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Thread: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    One of my H13 headlight bulbs burned out recently and I figured since they are just over 3 years old, I'd change both.

    I changed out the burned out bulb with a Sylvania Xtravision tonight, since I got a warning from the police last night (could have been an $85 fine ).

    When I was out tonight, I could not really see a difference in brightness between the older bulb and the new one.

    Does it make sense to change the other one, since it probably is dimmer due to age?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Long-life bulbs do live long enough to go dim, but the main reason to replace both is that the other one is soon to burn out, too. The best H13 is this one.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    I'd just get another xtravision. They're usually $20 for a two pack, $10 for a single.

    IIRC the Xtravisions are +30 bulbs. Not bad for the price.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    I was cheap and just changed one burned bulb. Drove the car for another few months like that and then the transmission fell off on the highway and the car is now junk. Pretty glad I didn't replace both.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Except in cases of obvious premature failure, I always change the corresponding bulb in left/right pairs when one burns out for the reason Scheinwerfermann pointed out.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    The last time I had a headlight go out I only replaced one even though the guy at the auto parts store advised me to replace both of them. About a month later, the other headlight went out. Could have been dumb luck but I will replace both in the future.

  7. #7
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    Default

    just a few weeks ago, one H7 of my mum's car quit.
    I changed both and the wire of the still working one looked weird.
    ... makes no sense not to change both - they are used the same time and have about the same abuse and lifetime

    a very nice example for anyone to get a look at really "almost dead" bulbs. Easily visible

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    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Another vote for changing both at the same time.

    Aside from the imbalance in brightness, your hands are already getting dirty and scraped up from it; might as well get it all done at once so you can go another three years before changing the bulbs.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Hawk View Post
    The last time I had a headlight go out I only replaced one even though the guy at the auto parts store advised me to replace both of them. About a month later, the other headlight went out. Could have been dumb luck but I will replace both in the future.
    How is it "dumb luck"? Light bulbs have a certain lifespan rating, and if the one bulb reached the end of its lifetime, statistically speaking the other one is also going to fail within a few operating hours. While at the time it may have seemed that he was trying to maximize the sale, he was actually doing you a favor.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    How is it "dumb luck"? Light bulbs have a certain lifespan rating, and if the one bulb reached the end of its lifetime, statistically speaking the other one is also going to fail within a few operating hours. While at the time it may have seemed that he was trying to maximize the sale, he was actually doing you a favor.
    You are correct. I have since replaced headlight bulbs in pairs.
    I learned my lesson the first time.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    I would say change both if the are well into the lifetime of the bulbs but you have a premature burnout just change that one.
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  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Arc View Post
    I would say change both if the are well into the lifetime of the bulbs but you have a premature burnout just change that one.
    My own method is to replace both as a pair, but keep the working leftover as a spare (and keep it in the vehicle). At least that spare will see you home or to the parts store if you have to use it.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    I carry a spare headlight bulb and the tools to change it in the vehicle all the time. Got pulled over once and got out of a fix-it ticket because I was able to show the officer I had the replacement already, right then and there, just wanted to drive home so I could do the work in a safe, warm, dry garage instead of a 7-11 parking lot.

    I advocate changing both at once, but usually I get lazy and only change the one that burned out.
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    Flashaholic Apollo Cree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by generallobster View Post
    I was cheap and just changed one burned bulb. Drove the car for another few months like that and then the transmission fell off on the highway and the car is now junk. Pretty glad I didn't replace both.
    It's well known that replacing only one headlight bulb will unbalance the vehicle and cause vibration that will shake the transmission causing it to fall out of the vehicle.

    I've never had any car where the headlights seemed to fail on any particular schedule. If they were cheap and easy to change, I'd change both. Otherwise, I'd just change one. Then if the old one looked less bright, I'd change the old one.

    Maybe more "modern" or "high end" headlights have a higher and more predictable failure rate.
    If once you start down the light path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel_Bomber View Post
    I carry a spare headlight bulb and the tools to change it in the vehicle all the time.

    As do I (its easy on many vehicles anyways). Unless you are prophylactically changing them or doing it as an upgrade I see no necessity to replace them in uniform if you are carrying a spare. Takes 5 minutes, at most, on many of these new cars with plastic housing anyways.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by poormanq45 View Post
    I'd just get another xtravision. They're usually $20 for a two pack, $10 for a single.

    IIRC the Xtravisions are +30 bulbs. Not bad for the price.
    They are $17 a piece up here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck91 View Post
    Takes 5 minutes, at most, on many of these new cars with plastic housing anyways.
    I wish mine was that easy to change.

    I had to remove 3 fasteners, pull down the fender liner, reach inside the wheel well "blind" and remove the old one. Reverse to install the new one.

    Took half an hour to change, thankfully it was only -7C when I changed it out.

