View Full Version : Are there really 200 headlight bulbs??

29th Sep 2005, 07:22
Just read the Sunday Times motoring section in which there was a discussion on the price of car spare parts.

One claim was that a replacement xenon headlight bulb for some types of car could cost you close to 200!

Anyone know whether this is for real?

29th Sep 2005, 07:35
God! My whole isn't worth that!

29th Sep 2005, 07:37
If there are, I've got a $10.00 baseball bat that I will gladly use on them.

29th Sep 2005, 07:37
Or even my whole car !

Slight Freudian slip in my previous!!:}

29th Sep 2005, 07:45
I had an Audi A6 demonstrator recently with xenon headlamps and I thought they were poor compared to my normal halogens , they were about 450 as an extra!! I think its a fad, and a triumph of form over function.

29th Sep 2005, 10:00
I dunno, but I paid $27 for 2 extra light blue Xenon bulbs last week and for some reason they both blew when I stuck em in ! Lesson, don't but expensive bulbs, cos it aint worth it !

29th Sep 2005, 21:21
Had to replace a brake light bulb in my boring 8 year old Nissan a year ago - $3.50 I think. Apart from that, only tyres oil, fluids, plugs and filters have been replaced, and no rust. Still has the original battery as well.

Nissans have timing chains too - no cam belts - have to be replaced at 300,000km :ok:

Very boring...:zzz:

29th Sep 2005, 21:27
Yorks.ppl. As well as the bulbs Zenon headlamps have to have a self-levelling system for the headlamp reflectors so that will account for most of the cost.

29th Sep 2005, 21:35

I think you are confusing the 'real' Xenon systems with the poor illusion that is made by the likes of halfrauds etc selling headlamp bulbs that are so called Xenon.

Real Xenon systems dont really have a 'bulb'


29th Sep 2005, 22:01
I don't know about car headlight bulbs, but the most expensive bulb I ever came across was one for a Japanese-made marine search-light. Not even an officially-approved Suez Canal one. Over $700 for that particular xenon bulb. As it turned out, the problem wasn't the bulb but the ballast unit... :rolleyes:

Edited to respond: Real Xenon systems dont really have a 'bulb' I'd have to get the old Bible out, but as a matter of interest, on which of the 6 days did Xenon create light... :O

29th Sep 2005, 22:09
I think its a fad, and a triumph of form over function.

Then you haven't lived with a set, if you had you may well change your mind.

The only complaint I have is that because of the self levelling system the beam cannot be lowered as it can on some cars meaning that on an uneven road the bouncing car will often dazzle the poor sod in front and the one coming the other way i.e. the beams are too high in some conditions.

Conan the Librarian
29th Sep 2005, 22:15
Must admit it - I am a headlight fetishist. There! It is out in the open now!

Thing is, that the headlights on a lot of especially modern cars, are crap. Simple as that. The designer specs little fashionable beemy weemies and even if you put a laser in place, there is no nice big reflector to give you that illumination on the nearside. I once nearly hit a drunk, wearing black, on a bike with no lights in the middle of Fairford one night. I missed him by a fag papers breadth and it has lived with me ever since. So!! First job, is to make sure that the twinkly bits on any car that I own, twinkle a bit brighter. I go to PIAA who have more bulbs, lights and what have you, to spend, spend spend. It ain't cheap, but I owe it to my fellow humans, even if they are legless and riding their sons' BMX with no brain cells plugged in.

Rant over, so I think I will peddle off.


29th Sep 2005, 22:39
Conan, it would appear to me that the problem lies less with your car's illumination than the (lack of) reflectivity of bike riders in the dark. The wearing of "high reflectivity" jackets should be made mandatory by night-time road users. It may not help in all situations but I was stone-cold sober (once) when going through the Messina Strait when I thought I saw a small fishing vessel just ahead and made a rapid 180. On arrival in Greece, there were remnants of a fishing net around one of the shafts. No sign of wreckage caught on the anchor flukes though... :E

29th Sep 2005, 22:46
Real Xenon systems dont really have a 'bulb'

Of course they do, otherwise the xenon gas would escape.
They don't have a filament maybe.


30th Sep 2005, 00:07
Yer can't test a xenon bulb like you would a normal "filament" bulb...

30th Sep 2005, 01:14
reynoldsno1 is obviously not a real airline Capt. Why pay 3.50 for a light bulb when you can get them for nowt down at the scrap yard? he probably buys his own newspapers as well!!

30th Sep 2005, 02:49
Don't like the xenon lights. They bother my eyes.

Perhap I shouldn't mention the time I mounted a B737 landing light on the grill. Lit up the countryside it did. Never used if there was any other traffic of course but was great for country roads. Had to be careful about not melting the grill.

