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Thread: IIHS test of headlamp performance

  1. #1

    Default IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Watching the news this morning I saw a report of the IIHS testing headlaml performance on new cars. You can find an article here- http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/51/3/1.

    They test around 30 new midsize cars and give ratings based on high and low beam approximate seeing distance based on distance of a 5 lux measurement. They are somewhat vague on the details but say they are measured on straight and curved approach vectors with high and low beams with more weight given to straight line distance and low beams. They say they measure for excessive glare on low beams bit I don't see and specifics on how. They also test the performance of auto beam switching and curve adaptive lamp systems but not much detail is given. Also they do NOT check for optimal aim , instead testing how they come from the factory. They say because most consumers will not have the aim checked and they should come properly aimed from the factory for this reason.

    The only lamps to recieve a good rating were the optional led lamps on the new prius. They say the worst performing are the bmw 3 series halogens and give a great deal of cars marginal to poor ratings ( with the best available option of lights installed).

    Personally I am happy to see any attention brought to the state of headlamp performance and while I am not sure if their test methods are the best ( particularly the 5lux threshold and the lack of optimal aim) I would really like to hear what others think about this?

  2. #2
    Flashaholic wws944's Avatar
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    I was about to post this too.

    All I can say is its about fricken' time someone pulled the NHTSAs pants down on this. They have been ignoring the problem for decades.
    "Your light emits unnecessary heat" - Zar

  3. #3
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Did they do a SPD analysis of the light? Not all photons are equal.
    http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr5103.pdf
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 03-30-2016 at 08:11 AM. Reason: Removed unnecessary and unfounded editorializing

  4. #4

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    If studies such as this can better a consumers knowledge then I welcome it.
    It would be interesting to know how many buyers even consider a vehicle lights before they make a purchase.
    Some of my vehicles have after market lighting inorder to get adaquate lighting. I feel this should not be needed for a family, on highway vehicle.
    Last edited by fastgun; 03-30-2016 at 09:08 AM.

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    Flashaholic wws944's Avatar
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    A few more details on their test procedures here: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/51/3/1

    It would be interesting to know how many buyers even consider a vehicle lights before they make a purchase.
    It seems almost impossible. Car magazine reviews are far more interested in reporting 0-60, 1/4 mile, skid pad, and braking times. So no help there.
    "Your light emits unnecessary heat" - Zar

  6. #6

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Some of the results on this test were surprising - particularly from the perspectives that 1) a car's upgraded headlights should be better than its base headlights and 2) that a more expensive car should generally have better headlights than a less expensive car.

    For example, the basic halogen lights on the Honda Accord were among the best they tested. In fact, they appeared to be the best base-model headlights available. By contrast, the LEDs on the Touring model were markedly inferior at almost every angle. (This was a surprise to me, as I have a 2013 Touring model and think that its headlights are superb - note that they are of a different design than the 2016+.)

    Similarly, the basic light setup on the Lexus ES - LED lows, halogen highs - proved to be rather good. However, the bi-LED available on the top models was similarly inferior.

    On the Subaru Outback, the *halogen* lights actually illuminated further out than the HIDs in a straight line but were penalized for excessive glare.

    It was a bad day for North American automakers, as neither Ford nor Chrysler achieved better than "marginal" and GM, whether Chevy, Buick or Cadillac, was stuck in "poor".

    The test itself seems to be very difficult. Only one headlight system out of 82 tested received the "good" score, and even it failed to do so on the basis of its illumination alone but relied on extra points from an automatic high-beam system. I'm hoping that this, as well as the proposed NHTSA standards, leads to significant improvement in headlamps over the next few years.
    Last edited by MTerrence; 03-30-2016 at 10:19 AM.

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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    They should test with the "factory headlamp aim" and then test again after a "corrected aim".

