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Which Bulbs Are Right for Your RV Headlights?

RV at night under the stars

Hitting the open road in your RV is a pastime beloved by millions of Americans. No matter how you use your RV, you’ll want to stay current on all maintenance and repairs. This includes your RV headlights, which may need replacement bulbs or other upgrades to improve forward and peripheral vision. However, choosing the wrong bulbs can make driving hazardous.

Choose the Right Bulbs for Your RV HeadlightsRV Headlights on a small RV in the woods

Your RV’s stock headlights were deemed the right fitment for your motor home by the manufacturer. They’ve served you well, enabling you to travel at night as well as in the rain, snow and fog, but they’re not doing the job anymore. You may also be considering an upgrade to lighting enhancements that can improve visibility in various weather conditions. Here are all your RV bulb options.

Repair the Current Lights

Before making any changes, determine whether the current recreational vehicle headlights are getting the job done. If not, there are a few things to do.

First, if a bulb has burned out, simply detach it from the socket and head to a store for a replacement. Change every headlight bulb at the same time, as the others will eventually burn out as well.

Second, if the bulbs are working but appear dim, you may have foggy lenses, an electrical short or misaligned lights. A repair kit can easily resolve the lens issue. An electrical short means checking wires, fuses and connections, then fixing them if you come across a problem. If the lights are misaligned, you can usually adjust them without expensive equipment. Simply find the headlight adjusters on each unit, which are usually a screw or bolt on the back or side of the headlight casing. Check the owners manual for the proper alignment details.

LED Bulbs

If you want to invest in improving your headlights, you can swap out your RV’s current halogen units for LEDs. LEDs are popular today as they are bright, waterproof and last a long time. Most new vehicles include them, and they’re great for maximizing visibility.

Halogen Bulbs

Upgraded halogen headlights are another option. Utilizing an enhanced optical coating, these lights produce a white light on par with high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. Specifically, they enhance forward and side road visibility for greater depth perception and contrast. Upgraded halogen lamps also supply an evenly distributed light pattern for maximum saturation. Swapping out your headlight bulbs for upgraded halogens is an easy project for a DIYer.

Xenon HID Bulbs

Xenon HID headlights are an alternative to LED and halogen bulbs. Instead of utilizing halogen, HID headlights use another type of gas: xenon. These headlights are typically brighter than LEDs and halogens but are more fragile and easily damaged. Where halogen lamps use a filament, HID bulbs instead rely on a spark to create illumination.

Lighting Matters

Always replace headlights in sets — right and left with each containing upper and lower beams. A mixed pair causes uneven light distribution, which could prove dangerous while operating the RV.

Check out all the headlight and bulb products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on RV headlights, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.


Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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