/ Any Point upgrading headlight bulbs?

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Boulderdash86 on 13 Nov 2012
Hi All,

With the nights drawing in I was wondering if anyone can give some advice -been thinking about upgrading the lights on my Peugeot 206 from the normal bulbs to say xenon as now its getting ridicious the amount of different types of bulbs in places like Halfords. I know they produce a much clearer light but are they actually worth it - do they last longer/ more robust/ use less energy?

The only disadvantage I can see if the problem when your driving along and someone else with Xenon bulbs has them are you get blinded, a too regular occurance.

Thanks for the advice?

BD
drunken monkey - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86: It is worth it, especially in winter.

This place is good for bulbs:

http://www.powerbulbs.com/
Steve John B - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86: I can't see the point really unless you've already got go-faster stripes and one of those Nurburgring stickers on the back. It's a f*cking nightmare for other drivers, particularly if they're not set up correctly.
Boulderdash86 on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Steve John B: I understand your pain - and no I dont have go faster strips or a nuremburg ring sticker and dont really want one either
Jonay - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

To be honest, yes.

It makes such a difference at night, but please make sure they're set up correctly.

I actually went out on my own little mission to find the best bulb, using the Philips bulbs (the latest and the previous top model) and the Nightbreakers too. I found that the most expensive Halford bulb was better than them both.

The whiter = further the beam goes
The yellower = more "punch" through fog
The bluer = more contrast for picking out details

Boulderdash86 on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Jonay: Thats a real big help thanks
LastBoyScout on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

I recommend them, they do make a difference - I upgraded to Philips Blue Vision a couple of years ago and the light is much brighter and whiter than the stock bulbs.

I've got a spare set that I keep meaning to put on the motorbike.
antdav - on 13 Nov 2012
I swapped standard headlights for halfords extra bright ones as my old cars reflectors were pretty poor so couldn't see very far in the dark. Easily twice as bright but similar light pool. So a car with half decent reflectors would make a very good short range impact.

At 30 a pair was much cheaper and easier than getting xenon's which I think it's apparently illegal to retrofit but not heard any cases of people being forced to.

Xenon's seem very selfish, i had them on a company car and could see way in the distance but so many people who have them also angle their lights up and blind everyone else. Good bulbs on dipped lights and full beams are good enough.
a lakeland climber on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to antdav:

Even if you have them correctly angled they (xenons) are a pain to other road users when you crest the brow of a hill and the hot spot sweeps down across their eyes temporarily blinding them.

ALC
dunc56 - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86: Might sound daft - but what problem are you actually having ? Have you had your eyes checked - tell them about any night time problems ?
Neil Williams - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

You might not have considered it, but it is a modification for insurance purposes not to fit standard-spec bulbs, so you will have to notify them and it'll cost you a packet.

OTOH, my Vectra has them as standard and they are rubbish compared with the traditional headlights in the Berlingo I had previously.

Neil
Boulderdash86 on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to dunc56: my eyes are fine. Its more my lights are pretty shit and was wondering what people have found worked.
Martin W on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to antdav:

> Xenon's seem very selfish, i had them on a company car and could see way in the distance but so many people who have them also angle their lights up and blind everyone else.

To be legal (ie to comply with Construction & Use Regs, I think) xenons have to be in a self-levelling mounting. This is specifically intended to reduce the risk of them blinding other drivers. It still depends on having the lights correctly aligned to begin with, though (and that isn't always straightforward: sometimes you have to tell the on-board management system that you are aligning the headlights, otherwise it will just move them back to where they were before you started!) Mind you, even ordinary fliament headlights can be a right menace if poorly adjusted.

You also have to have a means of cleaning the headlamp glass if you fit xenons, either a high-pressure spray or a spray+wipe. This is to reduce the risk of the bright light being scattered to places it shouldn't be by a film of grime on the glass. On my car the headlamp washers fire off automatically the first time you wash the windscreen when the lights are on, and every fifth time thereafter. I know of some people who have had their on-board management systems reprogrammed to make the automatic headlamp wash less frequent, or to disable it altogether. The main reasons they offer for this are (a) that it saves washer fluid, and (b) that they don't like getting washer fluid streaks on their freshly-polished bonnet. This merely reinforces my view that more people than you might expect are really are too stupid and irresponsible to be allowed to own a motor vehicle.

Overall, legal aftermarket xenon installations are an expensive way to go - it's not just a question of swapping the bulb. Hence, probably, why so many seem to be badly adjusted and verging on the dangerous - they've been done on the cheap and aren't legal. I believe that xenons are more efficient than filament lights (the Osram replacement xenon bulbs for my car are rated at 35W, for example) but there's no way on earth you could use that theoretical saving to build a viable financial case for fitting legal xenons!

Basically, it's not worth the hassle of "going xenon". Buy and fit the higher-power filament bulbs by all means, but please make sure that your headlights are properly aligned at the same time.

Judging by frequent practise round these parts, though, the proper way to drive on dark winter mornings and evenings is to use side lights plus fog lights. Headlights are for wimps...
Philip on 13 Nov 2012
Before I had fog lights I had the yellower lights that do better in fog - we get a lot of fog around where I live.

The brighter lights for normal cars aren't Xenon. The Xenon bulbs are the very white lights on hi-spec cars. They have to be properly installed (the unit not just the bulb) so as not to blind other road users.

