Standard aftermarket HID conversion kits are no longer suitable for some newer vehicles that incorporate electronic headlight systems. This is because standard HID ballasts are unable to communicate with the on board computer systems of these vehicles.
You may have heard of the term CANBUS being used in relation to automotive components but what does CANBUS actually mean?
CAN stands for Controller Area Network and BUS is the path the data travels along in vehicle electronics. This system was designed by Bosch and is used in many modern vehicles to control systems such as engine and transmission management, ABS brakes, suspension, airbags, door locks and headlight systems. Modern vehicles have as many as seventy electronically controlled devices and the CANBUS systems allows these devices to operate independently and talk to each other without the need for a main computer to control them.
So how do you know if your vehicle uses CANBUS components?
CANBUS computer systems have been mandatory in all vehicles sold in the United States since 1996, so if your vehicle was built post 1996 you would have one of the five types of CANBUS vehicle control systems. What you need to know is does you vehicle have a CANBUS headlight system? Probably the best way to get the answer to this is to Google the year, make and model of your vehicle together with ‘CANBUS’.
Daytime running lights (also known as DRLs) are a popular feature of newer vehicles that utilize CANBUS. These lights operate automatically during the daylight hours as a safety feature, but are switched off at night time, as they’re too bright for night use. Daytime running lights use CANBUS, so if your vehicles has DRLs and you want to upgrade to HID you’ll need a CANBUS HID kit.
Other examples of electronically controlled headlight systems are lights that turn on or off automatically in low light or inclement weather conditions such as fog and headlights with directional turning sensors.
What’s the advantage of installing a CANBUS HID Kit?
The preferred CANBUS HID Kits to purchase are those that use second generation decoder technology. The ballasts of these kits are able to talk to your other vehicles electronic components making our kits suitable for installation in all modern vehicles with computer controlled headlight systems.
Regular HID Kits may still work in a vehicle with CANBUS headlights, but there’s often problems with flickering bulbs and error codes displayed on the vehicle’s dash. The flickering occurs because the CANBUS headlight sensor outputs a signal that the headlight bulb is out when a HID bulb is installed in place of a halogen bulb.
The author of this article is Luke Ward, a 37 year old motoring enthusiast and proprietor of http://www.motorfiend.com