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Thread: What's the best car headlight???

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    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Question What's the best car headlight???

    I want to replace the headlights in a 2005 Town and country LX minivan, what brand offers the most light output? Are sylvania Xtra vision the best or are there better ones?



    Thanks!
    AlexGT

    Edit: Not sure if I should post in general or the cafe. hmmm...

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???


  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* mdocod's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    as far as bulbs you can find in stores around town... GE nighthalks, and Silvania Silverstars both tend to be pretty good... I think Nighthalks usually sell at wallmart for around $25 a pair... and Silverstars sell for around $30... But I saw some Silverstars at a reduced price at checker auto recently- $23 a pair if memory serves me correctly.

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    Flashaholic ak645's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Sylvania Silverstars are the brightest street legal lights.Excellent tint.I have them in both ny cars.

    Andy

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    Flashaholic* Timson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    I presume you want to stick with a straight lamp swap and not go the whole hog - ie - replace system for full HID (The best)

    I use Philips 100W Lamps which are excellent performers.

    Just make sure your wiring loom and alternator is up to supplying twice the usual current. You might want to give them a miss if your headlamps have plastic lenses too!

    In fairness - the big differences in lighting performance come from the design of the vehicles reflector / optics.
    If the lights are badly designed...there's only so much improvement available by adding brighter lamps......You can't polish a turd......Is the phrase I was always told and in most cases that proves to be the case.


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    Flashaholic* pedalinbob's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    I have Silverstars in my car, and my wife's truck has the Xtravisions.

    The Silverstars are a bit whiter...perhaps a little brighter...but, I think the Xtravisions are excellent bang-for-the-buck lights.

    I don't really think the Silverstars are worth the extra cost.
    A pair cost me around $35 (pretty good deal) , and I think you can get the Xtravisions for about $20 - $24.

    Bob

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Just a thought but you might want to check in with your local road rally club for suggestions. Most auto parts stores carry crap for bulbs. They'll know the local places that carry decent bulbs or a good web site to go to. Hellas are good replacement bulbs that have higher wattage.

    Most stock headlight assemblies don't like real high wattage lights (too much plastic to deal with the extra heat). Good replacement lamps are the way to go but IMHO I think most of the supposedly high output lights are not higher wattage but just whiter or bluer. These mght help you see a little bit better but really just tend to tick off the other drivers on the road.

    The biggest bang for the buck? Simply aim the healights you already have properly. Find a flat parking lot, park about 20' away from the side of a building (no windows!), and aim the lights at the side of the building. The high beams ought to be forming a rectangular box that's a tad lower than the level of the lights. Low beams ought to be a bit lower and have more spread, but not too far to the left (duh!). A little spread to the right is OK so that you can see joggers, pets, disabled cars, deer, etc.

    Auxillary lights are the next best bet. They are not too expensive. Be sure that the alternator will handle the juice needed. Use the wiring harness and hardware that comes with the lights. It's made for that purpose. Use other stuff and you'll blow fuses, trip breakers, and burn up wire.

    The vast majority of stock driving or fog lights are totally worthless and only there for show. But do not go too far over board. There are a lot of morons around here who have high wattage driving lights that are not aimed and are way over DOT limits. That's just plain dangerous for other drivers.
    "Show them a light, and they'll follow it anywhere..."

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    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Thanks for the replies, I just want something a little bit brighter or whiter. I'm probably going to go with the silverstars.

    Thanks
    AlexGT

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    I'm going to make a lot of enemies by saying this, but Silverstars are NOT brighter. They use the same wattage as standard headlamps, 51W low beam, 60W high beam. They have a blue tint on them to make the color temp look hotter, and of course this blue tint absorbs some usable light. Do not fall for their marketing claims that they are "whiter" and "brighter," it's all 100% false. (Of course "whiter" is subjective, and as such, an easy scam to market without getting into legal trouble.)

    When I worked in the automotive industry my company had some of the then-new "hyper white" lamps tested, and the PIAAs were the best performers because they only lost 15% light ouput compared to stock uncoated lamps. The worst performers lost over 55% performance compared to uncoated. Back then, my favorite phrase was "Where can we get more of these placebos?"

    A couple others have suggested overwattage lamps, and these are about the only thing (except HIRs) that can output more light from the stock housing without going through a huge conversion. Of course, there are various safety issues that would have to be addressed (wiring capabilities, extra heat in the housing, etc).

    This company is not related to the forum, but they have a very knowledgeable sales staff:
    http://www.candlepowerinc.com/

    They're in Canada but friendly to U.S. sales.

