To HID or not to HID. That is the question!

What are HID lights?

A High-intensity discharge (HID) lamp is a type of electrical lamp which produces light by means of an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed inside a translucent or transparent fused quartz or fused alumina arc tube. This tube is filled with both gas and metal salts. The gas facilitates the arc’s initial strike. Once the arc is started, it heats and evaporates the metal salts forming a plasma, which greatly increases the intensity of light produced by the arc and reduces its power consumption. High-intensity discharge lamps are a type of arc lamp.

Compared with fluorescent and incandescent lamps, HID lamps have higher luminous efficacy since a greater proportion of their radiation is in visible light as opposed to heat. Their overall luminous efficacy is also much higher: they give a greater amount of light output per watt of electricity input.

Aftermarket HID kits

After attending several TorontoMazda3.com club meetings and seeing how sweet those HID and Angel Eyes look on Mazda 3’s, I have started to think about installing them on my car.

Being that I am older, I have become very hesitant about modifications to my car.  So I did what every grown man under 35 does:  Googled it.  I read several articles and forum posts talking about HID conversions.  I even have spoken to several people who have HID kits installed about it.  With arguments being made for having them and others for not, it has become quite confusing.

The upside of HID kits

The positives of installing HID kits on your Mazda3 include a custom, high-end luxury look that is unique when compared to other Mazda3’s.  The higher luminous efficacy of HID lights should create a brighter, longer path of light giving the driver a longer view of the road ahead.

The downside to aftermarket kits

While performing my research I came across Daniel Stern Lighting which has a great article on HID conversions and warning against them and the legality of them.

Here is a very informative investigative news story from the UK that talks about the legality of them.  While the laws in the UK may differ from Canada and the US, the effects of these conversions seem to be univeral.

The Verdict?

It seems that most people are very pleased with their HID kits,  however I am not convinced that I can acheive the greater lighting distance without blinding oncoming drivers with an aftermarket kit.  So I am not sure if I want to go through the expense or hassle of installing HID’s only to be disappointed.   So I am weighing my options and would like to know what other Mazda3 owners think.

Your experiences with such kits or even information that you have found would be appreciated not only by me, but by other readers.  Please leave a comment below with your opinons and information regarding HID’s or this article.

Dave

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4 thoughts on “To HID or not to HID. That is the question!

  1. Dan

    Dave,

    I constantly discourage my 17 year-old son from goofing around with his car. I tell him he is asking for trouble. What else would a 44 year-old father be expected to tell his son? He drives a Mustang. I drive the Mazda3. OK, that all said – I installed an aftermarket (Color temp 6000K) HID kit on my Mazda. No regrets at all. I did have to modify the plug that was on the OEM halogen bulbs, but other than that it seems the car was made for the HID lights! Since the Mazda3 has the focused beam lenses, the HID upgrade does not look cheesy like it does on cars that were not meant to have HID lights. Aside form the coolness factor the quality of light is amazing. I was concerned about the adjustments required to avoid blinding on-coming drivers, but the adjustments are easy. I just made sure the Xenon beam was lower than the high-beam. I have received no headlight flashes from oncoming drivers. So I assume I am not blinding them. I recommend the upgrade to anyone considering it.

  2. Troy K

    An HID kit is acceptable on a car with Projector headlamps allowing the light beam to be focused in the right areas. Also color temp is a big factor 4500k to 6000K will not blind other drivers and it will allow you to see better at night. Once you start going 8000k and above you loose visable light and then it’s just about the blue and purple color output.

    It also a good idea to make sure your headlamps are properly aligned for best results.

    Mazdas benefit from having an aftermarket HID kit, if installed correctly it will greatly improve the overall lighting output as well as appearance.

    With all this being said, these kits are not made for regular headlamps without projector lenses, this will cause the light to scatter and cause oncoming traffic to be blinded.

  3. Troy K

    I do have HID 35Watt 6000K kit installed in my low beam headlights. It is like night and day difference. Wire setup is easy. The Kit I have was plug and play. This means all wires were eacy connect. It also came with a wire / battery harness – complete with relay and fuse. Hiding all the wires is key for a nice clean install. I do have a complete walkthrough with pics on the Mazda3forums for reference.

    I am very pleased with the results

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