. A good reference (though not updated recently) is Daniel Stern Lighting. One particular excerpt from that site:

You cannot just replace the bulb but I wouldn’t call it a pretty serious kit. You need to change the bulb, mount a ballast and run a power wire. HID kits are available for well under $100 and installation is probably slightly more complicated than swapping a stereo head unit. I have never heard of issues with headlight housings melting but glare can be a problem depending on the reflector design.

I have had aftermarket HID lights in my fogs for over four years without any problems. They match my factory HIDs nicely and the extra visibility is nice. I tried the bulbs that where one step more blue when I first got them and not only did I not like the way they looked but they had much less light output. I am not surprised that the really blue ones do a horrible job of lighting the road.

You are a terrible driver and you don’t understand how lights work. Please stop fucking with your car.


In 4 years I have NEVER had another driver flash their lights at me because of my fogs. I have stood in front of my car looking at it and driven up to it in other cars and not been blinded. The extra light is helpful especially on dark back roads.

Throatwarbler Mangrove, there is no need for personal remarks like this in GQ. No warning issued, but don’t do this again.

General Questions Moderator

Driving with fog lights on dark back roads is exceedingly rude and borderline dangerous. That’s where the other drivers have had a chance to acclimate to darker conditions than in town, and the light thrown by your fog lights is often even worse than that from the high beams. Many times, I’ve flashed my high beams at people driving with fog lights, and they just flash their high beams back at me, completely oblivious about what they’re doing.

I don’t consider everyone driving with fog lights in clear conditions to be intentionally obnoxious and rude. Many, like you, are simply unaware of what you’re doing to the people around them. PLEASE take a moment to think about what these bright lights are doing to people that may have a touch of astigmatism or drivers that haven’t seen another set of oncoming headlines for a mile or two.

Fog lights are for … well … fog.

Maybe I am understanding this wrong, but every car I’ve had with fog lamps has had them mounted very low and throwing a pattern that is generally under the regular driving beam. Why would this be a problem on back roads? The oncoming driver should see your regular low beams before, and whether or not, the fog lights were on.

Missed the edit window or I would have just erased my question. Looking around the web I found this on Wikipedia:

This, I thought, backed up my beliefs, but then I found the following which supports Gary’s post:

Thank you for the polite suggestion. While I have approached my car with the fog lights on while sitting in another car and not been blinded I don’t think I have done it in complete darkness. As I already mentioned I have never had anyone flash their high beams at me while my fogs where on but I will attempt to approach my car in complete darkness just to verify they are not blinding in that situation. The type of back roads I drive down rarely have traffic coming the other way in any case but I will be sure to turn my fogs off for the occasional car.

I only skimmed the site linked above but they do not seem to be a fan of HIDs in any car, putting them in opposition to pretty much the entire auto industry.

I am, perhaps, oversensitive to it because of my astigmatism. It’s not bad enough to be a problem in everyday driving, but it makes bright oncoming lights a bigger issue for me than for others. I’ve heard similar complaints from people with poor night vision. Oncoming cars with fog lights on pretty much blind them to everything outside the range of their own lights, making them more likely to hit something like a deer that steps out in front of them.

In other words, your own opinion of the brightness of your lights will not necessarily align with that of other people.

Sorry to hijack briefly, but I try to emphasize this point whenever possible…

If you own a car with a REAR fog light, please, I beg you in the name of all that is holy, DON’T USE IT unless there are actual foggy conditions! If you have a friend who uses it improperly, slap them with a trout! If you need a trout, please wire me at Slaptrout, Boston and I will be happy to provide you with a suitable slapping trout.

“But, why not?”, you ask… Well first, it is one of the most douchey things in the known universe. Secondly, it is a safety hazard; it makes it more difficult to judge the state of the car’s brake lights, since the rear fog light is the same color and intensity as a active brake light. I had a near miss, almost rear-ending an Audi in traffic once because of this.

So please, please… just dont.

That’s one of the things that makes me hesitant to flash my lights at people.

A guy came at me from behind once with his high beams on. I flipped my lights on and off a couple of times, but he kept his high beams on. When he passed me, I flashed my high beams at him, and he turned on a VERY bright light on his back bumper that pretty much blinded me. I damned near crashed my car.

I consider some of my ignorance fought, and no name calling was necessary.