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Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? #4485047
08/10/17 06:10 PM
08/10/17 06:10 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,697
West Michigan
buck91 Offline OP
buck91  Offline OP
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,697
West Michigan
Is there a recommended time frame to replace headlamp bulbs? In other words, is there a given amount of time in which their output decreases significantly or does it just vary between applications? I have no problem waiting until one burns out; I typically replace both at that time and keep the old good one as a spare... Just curious if its worth replacing on a schedule...


2011 F150 4x4 5.0L
1996 Mustang GT 5spd/ragtop
Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4485053
08/10/17 06:13 PM
08/10/17 06:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,460
DFW
DBMaster Offline
DBMaster  Offline
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,460
DFW
My practice is to keep a spare PAIR on hand. If one burns out, which typically takes several years to happen, I replace them as a pair and throw away both of the old ones. They do dim with time as burned filament fogs the inside of the glass. YMMV

Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4485366
08/11/17 05:31 AM
08/11/17 05:31 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 597
NE Ohio
knerml Offline
knerml  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 597
NE Ohio
Because of bulb dimming, some people are now recommending replacing bulbs annually.

My wife's Hyundai burned out all 4 OEM bulbs in 18 months.

This nice thing about being proactive is being able to shop for price.


2015 Hyundai Elantra Sport 2.0 GDI Mobil 1 5W20 & OEM/Mann W811/80 Filter
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Castrol Edge 5W40 & OEM/Mann W811/80 Filter
Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4485513
08/11/17 08:23 AM
08/11/17 08:23 AM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,460
DFW
DBMaster Offline
DBMaster  Offline
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,460
DFW
I think annually is a bit excessive, but pretty much all the roads I use on a regular basis are well lighted. I like to be able to get the brand bulbs I want and not be stuck with whatever the local Walmart or parts store carries. My spare pair is German Sylvania. The spare pair I keep around for my son's car is Hella.

Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4488974
08/15/17 06:00 AM
08/15/17 06:00 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,947
Ohio
L_Sludger Offline
L_Sludger  Offline
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,947
Ohio
A headlight bulb prophylactic should be avoidance. Avoid touching the bare bulb. Wear gloves if you can. Just say no to oily residue on the glass!


too many cars and oil combinations to list in 150 characters or less
Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4489207
08/15/17 11:00 AM
08/15/17 11:00 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,514
Alberta, Canada
Smokescreen Offline
Smokescreen  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,514
Alberta, Canada
I just burned out my first low beam bulb on the Corolla last fall, 1 bulb. At that time the car had nearly 190,000 miles on it in 9 years of ownership. I replaced both for good measure.

Bulbs that are run for DRL will brown over time if not run for lengthy times at full voltage. Luckily I don't do DRL.


13 Civic Si 2.4L- 69Kkms(43Kmi)-PP,Wix
05 LeSabre 3.8L-210Kkms(134Kmi)-PP,Wix
03 Sierra 2500 6.0L-204Kkms(127Kmi)-PP,Wix

All with mpg > EPA
Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4493848
08/20/17 04:44 PM
08/20/17 04:44 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 105
pennsylvania
purelux Offline
purelux  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 105
pennsylvania
I've seen cars only 1-2 years old of all makes using hid or halogen with blown or severely dimmed lights often due to the winter. Leaving that snow and ice completely covering lights when lights are running drl or normal power really shortens the life. Maybe in areas where it doesn't get so cold or snow much if at all it's different. Using oem lights you'll likely go well beyond a year but it will dim to some extent, noticeable though? If your using higher wattage or brighter lights it's very possible they will have a shorter life.

Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4494811
08/21/17 07:58 PM
08/21/17 07:58 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,514
Wet side WA
JohnnyJohnson Offline
JohnnyJohnson  Offline
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,514
Wet side WA
Well my lowly Toyota burned out the drivers side lamp just this year after 13 years that's the only bulb I've lost guess I'd better trade it in before the whole car falls apart! Bought two replaced one the other is in the glove box.


