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Replacement Headlight bulbs.
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userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 4 January 2019 11:27 AM
Subject: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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Do we have any good advice about replacement headlight bulbs? My current problem is with my car, a 7 year old Skoda Fabia, but when we replace the van we may have to sort that out as it won't be a very new one.
We drove back to the UK for the festive season, and in order to take advantage of the less expensive channel crossings we invariably do a fair amount of driving in the dark, and this year we had pretty poor weather on both out bound and inbound journeys, and quite frankly I felt that there were times on the non autoroute bit between Chartres and Rouen when I thought the headlights were so poor that it was dangerous. The illumination was no more than a dirty yellow glow that did not allow me to see the white lines and other markers, and yes , I did stop frequently to clean the headlights, but the improvement was temporary and marginal.
I spoke to my son, who knows all about the expensive things that you can bolt onto your car and impress the locals on Tesco's carpark late at night, for his views on LED bulbs, and he was not enthusiastic and suggested I do some research before I spend my hard earned. I have wandered around the related posting on U tube, and it hasn't really clarified much, so I thought I'd ask some people I trust
Anyone able to offer a bit of advice, oh, and a Happy New Year to you all!
AGD
userTeamRienza
Posted: 4 January 2019 11:57 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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Posts: 48
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Location: Co Down


I know exactly what you mean, I have had a couple of cars with poor illumination. A Volvo 343 some years back and currently our Nissan Xtrail. The Hymer is pretty poor also but we have usually the opportunity to drive in daylight with it.

I use these in both the Xtrail and Hymer with some success.

https://www.autobulbsdirect.co.uk/h11-twenty20-daylight-120-12v-55w-halogen-bulbs-pair.html

There are also other choices in similar vein but their lifespan may not be as long. If you peruse their site you will see many options, although the higher wattage 100 watt bulbs and Led bulbs are not regarded as legal for road use, but are sold for ‘off road use and styling’.

I have bought from this site for many years and they are prompt and efficient. However, do check the bulbs you need by reference to your handbook or the vehicle itself as their site states H4 for the Xtrail when in fact they are H11.

Davy
usercolin
Posted: 4 January 2019 11:58 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 


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From what I understand from another forum the retrofitting of LED's is not legal, despite what any seller might say. You can usually tell cars with them fitted, they are the ones which blind you even when 'dipping' the lights. All the cars I've had in last 20 years have had good lights, one problem which affects them is the 'fogging' of the front lens.
usermaldonmole
Posted: 4 January 2019 2:55 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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The following may help:
Halogen bulbs deteriorate with use reducing the light output.
There may be a poor connection either at an earth point or on the bulb connector(s)
If your headlamps have plastic lenses that have become cloudy with age that will again reduce the light output.
If looking to replace the bulbs only fit what was originally there -- led replacements are illegal and might invalidate your insurance. Bulbs with a higher wattage ditto plus they are likely to overload the supply wiring, melt the connectors or worse.
If you have previously been happy with the lamp performance then probably one of the above three things are to blame.
Best to check connections before spending any money.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 4 January 2019 6:47 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 


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Location: Herefordshire - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Archiesgrandad - 2019-01-04 11:27 AM

Do we have any good advice about replacement headlight bulbs? My current problem is with my car, a 7 year old Skoda Fabia, but when we replace the van we may have to sort that out as it won't be a very new one...

AGD


I own a 2009 Skoda Roomster.

I think a 2012 Skoda Fabia will have either a ‘tradiitional’ headlamp with a twin-filament H4 60W/55W bulb or a ’projector’ headlamp with a single-filament H7 55W bulb - my Roomster has the latter type and its lights on dipped beam are definitely nothing special. The dipped-beam pattern is obtained by a moving metal ’shutter’ modifying the full-beam pattern and, when the Roomster’s lights are put into driving-on-the-right mode (simply done by moving a lever at the rear of each headlamp) even more light-output is lost. I’ve replaced the Roomster’s original bulbs with the highest ‘uprated output’ 55W equivalents I could find, but I still don’t relish driving the Roomster in the dark in the UK and really dislike driving it abroad.

You could try replacing your present bulbs with ‘uprated output’ equivalents (there’s a review of H7 bulbs here)

https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/accessories-tyres/76760/best-car-headlight-bulbs-2018

which should provide some improvement - but don’t expect miracles.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 4 January 2019 10:37 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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Location: Conwy, North Wales


Being broke I have been driving old cars for a while and my current 2005 model, Mitsubishi Grandis was bought as an accident damaged vehicle which I restored and did a lighting upgrade on at the same time.

One of the issues was a broken headlamp and the only second hand one I could find had clouded lenses and the 'good' nearside lens wasn't much clearer.
Light output very Yellow and poor.

