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Sealed beam headlight product information

Sealed beam headlights are an older type of forward illumination headlamp attached to the front of automobiles and trucks. The sealed beam headlight was first introduced in the 1940s, and became a standard headlamp used in the United States for the next forty years, constructed of standard, tungsten incandescent filaments. Early in the 1980s, United States safety regulations finally permitted use of halogen filaments in a sealed beam headlight, which provided a driver with a brighter illumination for driving, and much improved energy efficiency.

Sealed beam headlights are still available today, as many older model vehicles still on the road came equipped with them. A few models of newer trucks also come equipped with sealed beam headlights. In addition, automobile collectors require a sealed beam headlight to authentically restore an antique automobile.

The sealed beam headlight is a forward illumination headlamp, which combines the bulb, lens and reflector in one unit. The elements making up an automobile headlamp are completely fused together with either one or two filaments and a reflector covered with a curved glass lens. These types of headlights are more difficult and expensive to replace, as the entire unit must be removed and replaced instead of just the bulb.

Besides the increased cost and labor needed to replace a sealed beam headlight, sealed beam headlights also produce a low intensity beam of light for a driver. The sealed beam design is significantly dimmer than a modern composite headlamp assembly which has the bulb, lens and reflector as individual components. A newer, composite headlamp assembly requires just a bulb replacement when the headlamp burns out. A composite headlamp also produces increased illumination, with a more intense beam for the safety of the driver.

A sealed beam headlight is also more susceptible to weather and road conditions. The glass lens can easily become cracked or shattered. Cold weather adversely affects a sealed beam headlight, rendering it less efficient and more prone to burn out. When a sealed beam headlight burns out, or becomes damaged, the entire headlight requires total replacement.

Sealed beam headlights are available in both a two-light or four-light unit. The two-light headlights are constructed with both the low and high beams inside one sealed beam case. Both the low dipped and high frontward facing beams are constructed in one unit. The four-light headlights have a separate light for the low and high beam illumination. The four-light sealed beam headlights are actually smaller than the two-light design. Both designs of sealed beams are manufactured in either a round or rectangular shape.

Conversion kits and upgraded sealed beam units are available from most car parts stores and auto aftermarket companies. Since the sealed beam headlight is an older and less efficient design than the newer composite, headlamp assembly unit, many drivers decide to purchase conversion kits for their older model automobiles. Conversion kits allow an automobile owner, to convert the sealed beam headlights on their cars to a composite, headlamp design. These conversion kits allow an automobile owner to enjoy increased efficiency and illumination from a composite headlamp, and the convenience of a simple bulb replacement, when the light burns out.

An automobile owner also has the option of upgrading the existing sealed beam unit with a halogen filament for increased illumination with nighttime driving. A halogen bulb has been shown to be significantly brighter at both the low and high beam settings. Additionally, halogen bulbs have been shown to be longer lasting than a standard incandescent sealed beam headlight, making them more cost effective.

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