HID Headlight Ballasts

HID headlight ballasts control the high-voltage current used by high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs.

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What Sets Us Apart: OE-Exact Match

The Problem: Despite their superiority to halogen headlights, HID Headlights can still fail, typically from overheating, moisture intrusion, damage from a frontal collision, or burning out from repeated duty cycles. If one of those scenarios occurs, it can cause the system to become inoperative, creating reduced visibility and safety concerns for drivers and motorists.

Our Response: To help restore proper lighting function to HID light systems, we created OE-Exact Match HID Headlight Ballasts. That means they are direct-replacement parts that match the fit, form, and function of the originals. Plus, as DOT-certified parts, our HID Headlight Ballasts comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. 


Don't Get Burned by HID Lighting

by Ryan Kooiman

Remember when a customer could stop by a shop and a technician could “quick a minute” install a new headlight?  Those days are distant memories for many technicians. With new body designs and technologies such as High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting, a “simple burned out bulb” may now require significant diagnosis and removal of the front bumper cover to gain access—all of which could lead to a hefty repair bill.

I recently heard a story that underscores why you shouldn’t underestimate the complexity of HID bulbs. Here’s the short of it: a salesperson from a used car department brought a newly purchased Ford Flex with a burned out headlight to one of the dealer technicians. The salesperson thought the vehicle needed a quick bulb replacement. Instead, it required a complete replacement of the headlight assembly (it was cracked and waterlogged), a new HID ballast, and a new HID bulb!

Unlike older halogen headlights, which use a filament to produce light, HID bulbs use electricity arcing between two electrodes to produce light. As a result, the HID system requires more than the 12 volts typically required for a vehicle to run. To provide the higher voltage needed to produce the brighter light, the system needs a ballast to a) start the light when it’s first turned on and b) adjust it to a lower voltage (80-90) to maintain the illumination.  Due to the high voltage and extreme temperature of the bulbs, it’s important to use extreme caution when working with or testing them.

Given the potential complexity of modern HID repairs, it’s as important as ever to diagnose the jobs properly, quote all the required parts, and install quality parts that will perform as well as or better than the originals.

Kooiman 3 Ryan Kooiman is the Director of Training at Standard Motor Products. In addition to leading SMP's award-winning PTS training program, he is the face of SMP's 'Installation Spotlight' videos on YouTube. He has ASE Master L1, L2, and L3 Certifications, and has had articles published in over 30 periodicals.

6 Tips to Remember When Repairing HID Lighting Systems

To help you with your HID lighting system repairs, we asked the ASE-certified technicians from our award-winning training department for some tips on HID ighting system repairs. Here's what they recommend:

1. If the headlight assembly shows any sign of damage (water or dirt intrusion), make sure the entire assembly is replaced prior to replacing the ballast.

2. When servicing an HID system, make sure the Headlight Level Sensors are working properly. They are essential to proper performance of an HID lighting system.

3. If the vehicle has been in a collision or the ballast is burned out, ensure that proper voltages and grounds are present at the new ballast. Low voltage or a weak ground will damage the new unit.

4. Use caution not to touch the HID bulb. Due to the high operating temperature of the bulb, oil from your fingers can cause damage. If you’ve touched it, use rubbing alcohol to remove the oil from the bulb

5. In many cases, if the bulb is burned out, the ballast may be damaged, too.

6. Proper input and output testing should be performed prior to quoting the job to the customer.