So I started by using Turtle Wax's Lens restoration kit and the difference was astonishing.
It did come up like new and 'sparkly' clear. So I also did the Nearside.

Next I went to fit the LED aftermarket bulbs which I bought for my Space wagon and had removed when I sold the vehicle.
They were fantastic on the Spacewagon, the output around 3 times brighter than standard, made night time driving look like 'day time'.

The problem I found with LED's is the total mis-selling on the web with people claiming their bulbs are 'H4' compatible when they are not focused at all. They worked but no defined beam with a lot of scatter and major dazzle.


Getting the right ones was hard, but when I did (NightEye H4 at about £25 from memory), the beam was sharp, with excellent cutoff and zero scatter. You could see the 'end of the beam' on the road in front of you it was so sharp. With the old bulbs the beam just seemed to 'fizzle out'.
I did have to adjust the housing alignment for the new bulb, as you should whenever any H4 bulb is changed due to the critical location of the filament in exactly the right place and distance from the reflector.

Contrary, to the above, when the right bulbs are fitted and set up, they don't dazzle.
When my wife drove towards me in a test on a Country road while I was in her car, there was no dazzle at all, just a white light. I think they were 2,500 lumens?
You would not believe how good they were.

Problem I had was they would not fit in the Grandis.
The space behind the 'filament' on most good LEDs is bulbous because of the large cooling fins, in some cases a Fan is installed. These NightEye ones extended back about 1.5" more than a standard Halogen, plus my new car took H1's.

So I was stuck with a Halogen and bought Philips Extreme Vision +130%, £17.99, which were better than twice as good as the standard bulbs and unlike many 'boosted' Halogens have a decent life.


I might have another 'explore' in the New Year' for some LED's as there was talk about more compact versions being developed and they were fantastic.


useraandncaravan
Posted: 4 January 2019 11:46 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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Archiesgrandad, I have found my original posting of when I fitted the LED bulbs here :
https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/LED-Headlight-bulbs-and-driving-abroad/45999/

It contains a lot more detail, one feature of which is that the LED bulbs are adjustable for LHD or RHD maybe making them a better option for your circumstances?
The bulb has a little screw adjustment that allows one of these NightEye LED 'UK' bulbs to have the beam 'kick up' on the other side, All explained in the thread with diagrams.


userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 5 January 2019 9:27 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 


500050005000500100100100100252525
Location: Herefordshire - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Just in case it’s not understood what a Skoda ‘projector’ headlamp looks like, this video-clip should help

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfvkf5l6iDY

As I’ve said above, the bulb fitted to my 2009 Roomster’s headlamps is a 55W H7 type and the headlamp has an integrated ‘Continental driving’ beam-pattern modification facility - but it would be necessary for AGD to check which headlamps his later-year Fabia has as the design does differ.

There is a Skoda Owners Forum

https://www.briskoda.net/forums/

and there have been criticisms there about the headlamps (example here)

https://www.briskoda.net/forums/topic/217634-omg-headlights-crppy/

that seem to relate primarily to the ‘projector’ type of headlamp.

I’ve no experience of changing the standard H7 bulb in a Skoda’s projector headlamp to a LED type, but the Philips “RacingVision” H7 bulb

https://www.philips.co.uk/c-p/12342RVS2/racingvision-car-headlight-bulb

came top in a recent AutoExpress review and swapping to those bulbs should help somewhat.
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 5 January 2019 1:39 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 


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Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


I can't offer a solution to AGD's problem (though I greatly sympathise), but I do think there is a major problem brewing around LED headlamp bulbs.

I spend a fair bit of time on the A27/A259 (those two way country lanes that act as a major east-west route between Kent and East Sussex), at night. It is very noticeable that a growing number of vehicles are using what seem to me to be excessively bright, and poorly aimed, dipped beams. Lights on following traffic frequently illuminate the headlining in the car, which makes seeing forward more difficult because of the resulting glare and, when coupled with poorly aimed very bright oncoming headlamps, I not infrequently find I am for all intents and purposes driving blind with no view of the nearside (or any other part!) of the road.

I also find that newer vehicles with LED daytime running lights plus LED headlamps are the worst offenders, as the LED DRLs seem not to reduce intensity when the headlamps are in use, adding a huge amount of upward light scatter. Wet nights are a special joy, when the light reflected up from the road surface really puts the cherry on the cake - not!

There is a maximum permissible light output from headlamps, which for halogens is easily checked as it is expressed in Watts, but for LED lamps it is expressed in Lux, and no-MoT stations (AFAIK) have test equipment capable of measuring Lux. So sellers of replacement led lamps seem to be able to make whatever claim they choose in the almost certain knowledge that they won't be caught out.

