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Thread: IIHS test of headlamp performance

  1. #61

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    That's a really detailed sketch of the state of headlamps, and it looks like the US auto industry is still up to its same old greedy "packaging" ploy: if you want headlamps that are good, not just legal, you also have to spend a bunch of money to buy a bunch of stuff you didn't want.

    One thing that caught my eye in the linked article:

    "Unless you go for a test drive at night, IIHS ratings are the only way to know whether the vehicle you're considering will have good headlights."

    Oh, come on. That is self-congratulatory poppycock. In the first place, IIHS isn't the only group testing and rating headlight performance (there are issues and problems with certain other rating systems, too, but still). In the second place, their rankings are *still* not as claimed and advertised. They're not measuring whether a certain make/model/trim of vehicle has good headlamps, they're measuring whether a certain specific, individual, single vehicle has headlamps that work well *as they happened to be aimed* when IIHS got a hold of it.

    If we lived in a parallel universe where US regulations required new-vehicle headlamps to be aimed correctly, and where vehicles in America were periodically inspected, including checking and correcting headlamp aim, then the IIHS tests as they are presently done could reasonably be taken as described and promoted (but we don't, so they can't.)

  2. #62
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    ...IIHS isn't the only group testing and rating headlight performance (there are issues and problems with certain other rating systems, too, but still)
    Who else in the USA, other than IIHS and Consumer Reports, is providing headlamp ratings to the general public?

  3. #63

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    And people wonder why HID/LED kits are so popular ... whether they work or not. I am not a big fan of government regulation, but instead of regulating things like back-up cameras which may save some lives, why not regulate superior headlights?

  4. #64

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by SubLGT View Post
    Who else in the USA, other than IIHS and Consumer Reports
    I had Consumer Reports in mind when I wrote that. 1+1 = more than only 1.

  5. #65

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by MeMeMe View Post
    I am not a big fan of government regulation
    Why not? What do you not like about government regulation?

    but
    But?

    instead of regulating things like back-up cameras which may save some lives, why not regulate superior headlights?
    Why not both?

  6. #66

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    That's a really detailed sketch of the state of headlamps, and it looks like the US auto industry is still up to its same old greedy "packaging" ploy: if you want headlamps that are good, not just legal, you also have to spend a bunch of money to buy a bunch of stuff you didn't want.
    If you have a car that comes with Poor lamps but can be upgraded to Good lamps with a $10,000 option package, the IIHS summary will say that the car has Good lamps.

    Hopefully this practice stops. This allows car companies to get away with offering Poor lamps on cars.

    I am somewhat optimistic about the IIHS putting its foot down and stopping this soon. The IIHS tends to move fast and decisively against car companies "exploiting" their rating system. For the first few years after any new test is introduced, they tend to be relatively lenient in allowing car manufacturers to adapt., but they quickly up the bar. In their relatively new small overlap crash test, many car companies were just reinforcing one side of a car to pass the test. The IIHS started testing both sides of cars after finding out and embarrassed quite a few car manufacturers. Same thing with lights.

    Before, it was possible to have a car be a "Top Safety Pick" with any headlamp. Now, the criteria has been strengthed to exclude those with marginal or poor headlamps. I don't see a requirement of "must have good headlamps across all trim level" that far off in the future, just like what the IIHS did with the small overlap test--"must provide good occupant protection in small overlap type crashes for BOTH drivers AND passengers."
    Last edited by Ls400; 12-01-2018 at 09:31 PM.

  7. #67

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ls400 View Post
    If you have a car that comes with Poor lamps but can be upgraded to Good lamps with a $10,000 option package, the IIHS summary will say that the car has Good lamps.
    No, that's not actually how it works. This article addresses that very question; did you read it? Have you read their ratings?

    Hopefully this practice stops. This allows car companies to get away with offering Poor lamps on cars.
    Lax regulations are what allow car companies to get away with offering poor lamps.

  8. #68

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    I mean that the ratings summary here:

    https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ve...ab-pickup/2018

    Only reflect the rating of the best headlamp available at first glance. Yeah, it does have some fine print underneath ("only certain trims/options") but the average person is just going to glance at the page, see a list of Green "G's" and the "2018 TOP SAFETY PICK" and probably cease their research at that point. They should really bring back something like this, in which the obvious safety difference between having vs not having side airbags is made explicit in the ratings summary:

    https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ve...n/2006#jump-to
    Last edited by Ls400; 12-02-2018 at 12:01 PM.

  9. #69

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Because many government regulations are made in a vacuum like rear cameras. Sounds like a great idea but as a society our resources are finite and there are probably 100 other things that this money could be spent on with far higher ROI in terms of lives saved.

  10. #70

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by MeMeMe View Post
    many government regulations are made in a vacuum like rear cameras.
    Who told you the rear-camera reg was made in a vacuum?

    there are probably 100 other things that this money could be spent on with far higher ROI in terms of lives saved.
    If you had even a minimal understanding of the data-driven cost/benefit requirements a required-equipment vehicle regulation must meet in the US, you'd be embarrassed to say this.

