Are HID projectors for cars a good investment?

Our tech guru has the answers to your car questions
by Ferman Lao | Aug 22, 2013

Good day, Ferman. After reading the Workshop section of the March 2013 issue, it got me thinking a lot about HID projectors. I need your technical expertise.

I drive a 2011 Honda Jazz, and I have poor eyesight especially at night. So I want to know if HID projector lights are better in terms of illuminating the road ahead versus my stock halogen headlamps. What are the advantages and disadvantages of HID projectors? Do you think HID projectors are a good investment for me, considering my poor eyesight at night? If so, what brands do you recommend? Thank you very much, and I really appreciate the help.

Raymund John Ramas

Hi, Raymund. Your need for better nighttime lighting is shared by many car owners, myself included.

Personally, I've tried several fixes including driving with auxiliary lighting with upgraded bulbs, and replacing the factory bulbs with higher-wattage bulbs and the accompanying electrical hardware to support them. I've also tried an HID retrofit bulb kit during a nighttime driving session. I promptly removed them the following day and went back to upgraded halogen bulbs. They simply can't hold a candle to a properly designed original equipment HID system.

Continue reading below ↓

When HIDs were first introduced, they brought with them the promise of significantly better nighttime lighting, and they delivered. The downside was (and still is) cost, which is why not all cars come originally equipped with them.

Continue reading below ↓
Recommended Videos

I remember the first time I saw and instantly wanted one during one of the last few Rally Ng Pilipinas night stages. It practically turned night into day for the car it was on.

Things have changed. Mass production and adoption have brought the cost of these daylight-bringers down somewhat to the realm of relative affordability. However, one thing hasn't changed: For the HID bulbs to work as they were intended to be, they should be housed in appropriately designed enclosures.

Retrofitting them in modern headlight housings, wherein the beam patterns from the light sources are determined by the multi-surfaced reflectors of the assembly that have originally been designed for halogen bulbs, will be a game of chance. It's a game in which you have the odds of 100% success being stacked against you.

Continue reading below ↓

You will definitely perceive them to be brighter because of the increased intensity of the light generated by the HID bulb, but the added illumination may not necessarily be in the right places for it to be as effective as it should be. With regard to retrofit systems that include a matching projector housing itself in a vehicle-specific assembly, you can opt to get in touch with Gary Quizon via (as featured in our March 2013 Workshop article), check if he's got a client car that's the same model as yours, and see if the result is what you are looking for.

A "no-cost" alternative would be to drive a bit slower, but most of us don't want that for sure.


I would just like to seek your advice regarding engine oils for the new 2013 Ford Ranger. The owner's manual indicates SAE 5W-30 for sulphur content less than 350ppm and 10W-40 for 350ppm above. Based on what I know, the diesel in the Philippines has a sulphur content of 350ppm above (by the way, I only use Shell V-Power Nitro+ Diesel.), but I find the 10W-40 not suitable in the Philippines as some say.

Continue reading below ↓

I was nearly decided with the Castrol Edge 5W-40 SN until I read that it was not suitable for vehicles with diesel particulate filters (DPF). Is the 2013 Ranger equipped with DPF by any chance? Please correct me if i'm wrong, since I'm not an expert and I would be glad to hear your advice. Thank you very much and I hope to hear from you. More power and God bless, Top Gear Philippines!

Kyu Hong Kim

Hi, Kyu. I don't have firsthand knowledge if the 2013 Ford Ranger has a particulate filter on it or not, but for diesel engines to be able to comply with Euro IV vehicle emissions standards, they will have to be so equipped.

A rule of thumb to determine whether a diesel vehicle has a diesel particulate filter or not is to observe it during hard acceleration. An equipped one will not be emitting black smoke out of its exhaust pipe.

Continue reading below ↓

Interestingly, I have a client whose dealership claimed that his low-mileage diesel SUV (a popular one at the time) was in need of replacement of the diesel particulate filter because it had become clogged and that it was the culprit for his vehicle's service light coming on. Being quoted P40,000 for it, he requested that the PDF be removed so that he could inspect it himself. When the canister (which supposedly contained the PDF) was removed from the vehicle, it was found to be just a hollow shell without any of the PDF matrix. This happened about five years ago.

I don't know what you mean exactly when you say that you don't find the 10W-40 suitable for use in the Philippines, but I would follow the recommendations in your owner's manual regarding the required lubricants to avoid possible issues with your vehicle warranty. You would ideally have your vehicle serviced at the most convenient or preferred dealership, and follow their recommended service intervals or as stated in the owner's manual for the conditions under which you drive the vehicle to avoid possible warranty problems.

Continue reading below ↓


Best regards,

Ferman Lao
Technical Editor

Do car problems keep you awake at night? Send questions to

  • Quiz Results

  • TGP Rating:

    Starts at ₱

    TGP Rating:
    Starts at ₱