2004 Corolla 126649
Out: VML 5w-30 TG4967 OCI 5007 Miles
In: EDGE EP 5W-30 Bosch 3311 122537 7-18-18
2006 Duramax 74478
Out: T6 5W-40 M1-303
In: T6 5W-40 XG9100 73705 4-22-18
Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: DBMaster] #4494864
08/21/17 09:13 PM
08/21/17 09:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 7,485
Texas & Global
4WD Offline
4WD  Offline
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 7,485
Texas & Global
You live in a better part of the LSS than I do. Not long ago we got a warning ticket over a headlamp, tail light, license lamp - BUT now it's going to be a ticket big enough to buy bulbs for 5 years - so yes I toss many good bulbs in the trash for "Don't Mess With Texas" LEO's.


2018 Chevy 1500 Z71 4WD
2017 Chevy Tahoe LT 4WD
2014 Fusion Hybrid Titanium
2013 Cruze LTZ - RS Turbo
Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4497665
08/25/17 09:45 AM
08/25/17 09:45 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,685
Jupiter, Florida
Cujet Offline
Cujet  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,685
Jupiter, Florida
When I change a bulb, I always compare old vs new, side by side on my white garage door.

Most of the time, the new bulb is brighter than the old, but not always. And I've gone through the trouble of purchasing multiple different brands when I get a dim one. I've ended up with a box, chock a block full of substandard bulbs.

Long life bulbs are typically not as white.


People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4497901
08/25/17 03:12 PM
08/25/17 03:12 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,407
CA
raytseng Offline
raytseng  Offline
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,407
CA
the bulbs all have a rated lifespan, but your usage may vary and youd have to track usage.

i believe most oem long life are 750 to 1000hours on the spec sheet where as the high output ones are more like 100hrs.

to change early would be useful if the lights seem too dim or you dont want to get stuck out in a storm or something and have a light go out.

Last edited by raytseng; 08/25/17 03:18 PM.
Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4498465
08/26/17 08:00 AM
08/26/17 08:00 AM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 2,003
IL
Vern_in_IL Offline
Vern_in_IL  Offline
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 2,003
IL
I would change all bulbs at 100,000 miles or 150,000 miles.


Over time, especially small incandescence(side marker bulbs), the filament will gas off and slowly smoke the inside of the bulb glass.

Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4499265
08/27/17 08:19 AM
08/27/17 08:19 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 172
New York
jeff78 Offline
jeff78  Offline
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 172
New York
The OEM's tend to use longer life bulbs as standard - these can dim noticeably* before they burn out which depending on your driving habits might not happen for years.

The premium aftermarket bulbs (+100, etc) have shorter lifetimes so they tend to burn out before output degrades significantly. I run +100 bulbs in my motorcycle and due to the low beam always being on, they burn out every couple of months. Fortunately, the bulbs are easy to get at so replacement isn't difficult.


* - it's gradual so you probably won't notice until you replace them with new ones and see the difference on the road


Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4501326
08/29/17 12:27 PM
08/29/17 12:27 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 670
Wash, DC
circuitsmith Offline
circuitsmith  Offline
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 670
Wash, DC
I periodically check all the bulbs for darkening glass.
So last year, at 10yo, ~60K mi, I changed turn, marker and headlights.


2017 Hyundai Tucson SE FWD, 5000mi/12mo OCI
Re: Headlamp bulb prophylaxis? [Re: buck91] #4501335
08/29/17 12:38 PM
08/29/17 12:38 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 225
Cincinnati, USA
Dave9 Offline
Dave9  Offline
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 225
Cincinnati, USA
No, there is no sane recommendation to replace bulbs before they burn out, except by people who are so blind that they shouldn't be driving so they pimp the idea that new bulbs being a little brighter is really important.

Buy a spare bulb when you find a deal on it and keep it in your glovebox or other spare storage area so if you have one fail OTR, you can replace it then, unless your vehicle is so modern/convoluted that you can't even get to the bulbs w/o tools. Heh, progress.

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