If you have separate main and dipped you could upgrade your main to something bright as you turn those off when you see other cars.

The blue lights are a bit distracting to other but nothing is as annoying as people who don't realise fog lights aren't dipped and that you don't need them on if there isn't fog.
gethin_allen on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:
don't do it, it's incredibly selfish, you may well be able to see but nobody else can and you'll just piss off everyone you drive around. Worse than that you'll look like a total knobber.

Neil Williams - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Philip:

"The brighter lights for normal cars aren't Xenon."

Ah, perhaps what I've got isn't xenon but focused high power filament bulbs. Still crap, though.

Neil
dunc56 - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86: Drive slower then :)
Philip on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Philip)
>
> "The brighter lights for normal cars aren't Xenon."
>
> Ah, perhaps what I've got isn't xenon but focused high power filament bulbs. Still crap, though.
>
> Neil

Perhaps I should have been clearer.

The annoying new Audi lights (for example) are Xenon HID lamps (as described above) they have to have cleaners and self levelling. The white light is bluer than halogen bulbs.

The annoying blueish lights fitted to tw*t mobiles are halogen/xenon blends that are designed to have the same blueish tint so that people think you have the Xenon HID bulbs.

So you may have some Xenon in yours, but there is a difference between putting a 30 bluer bulb and spending closer to 500 have a proper Xenon HID headlamp unit fitted.

The whiter lights are nicer on your eyes if you do a lot of night driving, but if you're having trouble with how far you can see then it's a speed issue.
Steve John B - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Philip:
>
> So you may have some Xenon in yours, but there is a difference between putting a 30 bluer bulb and spending closer to 500 have a proper Xenon HID headlamp unit fitted.

'kin hell, you could buy a decent car for not much more than that!
Philip on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Steve John B:

Quite true :-)
Ashley - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:
> (In reply to Boulderdash86)
> don't do it, it's incredibly selfish, you may well be able to see but nobody else can and you'll just piss off everyone you drive around. Worse than that you'll look like a total knobber.

What he said.
Jimbo C - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

I can't understand why anyone needs brighter dipped beam bulbs. Main beams, yes I can see the advantage (ha, pun intended). Main beams are for seeing where you're going and dipped beams are so that other road users can see you. Really bright dipped beams are a nuisance and potentially dangerous. There has been many a time when on oncoming Audi with super bright lights + front fogs on has damn near blinded me. The blue light doesn't help either since the blue frequency is more energetic and kills night vision much more effectively than yellowish halogen light.
thebrookster on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

Might be worth checking out the state of play with legalities before making any decisions, as both the EU and the UK are starting to question the safety of the really white bulbs. It is all very well to say it allows the driver to see better, and therefore drive better, but remember it can take half ann hour or more for somebody elses eyes to adjust after you have driven past them.

Personally, I feel all HID kits etc should be banned outright for roaduse.

I can understand wanting to see a bit further at night, can be very useful. Fit a set of spot lights (driving lights) instead. That way you get better vision when on full beam, however it doesn't effect you dip beam, making it safer for other road users. (And when I say spotlights, I mean a decent set! Not the cheap tat sold in Halfrauds ;) )
Martin W on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Jimbo C:

> I can't understand why anyone needs brighter dipped beam bulbs.

Just for information: unlike filament bulbs which have two filaments for main and dipped beam, a HID bulb has only one "beam" ie light emitter. Dipped headlights are achieved by dropping a mechanical shutter over the upper part of the beam.

In reply to thebrookster:

> both the EU and the UK are starting to question the safety of the really white bulbs

If the LEDs used for some DRLs are anything to go by, I imagine that LED headlights, once they start to become widely available, will be a white as HIDs - though it might be more technically feasible to make them yellower than is the case with HIDs. Or maybe we'll end up with yellow headlamp lenses like the French always used to insist on!
Jonay - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

For those interested in the legalities of retrofitting HID units into their cars (i.e putting an aftermarket kit into a car that wasn't designed to take HIDs)

Lighting

Products on the lens or light source that obviously reduce the light's intensity or change its colour will become a reason for failure applies to front/rear position lamps, registration plate lamps, stop lamps, rear fog and direction indicators,

Headlight requirements are updated to take account of the particular characteristics of High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps.

HID headlights can cause dazzle if they are dirty or aimed too high, so they are generally (if light output exceeds 2000 lumens) fitted in conjunction with headlamp cleaning and levelling systems. Where HID or LED dipped beam headlamps are fitted the tester will switch on the headlamps and check the operation of any headlamp levelling and cleaning devices fitted.

The car will fail if a headlamp levelling or cleaning device is inoperative or otherwise obviously defective.

If a headlamp bulb is not seated correctly the resulting beam pattern will be indistinct and this will result in a test fail.


http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/car-servicing-repair/mot-changes-2012.html

Simon Preuss - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:
May sound bleedin' obvious, but clean your headlight glass regularly - they can accumulate a lot of crap at this time of year, which blocks a lot of light.
TryfAndy on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

The standard bulbs on my 206SW were dire, so I upgraded to some of those super-duper bright jobbies. Much, much better, especially as I do a fair bit of country lane driving at night, which means less squinting at hedgerow outlines & more time spent managing to run over dinner.

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