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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I perused/searched this forum and didn't find any posts that answer my question. I just got this 2011 Elantra Limited (about 29k on it) this past Thursday. I purchased it from a dealer.

I've never had headlights on any car I've owned that does what these do. When I first turn them on, they go very bright for just a fleeting instant...like a camera flash bulb. Then they're very dim. Then over a period of say, 10 seconds, they gradually get brighter...as if they must warm up to full intensity.

When I toggle the high beams on, their effectiveness is virtually nil for the first few seconds as well, then they too will get brighter and brighter.

I must say that visibility with these bulbs is astounding. Everything is much crisper and clearer. Reflective road signs can be seen for a great distance compared to what I'm used to when driving my 2005
pickup. The "tone" of the light seems to have a very vague, almost indiscernible bluish hue.

So...my QUESTIONS for any light bulb experts here:

Are these lamps OEM, or did the prior "one" owner of this car do a modification by installing some fancy bulbs?

Either way, what kind of bulbs are they? Are these the highly reputed Xenon bulbs?

If I remember correctly, the owner's manual says to use type H1 bulbs.
 

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They gotta be some sort of HID bulbs. The bulbs in the Elantra are regular halogen bulbs and don't have that affect you describe, especially the blue tint. That's definitely a sign of aftermarket HID bulbs since there are no stock HID headlights in Elantra. I wish there was.
 

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Sounds like HID to me. Have you looked under the hood to see if there are ballasts mounted anywhere?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sounds like HID to me. Have you looked under the hood to see if there are ballasts mounted anywhere?
Well, I saw the little Xenon add on here and it took me to their Youtube on installing their HID bulbs. That revealed to me their ballast installation. So, I just went out and looked.

Yup. Ballasts and lots more wiring. Also some other little modules going to the headlights. Four sizable red wires from under the driver's side lamp fixture up to the + battery post. All looks professionally done.
I think it's done for ALL three light systems up there - the low beam, high beam AND the fog lamps (which I've rarely used on any of my cars).

Geez! Now a simple light bulb going out isn't going to be so simple anymore. I guess I'll get familiar with these systems and also price replacement bulbs, ballasts and whatever else they might need if I loose a headlamp and gotta do some troubleshooting.

Thanks for the help!
 

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If its a good kit, than you'll be good for a pretty long time without any worries of anything going wrong.

But if its a cheap kit, than even those are a bit pricey to replace components. Lets hope the previous owner didn't cheap out on those.

When it comes to lighting the road, I try and stick to reputable and highly rated kits.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
If its a good kit, than you'll be good for a pretty long time without any worries of anything going wrong.

But if its a cheap kit, than even those are a bit pricey to replace components. Lets hope the previous owner didn't cheap out on those.

When it comes to lighting the road, I try and stick to reputable and highly rated kits.
Yes, I whole-heartedly agree with that. HID illumination is a newer technology which has flourished in recent years. Everyone says they're far superior to halogen. However, it's all brand new to me.

Anyhow, I only briefly scanned what markings I could find, but didn't find much on the internet. Some marking are in "Kanji" or the Korean equivalent, so may not even be a domestic product - which bothers me. I never found a name of a manufacture. I'll look more in-depth under the hood tomorrow. So right now...I don't know what brand I have.

After I got the hint that they may be HID lamps, I searched and DID find a great post regarding HID lights on another forum - thanks to Bing. A rather dated one from 2011, but informative:

5 things you need to know about HID lights
HID Lighting Facts: 5 Things You Need to Know

High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting is the technology where light is created from electrical current passing through metal vapor. In HID bulbs, a tube of glass is filled with gas and has two electrodes on either side. When an arc of electrical current is established between the electrodes, the metallic vapor releases energy in the form of light. HID lighting has several advantages over fluorescent or halogen lighting and is starting to be used more as a replacement for halogen lights as automobile headlights.

If you are thinking of converting to HID lighting, there are five things you need to know:

1) HID lighting has several advantages over halogen headlights

One advantage of HID lights is that HID lights are brighter and give better visibility to drivers than halogen lights. You as the driver will be able to see further and more clearly at night, also other drivers will be able to see better due to your lights.
HID light bulbs also last longer than halogen lights. Since HID lights do not have a filament in them that could burn out like halogen lights, HID light bulbs can last 2000-3000 hours vs 450-1000 hours for halogen light bulbs.
HID lighting requires less energy consumption than halogen lighting. HID lighting uses 35w vs 55w for halogen lighting. Most cars are set up with a 55w output, so if you are converting to HID lighting make sure to install the ballasts that come with your conversion kit so that the output will be reduced to 35w.

2) When converting to HID lighting or replacing HID light bulbs, you want to make sure to always get a matched pair of HID bulbs.
After about 100-500 hours of use, HID light bulbs undergo what is called a color shift. The light emitted by the bulb will shift slightly from a yellowish color to a more crisp blue color. You want a matched pair of HID bulbs so that this color shift occurs at the same time. When buying HID light bulbs, make sure that they have the same manufacturer, part number and use time (if previously used).

3) Understand the Kelvin temperature (k). The kelvin temperature scale for HID bulbs goes from 3000k-15000k. HID kelvin is a measurement of heat energy/temperature that directly relates to color. Here is the relation for BFxenon lights and the colors each admits; 3000k (yellow), 4300k (white/yellow), 6000k (pure white), 8000k (white/blue), 10000k (deep blue) and 15000K (bright purple).

4) How to maintain and extend life of your HID bulbs. HID light bulbs last longer than other forms of lighting, but there are steps you can take to maintain their long life.

a. Use the right ballast and housing that is matched to your HID light.
b. Let your bulbs cool down between lightings. Turning an HID light off and on more than three times in an hour reduces the life of your bulb.
c. Set the HID light to burn in the correct position and plane which is horizontal +/-10% burn positioning.
d. Avoid touching the bulb with your skin. Oils and acids from the skin deposited on the glass can damage the bulb.

5) Use caution when handling HID lighting. Do not handle HID bulbs excessively because oils from your skin can be transferred to the bulb and damage it. Also because HID light bulbs are filled with metallic vapors, in some cases mercury, caution should be used not to break them and when disposing of them. The voltage produced by the electrodes in the bulb is high and could give a shock if you are too close. The headlight assembly will protect you from this, but use caution when changing bulbs.
Credit for that post to the author of this blog: BFXenon.com Although it's hyperlinked, I feel obligated to reference the link. I despise "plagiarism" 'cause I'm old fashioned...I suppose.

I'm always learning something new with each vehicle I purchase. I still reminisce about cars with a distributor ignition system w/points when, once upon a time, I could get any "breakdown" going again with a mere visual inspection and a screwdriver.
 

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I despise "plagiarism" 'cause I'm old fashioned...I suppose.

I still reminisce about cars with a distributor ignition system w/points when, once upon a time, I could get any "breakdown" going again with a mere visual inspection and a screwdriver.
Nice info! Thanks.

There was a time in the 50's & 60's when we used to set our points on a new set of contacts in the distributor with a match stick if a feeler gauge wasn't handy. Simpler times. Sigh.

Re: plagiarism...I learned in college that if you copied someone else's work it was, indeed, plagairism. But copy it twice and it falls into the category of "research!" :grin:
 

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Re: plagiarism...I learned in college that if you copied someone else's work it was, indeed, plagairism. But copy it twice and it falls into the category of "research!" :grin:
Haha, I learned a similar one, copy from one person, that's plagiarism, copy from many people, now that's research :p
 
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