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#3301304 - 03/04/14 01:55 PM New to Headlights. Curious.
SuperDave456 Offline


Registered: 10/29/08
Posts: 2255
Loc: Dallas, Texas
New to this forum. Of all the BITOG forums this is the one I visit the least. So please bear with me.

So one of the bulbs in my wife's 2004 Nissan Xterra has gone out.

I went by NAPA yesterday and grabbed a couple NAPA brand bulbs for her vehicle. They come in a little cardboard box and run $10 each.

I really don't care for the "blue" bulbs, that blind you from 4 lanes over, that seem to be popular. I just want something that is like the OEM but won't cost an arm and a leg.

Also, being that they come in little cardboard boxes, and that I've worked with Halogen bulbs in college. Should I wipe them down with alcohol first, before I install them, to make sure they are truly clean?
It is something that we did in college that made the lights last longer, it eliminates the oils and grease that supposedly isn't on a new bulb.

Any installation tips?

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#3301313 - 03/04/14 02:00 PM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: SuperDave456]
DBMaster Online   content


Registered: 09/18/12
Posts: 2195
Loc: Rick Perry World
I just hold them up to the light and if they look clean I don't clean them again. If wiping them with alcohol makes you feel better about the job it sure won't hurt a bit.

I handle mine with disposable nitrile gloves. That way I can avoid any accidental fingerprints. I always have a box on hand for automotive and household projects anyway.

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#3301316 - 03/04/14 02:03 PM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: DBMaster]
Ramblejam Offline


Registered: 11/05/13
Posts: 1019
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: DBMaster
I handle mine with disposable nitrile gloves.


Same here.

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#3301382 - 03/04/14 03:12 PM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: SuperDave456]
razel Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 138
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: SuperDave456
So one of the bulbs in my wife's 2004 Nissan Xterra has gone out.

Any installation tips?


If those are original bulbs then @ 10 years old, I'd replace both or install the new one on the driver side, move the old one over to passenger. The old probably has dust on it so feel free to wipe it. I agree avoiding the tinted junk, but feel free to get the 30% or 50% brighter clear bulbs from major manufacturers (Philips, Sylvania, GE, Narva, Stanley) if the price is right.


Edited by razel (03/04/14 03:13 PM)

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#3301458 - 03/04/14 04:55 PM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: Ramblejam]
Rolla07 Offline


Registered: 11/05/11
Posts: 1806
Loc: MTL, CANADA
Originally Posted By: Ramblejam
Originally Posted By: DBMaster
I handle mine with disposable nitrile gloves.


Same here.


Just this
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#3301460 - 03/04/14 04:57 PM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: SuperDave456]
440Magnum Offline


Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 6348
Loc: Texas
My current go-to product line for halogen headlamps is the Philips XtremePower line. Very well-made, very optimized to get the maximum output within all regulations, and most importantly with no tinting or artificial filtering. They DO use a narrow band of tint at the edge of the filament shield, but it isn't there to color the beam, its there to selectively reduce the brightness in one part of the standard pattern test so that the brightness doesn't have to suffer elsewhere to avoid overbrightness at the test point. Very clever. And they seem to last quite well.

I would NEVER buy even a mildly-tinted headlamp bulb. Any coloration whatsoever is robbing brightness for the sake of a purely cosmetic shift in the color appearance. Fog lamp bulbs-different story- selective yellow tinting can improve foglamp performance.
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#3301610 - 03/04/14 06:55 PM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: razel]
HTSS_TR Offline


Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 12902
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: SuperDave456
So one of the bulbs in my wife's 2004 Nissan Xterra has gone out.

I replace both but keep the good one to replace the burnt out one next time, that way you will have several weeks to look for replacement.
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#3301663 - 03/04/14 07:50 PM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: SuperDave456]
SuperDave456 Offline


Registered: 10/29/08
Posts: 2255
Loc: Dallas, Texas
I went ahead and did both bulbs. The ones that came out were Sylvania dated Nov 10 03. So they appear to be original.

I went ahead and wiped the new NAPA brand bulbs down with 70% isopropyl alcohol on a fresh paper towel. Then after a minute or so, wiped them down again with another fresh paper towel.

The NAPA brand bulbs had a date and a manufacturer, but it was not Sylvania and I didn't remember to take a picture.

Went out, changed out the bulbs, had to remove the battery to do the passenger side, and drove around for 30 minutes with the lights on.

Total time on the job, maybe 20 minutes, excluding the drive.

Bulbs seem to work like a champ. I can't tell a change other than both now work.

When I look at the old bulbs I can tell that one filament has been used more than the other, but it is not obvious which bulb was burned out and which one still worked. I will hold onto them for a month or so, just to make sure the ones I installed will work as intended, and then throw them away.

Overall, difficulty was a 2 out of 10.
If you can change oil, or a battery, you can change headlight bulbs on a 2004 Nissan Xterra.

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#3301667 - 03/04/14 07:51 PM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: SuperDave456]
SuperDave456 Offline


Registered: 10/29/08
Posts: 2255
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Also, just thinking.

My wife has had two fender benders in the 2004 Xterra. Both of them involve her front end.

It appears that the lights survived both collisions.

They were daylight collisions, so I imagine that helped, but still. I'm impressed at how tough these things are.

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#3301692 - 03/04/14 08:08 PM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: SuperDave456]
Pablo Offline


Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 46694
Loc: Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Originally Posted By: SuperDave456

I really don't care for the "blue" bulbs, that blind you from 4 lanes over, that seem to be popular. I just want something that is like the OEM but won't cost an arm and a leg.


Lots of good tips here, and glad you got some bulbs in.

I just want to point out a couple things. Your intuition is correct, just having "blue" bulbs means nothing. But blue alone doesn't blind you or make the lights any brighter. What most people are victims of when "blinded" is absolutely poor headlight aim and lousy design headlights with improper cutoff. The reason I like to point this out so people don't jump on the band wagon of reducing new technology lighting and reducing wattage allowed.

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#3303050 - 03/06/14 07:49 AM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: SuperDave456]
DBMaster Online   content


Registered: 09/18/12
Posts: 2195
Loc: Rick Perry World
I have had to avert my gaze more often these days. It's not headlight aim I'm talking about. It's the cranium in rectal storage folks at it again driving with high beams on all the time. You see, you actually have to think about dimming lights so it's just easier to leave the high beams on.

It also seems to be easier these days to simply leave the turn signal on for miles after a lane change. And, it is far less stressful to avoid tough decisions like moving out of the left lane after passing. Why not just go straight into that lane and stay there.

Blue bulbs are a ridiculous vestige from a time when HID's were novel and some thought a blue tinted bulb would make others think they had HID's. I guess it's like transforming a regular car into the Mach 5 by sticking a loud muffler on it.

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#3305194 - 03/08/14 07:29 AM Re: New to Headlights. Curious. [Re: DBMaster]
RF Overlord Offline


Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3155
Loc: Cape Cod, MA
Originally Posted By: DBMaster
It's the cranium in rectal storage folks at it again driving with high beams on all the time. You see, you actually have to think about dimming lights so it's just easier to leave the high beams on.

It also seems to be easier these days to simply leave the turn signal on for miles after a lane change. And, it is far less stressful to avoid tough decisions like moving out of the left lane after passing. Why not just go straight into that lane and stay there.
Thank you! Those are my biggest issues with most of the motoring public. It seems they just don't care how their poor decisions affect others.

/threadjack
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