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Old 16th March 2012, 18:55   #1
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Default How to tell what type of headlights you have - Reflector, Projector, Xenon etc (MK1)

This seems to be a common form of confusion on the forum, so here goes...

This only applies to MK1's - MK2's were all projectors, with a mix of halogen and Xenon systems.

There are two different types of housing:

Reflector - bulb sits in a holder, a parabola of mirrors behind it focuces and aims the light.

Projector - a ball-shaped lens focuses the light.

There are two types of bulb technologies:

Halogens - a "normal" filament bulb.

Xenon - a gas that can be ignited by passing very high voltages through it. HIDs are exactly the same thing, but "Xenon" is normally used for an OE fitment, "HIDs" for an aftermarket install. Do not get these confused with a filament bulb full of Xenon gas (it's not the same - they are rubbish!)

On our cars, reflectors are halogen, and projectors can be halogen or Xenon. But other cars can have Xenon reflectors (although quite rare).



ZT's came with "black insert" reflectors, where there was a dark bit at the front (pictures shows a 75, but it's the right headlights):

75's came with this shiny instead:


From the outside, halogen & Xenon projectors look virtually indentical. SOME (but not all) Xenon projectors have "XENON Technology" written on the inside of the outer lens, as shown here:

They will also have a metal box on the back (a ballast) as well:

Projectors on the left, reflectors on the right:

From the factory the Xenon projectors would also come with powerwash (headlight washer jets) and auto levelling (so no levelling wheel on the LSM at all).

Live thread here

Last edited by Dragrad; 9th March 2014 at 01:09..
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Old 17th March 2012, 05:14   #2
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Xenons (HID with ballast units), or regular Halogen? take a look inside at your Light Switch Module Switchpack.

If your car has True Xenon Headlamps, you won't have a dial to the right for manual leveling. Part of the spec of the Xenon HID's is that they are self leveling.

If however your switchpack does have a knob to manually adjust the headlamp level like this picture, then you have standard Halogen headlamps (which may or may not have Projector lenses).

Last edited by Reebs; 29th September 2017 at 16:39.. Reason: fixed pics
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Old 18th February 2013, 23:25   #3
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Originally Posted by Jakg View Post
Originally the Xenon sticker was only put on cars that had it - but to save money they combined the three stickers into one and applied it to all cars.

Mine had halogen relectors from the factory, but had the Xenon sticker under the bonnet.
The above quote is Post #7 from this thread.

Tonight on leaving work my driver side dip headlamp failed. Was working this morning, now not working. Instrument panel "bulb failed" light on.

Tried to investigate what sort of bulb to buy. Got confused regarding "Xenons" or "not Xenons".

Yellow sticker under bonnet says "Xenons fitted, see handbook".

Went to Halfords and found they want to charge £89.99 a Xenon on special order. Thought “Surely not; a bit more research needed here.”

Came home, found this thread – pics suggest that I have reflectors, not projectors.

Here’s my car:

… compare with the first few pics in the original post in this thread.

Post #7 in this thread says that some cars have the yellow sticker under bonnet that says "Xenons fitted, see handbook", even though they in fact have Reflectors which therefore means they have Halogens.

Also, I have the manual wheel switch to level the headlights – See Post #10 in this thread.

So I conclude:
Even though the sticker says “Xenons fitted”, in fact I have Reflectors with Halogens.

If so, quite relieved because much cheaper, and should be able to replace bulb via wheel arch access panel, not bumper off.

Am I right with the above analysis about what bulbs I have?
Any advice on what replacement bulb to get?
Eg conventional Halogen replacement from Halfords, or is there advantage in getting the pseudo-Xenons that Halfords sell (ie conventional filiament bulb, but uses xenon gas for claimed brighter light?)

Help appreciated.
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Old 27th October 2013, 11:23   #4
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Very useful thread.

I'm currently on a tea break from polishing up my headlights. While sat sitting for an hour in front of the car I've had plenty of time to contemplate life, the universe, and everything. Including, for the first time after three years of ownership, this yellow sticker...

Now I'm sure I've got halogen headlights, I've fitted H7 bulbs two or three times myself. However the word "Xenon" on that sticker confused me.

Here's one of my lights:

As you can see, a bit more elbow grease needed.

Am I right in thinking that these are halogen projectors? After reading a few threads I'm fairly sure they are, I have the manual headlight level adjustor on my light control unit. However, as you can see, I also have headlight washers on the bumper....
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