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    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    I was told in the Hidplanet forum that Silverstars work by using a different filiment design which burns hotter (think Photoflood lamps vs a standard incandescent) and they tint them blue to bring the light level down to the point where it won't be too glareing to others. In case you're wondering; their life is also somewhat shorter than the standard Sylvania Halogen headlights.

    I put 9004 Xtravisions in my Dad's Corolla and they do seem brighter than stock but you'll notice the difference on the road. For best results; I heard that you should try re-aiming your headlights after changing the bulb.

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    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Quote Originally Posted by ak645
    Sylvania Silverstars are the brightest street legal lights.Excellent tint.I have them in both ny cars.
    I put some in my car after my wife complained she couldn't see well at night - what a difference! I had becomed used to them, but the other night I pulled in right next to my neighbors, who were just leaving - the difference between stock lamps and the SilverStars is just amazing! One happy user here.

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    I had Silverstars in a Caravan I used to own. If its something a little bit brighter and whiter you want than I think you will be happy with the SilverStars. They are a straight swap and legal too. Also on this topic I read somewhere that the Xtra Vision bulbs that we get in North America are the Silverstar bulbs that are marketed in Europe. Apparently the SilverStar bulb available in Europe does not have the blue tint like the ones we get in North America. I stand to be corrected on this though.

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    xtravision put out more lumens than any other of the same wattage.

    silverstars put out the prettiest color available within a group of the same wattage range, though significantly less lumen output due to the filter.

    your best bet for total output would be a projector retrofit with HID. but not sure if that's what you want to do to a T&C.

    if you only want to change bulbs, xtravision is the ticket.

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Another vote for silverstars.
    Last edited by Fenris; 07-31-2006 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Because I can't spell

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    I put in some silvania silver stars in my car after buying the extra-vision bulbs. I wouldn't say it's that much brighter, but they are definitely a less yellow color. It's nice, very white and very bright.

    It's supposed to put out the same amount of luminous flux as the other street legal halogen bulbs, but I see better in mose cases with it.

    what it does terrible on, is freshly paved freeways with the pitch-black tar. The higher wavelength light gets absorbed much quickly. One day I merged onto highway 980 afte they paved it and thought my lights went out at exactly the same time. it wasn't until I pased an older, more used streach that the road was lit up again.
    Last edited by 270winchester; 07-31-2006 at 05:18 PM.
    "a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen." -Warren vs District of Columbia, after three women were raped, beaten for 14 hours and police never came after numerous 911 calls were placed

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    The Silver stars are probably the best cheap option.

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    I noticed that the original poster was asking for a recent model minivan. If it uses H4 or H7 bulbs then the best bulb I have yet to see is the Osram Silver Star, not silvania, but Osram. Those things are danged white and bright and do cast a good coverage on the road.
    "a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen." -Warren vs District of Columbia, after three women were raped, beaten for 14 hours and police never came after numerous 911 calls were placed

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    *Flashaholic* PlayboyJoeShmoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Whatever is in my Ram is pretty good, but when I need to replace 'em I think Extravisions will be the ones.

    In my old '90 F350 I had a cloudy lense on one side. I was able to dremel a 9006 to go where a 9004 was and the extra watts on that side evened things up. If your vehicle uses 9004 it might be usefull to try that...
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Quote Originally Posted by HighLight
    Apparently the SilverStar bulb available in Europe does not have the blue tint like the ones we get in North America. I stand to be corrected on this though.
    Correct, they look like this: http://www.elfa.se/elfa-bin/dyndok.p...0&dok=4600.htm (I think you can order them on that site too if you want to.)

    According to lamp tests in some Swedish newspaper the Silver Stars are one of the best available, along with Philips Vision Plus. I know what I'll buy when I need a H4/H7 lamp...

    But when it comes to dim headlights it seems that the point you need to look at is: what voltage does the lamps really get? I have measured the voltage at the lamps in a number of cars, and a 1V drop between the lamp and battery seems to be about average in older cars, in newer it might even be worse. NOT good for the light output...

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    I you're in the US I'd recommend against using higher than standard wattage bulbs. The DOT code for headlights still puts a LOT of glare into the eye's of incoming drivers. This is from back before street signs were as reflective as they are now.

    Any bulb from Osram is usually great, also even going from generic Taiwan bulbs to German bulbs of the same rating can have a BIG difference. THe quality control and the internal reflectors make a difference. Also if the wiring harness from the facotry is lacking, lots of times running a new relay'd harness will increase output.