I have hitherto been under the impression that DRLs were supposed to reduce in intensity to no brighter than "normal" parking/side lights when the headlamps were illuminated. Does anyone know if this is true since, if it is, a substantial number of major manufacturers are plainly disregarding it?
userCharles
Posted: 5 January 2019 2:23 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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I wouldn't bother with after market ones yet, the problem I have with them is that they get hot, so obviously they're being driven hard. Surely one of the advantages of LED is that they produce light, not heat like halogen.
The lifetime will suffer too.

My motorcycle has all factory fitted LED and the headlamp or surround doesn't get hot but maybe the wind has something to do with that I caught up with a friend coming home one day and he said it was like having the sun in his mirror (not as yellowy though I hope)
usercolin
Posted: 5 January 2019 4:47 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 


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Brian Kirby - 2019-01-05 1:39 PM

There is a maximum permissible light output from headlamps, which for halogens is easily checked as it is expressed in Watts, but for LED lamps it is expressed in Lux, and no-MoT stations (AFAIK) have test equipment capable of measuring Lux. So sellers of replacement led lamps seem to be able to make whatever claim they choose in the almost certain knowledge that they won't be caught out.




The new MOT rules mean that any LED fitted to an unapproved lamp is a fail.
userDeffheads
Posted: 5 January 2019 5:13 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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Hi, I have 2006 Dethleffs A class tag axle and last year we drove from Calais,South and the headlights were useless. It has the Hella 90mm projector low beam and high beam also 90mm units. I said at the time that I would not drive at night in rain again until I improved the lighting.
So on return to UK end of July I set about improving the lights by fitting a HID H7 conversion kit, the results are amazing with bright ice blue lighting . These kits are good value on Ebay and simple to fit, but would use a relay to handle power and not just upgrade fuses.
I had a LED bulb in my scooter and it failed the MOT on no distinct cut off for beam, but the motorhome with HID conversion sailed through the MOT.

Edited by Deffheads 2019-01-05 5:16 PM
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 6 January 2019 9:36 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 


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Location: Herefordshire - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Charles - 2019-01-05 2:23 PM

I wouldn't bother with after market ones yet, the problem I have with them is that they get hot, so obviously they're being driven hard...


That’s not my experience provided that the replacement bulbs retain the same wattage as the originals. I’ve been ‘uprating’ my vehicles’ headlamps and/or headlamp bulbs since the 1960s, and the only replacement bulbs that I’ve fitted that have become significantly hotter than the originals have been higher wattage bulbs marketed for off-road use only.

For example, it’s possible to buy 100/90W H4 bulbs or 80W H7 bulbss (example here)

https://www.autobulbsdirect.co.uk/h7-osram-super-bright-premium-rallye-off-road-12v-80w-477-halogen-bulb.html

and these definitely will get a lot hotter than standard H4 60/55W or H7 55W road-legal bulbs.

.....................................................................................................................................

The MOT-test lighting requirements can be viewed here

https://www.mot-testing.service.gov.uk/documents/manuals/class3457/Section-4-Lamps-reflectors-and-electrical-equipment.html#section_4.1

The rules are a lot ‘looser’ than one might think.

The MOT-test ‘rule’ for daytime running lights extinguishing/dimming is as follows:

"Daytime running lamps (DRLs) or headlamps may function as front position lamps. If the DRLs function as front position lamps, they should dim when rear position lamps are switched on and may turn off when headlamps are switched on."

userblaven
Posted: 7 January 2019 12:03 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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As an aside, anyone doing a long trip in Norway or any Scandinavian country needs to carry several spares as (surprisingly) the roads esp. Norway are rougher than you’d think and it’s the law that all daytime driving has to be with dipped headlamps. From memory, I had three headlight bulbs go on me. Changing by the roadside became a fine art.
There’s a superb hardware shop chain in Scandinavia called Biltema for all your car needs. Spent many happy hours in them.
userCharles
Posted: 7 January 2019 12:47 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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Derek Uzzell - 2019-01-06 9:36 AM

Charles - 2019-01-05 2:23 PM

I wouldn't bother with after market ones yet, the problem I have with them is that they get hot, so obviously they're being driven hard...


That’s not my experience provided that the replacement bulbs retain the same wattage as the originals. I’ve been ‘uprating’ my vehicles’ headlamps and/or headlamp bulbs since the 1960s, and the only replacement bulbs that I’ve fitted that have become significantly hotter

......................................................................................................................



Sorry I meant LED 'upgrades' not bulbs

Edited by Charles 2019-01-07 12:48 AM
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 7 January 2019 7:12 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 


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Location: Herefordshire - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Yes, LED headlamp bulbs do get hot and normally require a large heat-sink and/or fan at their base to dissipate that heat.