  8. #8
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Selections from autonews.com article
    ...Some headlights are inadequate because they are not aimed properly at the factory. "Many headlight problems could be fixed with better aim," said IIHS engineer Matthew Brumbelow.
    The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement Tuesday that its revised new car assessment program will give incentives for automakers to improve headlight performance.
    "NHTSA is committed to promoting a higher standard of safety, including in headlighting systems," spokesman Bryan Thomas said….
    http://www.autonews.com/article/2016...nce-group-says


    Anyone know how headlamps are aimed on the automotive assembly line?
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 03-30-2016 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Cleanup/removing FONT/COLOR tagging

  9. #9

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    I watched a video on the assembly of the corvette......they do check and align the headlights at the end of the manufacturing process.

  10. #10

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Is this a case of poor headlight design or lights aimed too low at the factory?

  11. #11

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by SubLGT View Post
    Anyone know how headlamps are aimed on the automotive assembly line?
    Your question is ambiguous. If "how" means what method is used to check headlamp aim, it's generally done with an optical aiming machine as one of the last stations on the assembly line. If "how" means what angle are they set to, that's very variable. It's left to the manufacturer's discretion; there is no Federal requirement that the lamps be set to any particular aim angle when they're installed on the vehicle, only when they're tested by themselves off the vehicle. Believe it or not, many new vehicles leave the factory with the aim set lower than the nominal "correct" setting for the type of headlamp. Some leave the factory with the aim set higher than "correct". And then the car gets to the selling dealer, and who knows what goofy adjustments they make. And then the consumer comes back complaining about the headlamps and who knows what quick and random adjustments the service department makes. Or Norm Newcar gets home and shines the lights on his garage door and fiddles with the aim screws until he has them where he thinks he wants them.

  12. #12

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Virgil,

    Do you have any opinion on the design of the test, its results, or its implications for cars in the future? Given what you've written on this subject in the past, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 04-01-2016 at 10:11 AM. Reason: Removed empty quote and replaced with directly addressing Virgil

  13. #13

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    I am now curious how the hids in my f150 would fare in this test. I find them to be pretty good except for the extreme cutoff to the sides which can make some turns, turns into black. Would trucks have better ratings just based on the lights being higher off the road?

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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    2nd group of test results have been released, for small SUVs.


    IIHS.org
    "...Not a single small SUV out of 21 tested earns a good rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's headlight evaluations, and only four are available with acceptable-rated headlights…"

    "...Among the 21 vehicles, there are 47 different headlight combinations available. More than two-thirds of them are rated poor, making this group of vehicles even more deficient when it comes to lighting than the midsize cars that were the first to be rated earlier this year…."

    "...Seventeen of the rated SUV headlight combinations have unacceptable glare. They include all types of lights — halogen, HID and LED — and none of the headlight types is more likely than the others to have excessive glare. Three of the 17 fell short of an acceptable rating on the basis of glare alone…"

    IIHS plans to conduct headlight tests on pickups next
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 07-12-2016 at 10:38 AM. Reason: Removed font/color tagging

  15. #15

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    This is getting really "interesting" (in multiple senses of the word). It's certainly waking up some sleeping dogs. I'm not very surprised by any of the particular findings; a lot of low beam headlamps really are not adequate for the job we demand of them.

    Take a look at the 2016 Jeep Wrangler, large H13 reflector system, to pick an example off their "Poor" list. The 5-lux distance on low beam is 71.4 meters (234) for the right edge of the road, 47.2 meters (155 feet) for the left edge of the road. Including the average reaction time of 2.3 seconds from the time we see an obstacle to the time we begin to brake the vehicle, and assuming we come to the fastest possible stop without skidding, we need a little over 355 feet to stop from 60 mph; we hit whatever we saw at the right side of the road a hundred and twenty-one feet back that-a-way. If we want to stop within the seeing distance provided by the headlights along the right side of the road, we can't go faster than a hair over 44 mph. For the left side of the road we have to keep it below about 32 mph. And that's with brand-new headlamps, bulbs, and electrical system; all of those things deteriorate with age. How many '07-'16 Jeep Wranglers have you seen on the roads going faster than 32 or 44 miles an hour?

