Replacement Headlight Bulbs: How Long Should These Car Bulbs Last?

Published: 01st May 2009
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If one of your headlight bulbs has blown you are normally the last to know about it, driving around blissfully unaware that there is light only coming out of one headlight, whilst other drivers can clearly see that one of you car bulbs has blown. Once you know that a bulb has blown you then have to find the right replacement and install it. But how do you know that you are getting the best from your bulbs and is there a way to have them last longer?

In effect there are really just three types of car bulbs that you can install in your headlights and they are, standard halogen bulbs, modern upgrade xenon bulbs and heavy duty long life bulbs. When determining how long a headlight bulb should last its is well worth remembering the old adage that "The light that burns twice as bright, lasts half as long".

Standard halogen headlight bulbs, are the bulbs that were fitted by the vehicle manufacturer at the factory and are normally full OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specification. These type of car bulbs will typically last between 350-400 hours of use and emit a reasonable level of light onto the road.

Upgrade xenon bulbs, like the Osram Night Breaker or Philips Extreme Power bulbs use xenon gas to produce a light up to 90% brighter than standard halogen bulbs, making night-time driving safer and less stressful, and because of their high performance construction they can be expected to last between 200-300 hours.

Finally there are long life headlight bulbs and, as their name suggests, they will certainly cut the amount of time you will need to spend replacing your car bulbs. By using reinforced heavy duty components you can expect a long life headlight bulb to last over 50% longer than ordinary halogen bulbs, giving you an expected bulb life of 500-600 hours, whilst still producing the same light output as ordinary halogen bulbs. Long life car bulbs are slightly more expensive than their standard halogen counterparts, but are considerably more economical when you factor in their extra long life span.

When replacing headlight bulbs it is recommended, and good sense, to change them both at the same time. Firstly if one bulb has blown the odds are very strong that the other one will blow shortly afterwards, and by changing them together you wont have to repeat job for a while, and secondly if your bulb has comes to the end of its life span it will be past its optimum light performance output.

One final point to note when changing your headlight car bulbs is to not touch the glass with bare skin during the process. No matter how clean your hands are, bare skin will always leave a residual grease mark on the glass, this creates a hotspot on the and will eventually lead to a bulbs premature failure. So, to get the best from your headlights always change your bulbs in pairs, wear protective gloves during the process and pick the right type to suit your requirements.

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