car tuning

5 Nov 2007

Headlight bulbs

The bulb went on the Audi for the second time in a couple of weeks. That will teach me not to use a second hand replacement bulb. This though forced me to go to the shop and buy a new one.

I didn't realise there were so many to choose from. There were economy bulbs, expensive bulbs, high power bulbs, off road bulbs, bulbs with a whiter light and bulbs with a blueish light. This is starting to sound like a washing powder commercial!

To say I was confused would be an understatement, I hadn't even got to the part where I had to get a bulb which was compatible with my car yet. I decided that the blue tint didn't work - the light still looked white. I also rejected any that were not street legal because of the hassle of changing them again at MOT time. I went for some Phillips 80% brighter lights after an hours indecision reading the box and seeing what other people were buying.

I asked if this was the right bulb for my car, and was told it wasn't. When they showed me the recommended bulb I could tell it would not fit my car. So having looked at the 3 sizes available we decided between us that this was the correct one for my car.

Now came the part I always hate, paying for them. I was a little surprised that they cost so much. I could fit energy saving bulbs to my entire house for less money, and still have enough left over for a bag of chips, but I hoped that "one gets what one pays for" applies here also. I fitted the bulb, and although I brought a pair, I just replaced the defective one and left the other bulb in.

I wanted to see if the extra money was actually well spent. I turned on the lights to compare them and walked away from the car. They both seemed pretty dim to me! I had forgot to run the engine. The car only puts its sidelights on without the engine running. So back I went, started the engine and went back to my vantage point.

Was it brighter? Yes, I could clearly determine from a number of angles that the new bulb was indeed brighter! Was it 80% brighter? To be honest I haven't a clue, I might get a light meter on it sometime but visually it was brighter. Now the crunch question was it worth the small mortgage?

I had been hoping for something so bright that people would be opening their curtains and waking up in the mistaken belief it was morning. Alas this did not happen. It was just another car with its headlights on. So in conclusion it was better but probably not £30 better. Go for something better than standard bulbs but bear in mind that nothing is going to be worth more than 30% over the cost of the standard bulb.

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