    Take an example off the "Acceptable" list, the 2017 Ford Escape with Bi-Xenon headlamps. It gives 95.6 meters (314 ft) for the right edge of the road, 49.7 meters (163 ft) for the left edge. That allows a little under 34 mph to avoid hitting an obstacle on the left side of the road, a shade under 55 mph for an obstacle on the right side of the road. Obviously just about everyone exceeds those speeds on a regular basis.

    Would trucks have better ratings just based on the lights being higher off the road?
    It depends on how they're aimed.

    I am now curious how the hids in my f150 would fare in this test
    I'm curious to see how the highfalutin LED headlamps on the current F150 do compare to the base halogens!

  16. #16
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    And that's with brand-new headlamps, bulbs, and electrical system; all of those things deteriorate with age. How many '07-'16 Jeep Wranglers have you seen on the roads going faster than 32 or 44 miles an hour?
    And how many of them have their dash lights all the way up, the passenger Facebooking on their brightly-lit phone, and perhaps a few sets of headlamps shining in their side- and rear-view mirrors? How clean are their windshields?

    I'm curious to see how the highfalutin LED headlamps on the current F150 do compare to the base halogens!
    I would really not be surprised at all to learn "not very well"-- using LEDs doesn't necessarily mean using any better than a compliant design. So long as marketing and the design teams outvote the actual engineers, this is bound to happen.

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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    And how many of them have their dash lights all the way up, the passenger Facebooking on their brightly-lit phone, and perhaps a few sets of headlamps shining in their side- and rear-view mirrors? How clean are their windshields?


    I would really not be surprised at all to learn "not very well"-- using LEDs doesn't necessarily mean using any better than a compliant design. So long as marketing and the design teams outvote the actual engineers, this is bound to happen.
    So now we have a Police State on what lights should be like in the cab. of the auto!
    So all the Headlights are aimed perfect-lets say-what happens when people pack stuff in their trunk of the car or load down a box in the back of a truck-blows everything. Factor no gas in the tank very little, then the new buyer fills the tank-blows everything again.
    People worry about something real in life instead of -O that car has some blue headlights or that car the lights are to bright on the dash!

  18. #18
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by irongate View Post
    So now we have a Police State on what lights should be like in the cab. of the auto!
    No, we don't have a police state. Those words don't mean what you think they mean.

    So all the Headlights are aimed perfect-lets say-what happens when people pack stuff in their trunk of the car or load down a box in the back of a truck-blows everything. Factor no gas in the tank very little, then the new buyer fills the tank-blows everything again.
    Some of the more advanced headlighting systems can accomodate for that automatically. But the point of the IIHS testing is to reveal that some headlighting systems are pretty poor in general. Obviously, establishing a good baseline aim is important. While additional temporary loading, more passengers, different states of the fuel tank, etc can cause changes in vehicle stance, it is critical the original aim is set correctly.

    People worry about something real in life instead of -O that car has some blue headlights or that car the lights are to bright on the dash!
    You were just saying that worrying about how bright someone's dashboard lights were was somehow introducing a police state.
    As the driver of the car, it's within your purview to ask your passengers to dim their screens or angle them where they don't shine in your eyes. You gain considerable ability to see better at night when your dashboard lights are dim or off. And a clean windshield, inside and out, is also beneficial in all driving conditions.

    This is the very last in this thread we will see anything about a "police state" or any other related words or phrases.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 07-12-2016 at 02:10 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    This is interesting, I have been complaining about the headlights on my 2014 Wrangler since I bought it. I know Jeep has a large aftermarket following, but I don't want to have to buy aftermarket headlights as soon as I buy a vehicle. In fact, the headlights on my old Honda were way better.

