Piston Slap: Of HID-retrofit Hatred, Panther Love
So when I get my next big check I’m getting me a Panther. On this you can depend. You’ve talked me into it! But that’s not the point of my email. Rather, I’ve seen these HID light kits and wonder if it’s a lot of hype or if there is some veracity to the upgrade?
Oh yes! How lovely to hear you will be joining us enlightened American auto-connoisseurs in the Land of the Last Land Yacht: Panther Love…Son!
Like I mentioned in the last Piston Slap, HID retrofits are usually a terrible idea. Aside from their durability and inherent poor value, they are not a “bright idea” (sorry) when performing a headlight retrofit/upgrade to your non-HID car. A few notable exceptions include me, when I upgraded my 1995 Lincoln Mark VIII’s headlights with the factory HID system used on certain 1996 models. It was all factory parts, and worked great… until time and orphan parts reared their ugly heads.
Long story short, there is no real scientific benefit to HIDs if you don’t have a headlight assembly designed for the HID bulb. And sometimes, depending on headlight lense design and bulb choice, it’s more of a detriment. And the only Panther that can safely run HIDs are 2003-2011 Town Cars with the (optional) factory-installed HID lenses. Everything else throws out a ton of glare and is dangerous for fellow motorists. And yourself, if you encounter a lot of reflective signs on the road or drive in thunderstorms at night in urban lighting conditions.
Plus, most of these aftermarket kits are quite unreliable: from the quality of wiring, durability of relays, and design of bulbs, calling these HID retrofit vendors “hit or miss” would be an understatement.
Plus again, many of these kits are downright illegal. Even if they are DOT approved, are they legal for use in your state? Better find out before you buy.
One last remark: the non-HID’s on my father’s 2006 Town Car are disturbingly close to the general lighting quality of the HID’s in my 1995 Mark VIII. Who says these Panthers are old school? Their lighting pods are pretty darn high-tech!
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