When you are looking at options for upgrading or replacing the headlight bulbs in your car or truck sometimes they will ask you if you have “OEM HID Headlights“. If you don’t know what that means, then keep reading! If you DO know what that means… you still might learn something!
OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer. This describes a manufacturing company that makes the parts for the bigger car manufacturers. If a vehicle was built by Chevrolet and came with HID headlights right off the assembly line, then this is an OEM component.
Similarly, you could use these words to describe the same thing:
- Factory HID Headlights
- Original HID Headlights
- Stock HID Headlights
They all mean the same thing: When your vehicle was new, this is the way it was built and outfitted by the original vehicle manufacturer.
Here’s one example:
These 350z cars are the same car, but one has HID headlights from the factory (i.e. OEM HIDs) and the other uses a halogen bulb from the factory (i.e. OEM Halogen):
On the left blue 350z you can see the OEM HID headlight. On the right white 350z you can see the OEM halogen headlight. Same car but with two different headlight bulb style options from the factory.
On the left you can see a typical style of OEM HID bulb (D1S) and on the right you can see a typical style of OEM Halogen bulb (9005).
How do you know if you have “OEM HID” Headlights?
There are 3 main ways to identify if your vehicle comes from the factory with HID / Xenon headlights already:
#1: Have the dealer check the VIN:
-The dealer can look up your vehicle and tell you what options are installed just by reading the VIN in their computer system.
#2: Watch the light output characteristics:
-Everybody knows what a regular halogen headlight bulb looks like, but an HID will turn on with a bright flash of light, get a little bit dimmer, start humming (audible high pitched noise) and then slowly get brighter. Also an HID will generally have a brighter whiter color of light to it. This should be pretty obvious if you shine the lights at a wall at night and pay attention. Even easier to identify this way if you compare it with an older vehicle that for sure DOES NOT use HID…
#3: Take the headlight bulbs out:
-This is the most foolproof method. Take the bulbs out! It will say right on them what type of bulb it is…
What is an HID Conversion Kit?
If your vehicle DOES NOT come with OEM HID headlights you can do a conversion from halogen to HID by using an HID Conversion Kit.
An HID Conversion Kit is a plug-and-play product that mimics the shape and size of your original halogen light bulbs, but in an HID system. The aftermarket (means not-original equipment) HID bulbs use something called a re-based HID bulb. This re-based bulb is a typical xenon/HID light bulb but has been manufactured to use the same mounting base as your original halogen light bulb making it easy to plug into your non-HID headlight housing:
On the left you can see the aftermarket HID bulb for an HID conversion Kit. On the right you can see the OEM halogen bulb that is being upgraded to HID.
This is what a typical HID conversion kit contents look like. The kit comes with 2 aftermarket HID ballasts, 2 aftermarket HID bulbs, and 2 plug-and-play wire harness adapters. Make sure you get a good quality HID kit like this one from GTR Lighting otherwise look forward to a lifetime of problems due to low-quality parts.