    I'd like to get hold of the clown that came up with that design for changing a light bulb.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Well that just plain old sucks, Black Rose! My Crown Vic and my Mustang wre/are both rediculously easy to change. Even my firebird was easy, though a little more involved.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* LukeA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Rose View Post
    I'd like to get hold of the clown that came up with that design for changing a light bulb.
    You should try changing a battery in a Chrysler.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* John_Galt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    My dad has always changed both at the same time. He puts the unburned out bulb back in the casing for the new bulbs, and puts it in his tool box (in the trunk). It makes sense, to me. If a new one burns out somewhere, you have a back up until you can buy a new set.
    I love my HDS/Ra Clicky... My only wish would be a 5th(accessible thru a 2click press) mode, and a 2AA tube.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    A couple years ago I changed both headlights in my Jeep Grand Cherokee. One side was really easy and quick. The other bulb required removal of battery and took a little while longer.
    Last year I polished the plastic cover on the headlights and that really helped as they were quite faded.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    Long-life bulbs do live long enough to go dim, but the main reason to replace both is that the other one is soon to burn out, too.
    You were right on that one. The other bulb burned out last night.

    I had purchased two bulbs when the first bulb had burned out, but I was debating taking the second bulb back. It's a good thing I didn't.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* John_Galt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Or you could "spice up" the look of the road like this guy, and replace one stock HID with a much higher *Kelvin HID bulb.
    http://www.wikihow.com/Change-the-HI...n-a-2007-Prius
    I love my HDS/Ra Clicky... My only wish would be a 5th(accessible thru a 2click press) mode, and a 2AA tube.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic tay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    I really don't understand why people think 4300k is "yellow" and 6000k is "white".

    I've used all sorts of OEM and aftermarket 4300k bulbs, and none of them have ever looked yellow to me, just white.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by tay View Post
    I really don't understand why people think 4300k is "yellow" and 6000k is "white".
    Because that's what the hucksters tell them to think. Same reason why people babble about "yellow" light from halogen headlamps and "clean, crisp, super white" light from HIDs or blue bulbs. "Clean" is not a quality of light, any more than "crunchy" is a taste. Same with "crisp".

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    "Clean" is not a quality of light, any more than "crunchy" is a taste. Same with "crisp".
    What about meltey? Mmmmmmm, meltey cheese.

    Although those 80/100W bulbs can cause crisp wires and meltey lenses...

    I suspect what a lot of people are seeing/misinterpreting as "dirty" or "yellow" light is just their bulbs not getting sufficient voltage. The "6000K" bulbs just mask it, and then they go driving at night and "crunch" into something because they couldn't see worth a bean.


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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Wow this crispy, crunchy, cheesy talk about auto bulbs is making me hungry.
    I guess it all depends on how bright you want your lights, what are your opinions on LED?
    I'm a simple dude and Im just going with standard sylvania H13, they last longer than any brighter halogen and i don't need to install anything special. And changing both at the same time is a good idea, if one goes the other is probably not far behind.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 08-22-2012 at 07:25 PM. Reason: Remove attempted link spam

  27. #27

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedPhive View Post
    what are your opinions on LED?
    What about them? They do not (cannot) replace halogen bulbs, so...what about them?

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    I have no idea what RedPhive drives. It may be possible for him to buy and install something like those road legal JW Speaker headlights that Hilldweller has been using in his Jeep. But that's expensive.

    Or maybe he just doesn't realize you don't replace a halogen headlight bulb with LED or HID or anything else but the correct type of halogen bulb.

    It's my thought that, in general, the legal HID and LED headlights for most cars don't really make sound economic sense as a conversion. The exception would be where you have a very small charging system and really need the efficiency (motorcycles or old cars), so you're willing to pay for it. I confess that buying the expensive aftermarket HID headlamps for my Ford Crown Vic was motivated in large part by curiosity and my general enthusiasm for automotive lighting; even a 12 year old retired police car is definitely not short of electrical output.

    I do think that next time I wire a trailer, particularly a big one, I'll use LED tail/signal and marker lights. They're becoming more affordable, and it's worthwhile to reduce the electrical load on the tow vehicle(s).
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  29. #29

    Default Re: Headlight bulb burned out, change both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel_Bomber View Post
    I carry a spare headlight bulb and the tools to change it in the vehicle all the time. Got pulled over once and got out of a fix-it ticket because I was able to show the officer I had the replacement already, right then and there, just wanted to drive home so I could do the work in a safe, warm, dry garage instead of a 7-11 parking lot.

    I advocate changing both at once, but usually I get lazy and only change the one that burned out.
    Just thought I'd touch on this again, as this thread has come up. Since my quoted post above, I've had a headlight bulb go out, and then had it's mate on the other side of the vehicle also go out within a week. On two separate vehicles.

    I now change in pairs. Makes no sense to do it any other way.
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