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    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Can someone explain the relay harness thing to prevent power loss? What relay to use how to set it up. Thanks!

    BTW the bulb is a 9007

    AlexGT
    Last edited by AlexGT; 08-01-2006 at 12:58 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Check out here for the relay wiring diagram. I use something similar I build in car.
    http://www.rallylights.com/useful_in...amp_wiring.htm

    Many cars out there run the full power load of the headlights thru the indash headlight switch. This causes a bunch of resistance so the lights don't see the full level of power the alternator is putting out. Using a Relay cuts that distance for power to travel WAY down, plus limits the number of connections the power has to go thru.
    hth,

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    I just removed the bulb and checked and the bulb is a H13, but the T&C user manual says its a 9007 are the 2 bulbs the same?

    I'm following an auction for silverstars but want to make sure.

    Thanks!
    AlexGT

  24. #24

    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    I'm surprised no one's mentioned Daniel Stern Lighting. The tech section is especially important. It includes wiring diagrams and discussions on color-coated bulbs and beam patterns.

    I'd stick with the stock bulbs. Maybe higher wattage, but never anything color coated. Definitely go for relays and big wires. If you do the work yourself you can easily rewire your headlights with Bosch 30 amp relays and 10awg wire, with the appropriate fuses, for about the same cost as a set of Silverstars. You'll be amazed at how white stock halogen bulbs look when they're actually getting their full rated voltage.


    Cheers!
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Quote Originally Posted by VWTim
    The DOT code for headlights still puts a LOT of glare into the eye's of incoming drivers. This is from back before street signs were as reflective as they are now.
    A spinoff on that would be to get a set of european headlights instead of the DOT-approved american ones. I have never had the "fortune" to ride in a car with DOT-lights at night since they're not road legal here, but from what I hear they are pretty useless compared to "E-code" european lights.

    But changing the entire headlights would be quite a bit more expensive than just changing lamps, and changing lamps is where we started this thread...

  26. #26

    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Silverstar is just another filter coated wannabe HID bulb.

    Get the GE Nighthawk or Sylvania XtraVision. They're basically the best non ricer bulb you can get.

    Diesel bomber, stock bulbs are usually rather pretty lame. They're "long life" bulb at the expense of output in order to minimize burn outs during warranty

  27. #27
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Quote Originally Posted by Handlobraesing

    Get the GE Nighthawk or Sylvania XtraVision. They're basically the best non ricer bulb you can get.
    I replaced my xtra-visions and the Silverstars let me see better at night...

    they are definitely NOT HID- wannabes. even though it is coated with blueish color, the light is white, not a tint of blue to it. from the receiving end of the beam it casts a very bright , white light. please don't compare it to the 4.99 Ebay Special.

    If you have driven with Silverstars and reached the "ricer look" conclusion then I want to know how white your other lights are. If you haven't actually seen them in operation, don't discriminate because of the color of its glass....
    Last edited by 270winchester; 08-02-2006 at 06:00 PM.
    "a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen." -Warren vs District of Columbia, after three women were raped, beaten for 14 hours and police never came after numerous 911 calls were placed

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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Quote Originally Posted by Flummo
    A spinoff on that would be to get a set of european headlights instead of the DOT-approved american ones. I have never had the "fortune" to ride in a car with DOT-lights at night since they're not road legal here, but from what I hear they are pretty useless compared to "E-code" european lights.

    But changing the entire headlights would be quite a bit more expensive than just changing lamps, and changing lamps is where we started this thread...
    Very true. I run E-codes in all my cars, but then they're older so much easier as they use standard 7" lights. With enough searching you can find E-code lamps for later model cars from Europe. Just remember, DON"T buy your lights from England, or in a RHD pattern, as the road sign glare will become oncoming driver glare.

  29. #29

    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    The blue coating makes the light whiter by taking away a portion of longer wavelength spectrum, thus reducing the total output. They're HID wannabe, because the only purpose of the blue coating is to mimic the color of HID. Taking away a portion of light does not increase lumen output, but rather reduces it.
    Last edited by Handlobraesing; 08-02-2006 at 06:05 PM.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic ak645's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best car headlight???

    Quote Originally Posted by Handlobraesing
    The blue coating makes the light whiter by taking away a portion of longer wavelength spectrum, thus reducing the total output. They're HID wannabe, because the only purpose of the blue coating is to mimic the color of HID. Taking away a portion of light does not increase lumen output, but rather reduces it.
    Have you seen the SilverStars in action? Are you speaking from personal experience?

    Andy

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