This link should give an idea of what a minefield it can be replacing a conventional halogen bulb with a LED equivalent that makes a genuine improvement to night-time driving.

https://www.autobulbsdirect.co.uk/blog/are-led-headlight-bulbs-the-brightest/

The latest version of the Philips Ultinon LED H7 bulb referred to in the article will cost £150-£200 for a pair. As mentioned on the following link, the Philips LED bulb is not CEE-marked, won’t be road-legal and will quite likely provoke a lights error-message on recent-model vehicles unless something is done to prevent this happening.

https://www.powerbulbs.com/product/x-tremeultinon-gen2-led-headlight-bulbs-h7-twin
userBrock
Posted: 7 January 2019 12:27 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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Location: Wirral - 2013 Hymer BClass 504 130bhp


My Arto failed its MOT on lighting - one headlight was not bright enough but was still working. The night time visibility on my Hymer 544 was poor so I upgraded the bulbs. My optometrist aided the solution by slightly changing my spectacle lenses. He told me that my ageing eyes may not give adequate vision at night and allowing for the design of the cab, my prescription needed to be changed [better distance sight] to cope with the driver's field of vision [Hymer A-classes have a flat dash that blocks the 'near view' compared to a sloping dash].

So new bulbs should improve the night time visibility and an up to date eye test in which the optometrist also takes into account possible night time driving concerns.

To make sure that you can see as well as possible when driving at night a guide, the Eye Care Trust advises

- Make sure that your eyes are examined regularly
- Always wear an up-to-date pair of distance spectacles or contact lenses
- Keep a spare pair in the car if possible
- Do not use tinted lenses but have them anti-reflection coated if necessary
- Don't forget to keep the windscreen clean, inside and out, at all times
- Make sure your car's lighting is working properly
- Finally, if in doubt about the fitness of your vision for driving at night, seek your optometrist's advice.

https://www.eyecaretrust.org.uk/view.php?item_id=52

Edited by Brock 2019-01-07 12:29 PM
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 7 January 2019 5:15 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 


500050005000500100100252525
Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


A bit of further research (especially here: http://tinyurl.com/ycc75ae5 - it is long and somewhat technical, but ultimately very clear) reveals this to be a widespread - and well understood - problem.

High output headlamps, plus LED DRLs, are widely acknowledged as causing visual disadvantage and dazzle to oncoming drivers. As more cars now have this lighting combination from new, the problem can only get worse.

It seems clear from this string (and elsewhere) that many have assumed the fault lies with their own headlamps/eyesight, causing them to pursue ways to increase their available headlamp light output.

From what I have read it seems clear this merely makes the problem worse for other road users, because the beam control that can be achieved, plus the resulting higher intensity of light output achieved, merely adds to the levels of glare and dazzle.

Headlamp alignment requirements need to be revised, and the 2016 MoT headlamp test revision now seeks to improve on the previously accepted standard. The downside is that this will take some time to work through (especially newer cars whose first MoTs are not due until three years from first registration).

However, it also seems clear that individuals seeking rationally to counter the problem (for themselves) while unintentionally contributing to it (for others) can only result in an unwinnable headlamp brightness arms-race.

This issue needs to be brought up at every opportunity, and relentlessly pressed home to the authorities, until some further controls are introduced to increase general night time driving safety, to the great advantage of us all. Any thoughts?
usertonyishuk
Posted: 7 January 2019 7:06 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 


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Posts: 2015
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Location: Horsham, SX.(10 Rapido 7090F)


I have enough problems with Dashboard "advisory warning" light coming up, without adding more troubles through changing to led bulbs

Rgds
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 7 January 2019 8:05 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 
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Location: The Lot


Thank you all for such a brilliant response, our Fabia has seperate bulbs for dipped and main beams and they both seem as bad, and just to clarify our DRLs go off when the headlights are switched on. I am a bit of a fetishist about cleaning the headlamps quite often when I drive, and to me the headlamps still look quite bright and sparkly, so I really think it's down to the bulbs. I really don't remember the lights being too bad when we first bought it 4 years ago, so may be it is just natural drop off of performance with time. I have decided to try some higher spec replacement bulbs as a straight replacement for the existing ones. We are 600 miles from our nearest Halfords so I will try Le Clerc Auto in Cahors next time we go that way., and see how we get on.

Many thanks good friends for your invaluable information and advice.

AGD
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 8 January 2019 8:34 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Headlight bulbs.
 


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Location: Herefordshire - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


You need to be careful about what you buy, as I recall a review (Which? magazine?) where some bulbs marketed as having a higher light-output proved to be no more powerful than the ‘standard’ bulbs fitted by car manufacturers as original equipment.

Philips “RacingVision” H4 and H7 bulbs are available (and one - or both - of those bulb-types should be suitable for your Fabia’s 2-bulb headlamps) and obtainable via Amazon (France). Personally, I would never seek buying advice from Halfords staff in the UK, let alone from equivalent French automotive outlets - but that’s up to you.
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