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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by mick238 View Post
    I am now curious how the hids in my f150 would fare in this test. I find them to be pretty good except for the extreme cutoff to the sides which can make some turns, turns into black...
    The F150 has an option for factory HIDs?

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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Just a tidbit from the IIHS test protocol:

    "...Headlights are tested as received from the dealer. Although many headlight problems could be resolved by adjusting the aim of the lamps, IIHS doesn't change headlight aim. Few vehicle owners adjust the vertical aim of their headlights, so leaving the aim the way it was set at the factory makes the testing more realistic. Horizontal aim also is important, but in most vehicles it can't be changed after the initial factory setting.
    Readings are taken 10 inches from the ground for visibility and 3 feet, 7 inches from the ground for glare…"




  22. #22

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    I would like to see what the results showed which vehicle as being the "best". (Car, pickup, SUV, and even motorcycle)

  23. #23

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    This is interesting, I have been complaining about the headlights on my 2014 Wrangler since I bought it. I know Jeep has a large aftermarket following, but I don't want to have to buy aftermarket headlights as soon as I buy a vehicle.
    Your choices are to buy better headlamps or keep living with the poor factory items. If you choose to buy better headlamps, shop carefully and consult a bona fide expert; there are tons of offerings on the market, all hyped as an "upgrade", most of which are junk,.

    The F150 has an option for factory HIDs?
    The previous-generation F150 did, yes. The new one has base halogens or optional LEDs.

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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance


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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    The pickup truck ratings have been released:
    http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/deskto...ihs-tests-show

    Of the 23 tested combinations of truck/headlights, 14 had excessive glare.
    The F150 LED headlights had both excessive glare and inadequate illumination.

  26. #26

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by SubLGT View Post
    The pickup truck ratings have been released:
    http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/deskto...ihs-tests-show

    Of the 23 tested combinations of truck/headlights, 14 had excessive glare.
    The F150 LED headlights had both excessive glare and inadequate illumination.
    Sad! No wonder truck drivers are always monkeying around with their headlights and ill-advised modifications - in spite of their natural mounting height advantage, they still can't get the job done. On some of these models, too, the high beams are darned near useless.

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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by SubLGT View Post
    The F150 LED headlights had both excessive glare and inadequate illumination.
    I wish I were surprised, but Ford's been a bit dim when it comes to headlamps. They've done some headlamp blunders (then again, they ALL have) but Ford's come up with some doozies (mostly because they optimize for low cost and long life from halogen-based lamps. Now they optimise for not caring at all about performance so long as the switch makes the lights come on with these LED lamps.

  28. #28

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by MTerrence View Post
    Sad! No wonder truck drivers are always monkeying around with their headlights and ill-advised modifications - in spite of their natural mounting height advantage, they still can't get the job done. On some of these models, too, the high beams are darned near useless.
    Agreed. The highbeams added absolute no addition illumination on the Silverado. Im no headlight engineer but I really don't think it's that hard to make a highbeam that shines further than the lowbeam and still be compliant. Just looks like sloppy engineering combined with poor aim to me.

    In some of the headlights even reaiming them won't help as the beams have no reach yet still manage to produce excessive glare. If you aim the lights higher to see farther it seems the glare will also increase even more. You would have taken 2 steps forward and 2 steps back.
    Last edited by Magio; 10-25-2016 at 02:00 PM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Does excellent headlight design really cost an automobile manufacturer that much more than mediocre design, that it becomes prohibitive?

  30. #30

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    The recent tests rated headlights with "good" being the best.
    So far Toyota Prius V and Honda Ridgeline have received a "good" rating.
    In the current new vehicle market, both of these vehicle costs would qualify as being near average.
    Some vehicles costing much are more rated much worse.

    reading a 2017 Toyota report that said something along the lines of....perfected headlights on this model. I found this an interesting point to bring up.
    Normally the only discussion that the rags talk about is the new LED or what ever technology. I am glad that the headlight quality is finally brought up.

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