30th Sep 2005, 09:41
I ordered xenon lamps for our then-new VW Passat. (These were on the dipped beam only, where the later ones operate on both dip and main.) All in all, I find them okay, but not that much better than conventional halogen lamps, certainly not in a cost/benefit sense.

The very latest systems have the ability to follow your steering inputs and also to dip or rise according to the speed of the vehicle. (This is something I am dying to try, just as soon as She Who Must Be Obeyed signs off on a new car. Thanks to some slight difficulties with the German version of Inland Revenue this may, like Captain Oates, be some time.) It is all very gee-whiz and state-of-the-art, done with prisms and I don't know what.

It is an EU requirement that all xenon lamps also have a system to wash the lens. I know the car has an automatic self-levelling system for the lamps as well, so I assume that is also a requirement.

My BMW motorcycle, an R1100S, has a very poor headlamp. I was toying with the idea of putting in one of these after-market xenon lamp systems, available in the UK for about 200 pounds, but I think that would make the machine technically illegal in Germany. (You Brits are allowed all sorts of modifications that are forbidden in Germany. Even the fitting of different tires can be 'streng verboten!', hence the lurid paint jobs that many Germans splurge on for their bikes, since this is one of the few areas free of control.)

As pointed out, the bulb has no filament. Instead it uses a high-voltage arc. The boy racers fit filament bulbs with xenon gas in the envelope or else ones with a blue coating, but these have no functional value. The real thing uses less current and is supposed to last the life of the vehicle. The quality of the light is a bit better, I think, but that's arguable. It can annoy other motorists.

I ended up buying a relatively cheap (and legal) accessory lamp that fits on the lower triple clamp and gives a flood of light to fill in some of the darker areas the normal lamps on the R1100S cannot reach. What I would really like to do is fit the lighting unit from a Honda Blackbird, say, but that's just unworkable in terms of time, effort and expense. I shall be interested to see how the lighting is on the new R1200S, which should be out soon.

1st Oct 2005, 23:06
Why pay 3.50 for a light bulb when you can get them for nowt down at the scrap yard?
I told the FO to do that, but he is soooooo unreliable..... he did a good job of mowing the lawn though......

1st Oct 2005, 23:19
Someone told me top of the range Merc. light assembly was 5000 to replace.

Ranger 1
1st Oct 2005, 23:52
We had big probs with the Hi tec bulbs, in our Land Rover Discovery at work on the airfield they would not last much more than 2 weeks, due to the off road conditions ended up costing us the only answer was to change the whole Head light assemblies to accept Halogen bulbs which was done under warrantee, not a lot of difference between 'em at all.
The current vehicle I am working on has Quartz Iodine bulbs:cool: :cool:

Out Of Trim
2nd Oct 2005, 12:28
I also like to upgrade my headlights from the standard Halogens - Indeed some of the Halfords blue and Xenon filled bulbs offer little or no improvement. But, if you do a little research; Auto Express or rather their German sister magazine did a comprehensive test on various brands and found a surprising amount of difference between them. (it's available online too)

I paid around 12 each for some Osram Silverstar Xenon bulbs that were recommended. These claim to put around 50% more light on the road depending on the vehicle and are EC legal.

And indeed, they have definitely improved the beam spread on the road with dipped beam. :ok:

Lon More
2nd Oct 2005, 18:46
I've got Xenon lights on my Renault Avantime, they seem to take a few seconds to come up to temperature and self level. A very even light spread, only problem is car is LHD and when in UK it seems to upset a few people, even though the beam is "flat". I was advised not to put a mask over the lmp to cut down on the beam as overheating and failure could occur,
I read somewhere recently that the blue replacement lamps from places like Halfords were to become illegal
A discussion of reasons for price (http://http://www.tyresmoke.net/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Number=217072)

2nd Oct 2005, 19:24
A discharge of P.D several thousand volts will not kill you, it is the current that kills, and the frequency.

4th Oct 2005, 19:21
A bit off topic however:
Most current Follow spotlights used at your local concert or theatre are Zenon lamped. When we need to change the lamp, (envelope, whatever you wish to call it) we must first get decked out in complete protective gear -- Thick sholder length gloves, a chest protector which strongly resembles body armor, and a thick full-face shield. Obviously it's not the voltage we're worried about but rather the high pressure the Zenon gas is under inside the envelope. We've been told that when broken, a Zenon lamp of that size closely approximates a bomb with shards of glass / pyrex flying everywhere. Granted, this lamp is close to 20 inches in length and close to a soda-can at it's widest point but you get the idea.


A10 Thundybox
6th Oct 2005, 01:21
Excellent for seeing through fog they are...
Annoying when a Xenon car is behind you on a bumpy road as they strobe with the bumps.
Safer? not really you may be able to see more but the dazzle from them means that the guy heading towards you at max chat may just miss the gap he's aiming for!

I've got Xenon, I prefer Halogen, I think they are safer and cheaper.