  11. #71
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    That's a really detailed sketch of the state of headlamps, and it looks like the US auto industry is still up to its same old greedy "packaging" ploy: if you want headlamps that are good, not just legal, you also have to spend a bunch of money to buy a bunch of stuff you didn't want.
    That was my experience buying last year. The better-rated LED headlamps were only available in the top trims costing some ~$5000 more than the trim I wanted. In those trims were absolute negatives for me: leather seats (which will try to brand you ~6 months of the year in my region), sunroof (pay extra for a guaranteed source of leaks in a few years!), and dozens of things I simply didn't want like navigation, infinitely-adjustable seats, fancier head unit.

    I should mention that this was Subaru, so it's an issue industry-wide.

    I could source OEM LED headlamps, but that's also troublesome. The 2018 model year introduced wiring harness incompatibility with a 15-pin connector on the LED headlamp trims vs the 12-pin connector on halogen headlamp trims - presumably for the cornering functions ... and they're something like $2000 a set. The previous model year assemblies are electrically compatible, but I gather even that introduces some issues with pervasive warnings on the dashboard multi-display ... and they're still pricey at some ~$1500 a set.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeMeMe View Post
    And people wonder why HID/LED kits are so popular ... whether they work or not. I am not a big fan of government regulation, but instead of regulating things like back-up cameras which may save some lives, why not regulate superior headlights?
    The choice all too often when replacing headlamps is nosebleed-expensive OEM lamps or mediocre aftermarket that's better priced to meet demand. My sense is that outside of insurance covering collision repair, OEM assemblies don't move very well. By the time the typical older vehicle needs new assemblies odds are that that OEM parts are hard to find even as NOS and go for a disturbing percentage of what the vehicle is worth relative to aftermarket parts.

    HID/LED kits are popular because of the intense desire among some segments of the market to customize and also because of a lack of performance among stock assemblies generally designed for a cost, a look, compliance, then performance if there's any margin left over. They're sufficiently pervasive in my region that my SO doesn't so much as eyeroll anymore when we're out on the roads at night and I mutter "sweet fleabay HIDs on that 97 F150".

    I'm somewhat curious if the regulations consider replacement price and its impact on use of compliant assemblies years down the road.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeMeMe View Post
    Because many government regulations are made in a vacuum like rear cameras. Sounds like a great idea but as a society our resources are finite and there are probably 100 other things that this money could be spent on with far higher ROI in terms of lives saved.
    My read on rearview cameras is that they were pretty commonplace before the mandate, reasonably inexpensive to mandate (LCD screens being pervasive in cars and cameras pretty cheap now), and do address a pervasive rearward visibility problem in modern car design.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  12. #72

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    The choice all too often when replacing headlamps is nosebleed-expensive OEM lamps or mediocre aftermarket that's better priced to meet demand. My sense is that outside of insurance covering collision repair, OEM assemblies don't move very well.
    Insurance companies often spec cheap and nasty aftermarket parts. :-(

    I'm somewhat curious if the regulations consider replacement price and its impact on use of compliant assemblies years down the road.
    No, the regs are totally blind to that factor.

    My read on rearview cameras is that they were pretty commonplace before the mandate, reasonably inexpensive to mandate (LCD screens being pervasive in cars and cameras pretty cheap now), and do address a pervasive rearward visibility problem in modern car design.
    That's correct. And they're cost-beneficial, too, not only in terms of preventing deaths and injuries, but also in terms of preventing property damage.

  13. #73

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ls400 View Post
    I mean that the ratings summary only reflect the rating of the best headlamp available at first glance. They should really bring back something like this, in which the obvious safety difference between having vs not having side airbags is made explicit in the ratings summary
    I sure can't argue with that. They ought to be shaming automakers who make you pay thousands of dollars for an option package/trim level you don't want, just to have adequate headlamps. (But the regulations shouldn't allow inadequate headlamps)

  14. #74
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/201...p-safety-pick-

    The 2019-20 Ram 1500 crew cab is the first large pickup to earn a 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Models equipped with specific [LED Projector] headlights built after May 2019 ..... qualify for the award.

    The Institute previously released safety ratings for the redesigned Ram 1500, but it didn't qualify for an award at the time because all its available headlights were poor or marginal.

    The Ram 1500 crew cab earns a good headlight rating for its available curve-adaptive LED projector headlights with high-beam assist for models built after May 2019. Models with the same headlights built earlier earn a poor headlight rating due to excessive glare. The Ram 1500's other available headlight options, which include its base halogen reflector headlights and optional LED reflector headlights with and without high-beam assist, all rate marginal.
    The "good" LED headlights are only available on the expensive Limited and Laramie Longhorn trim levels. Did the "good " rating come from a superior headlight, better aim, or a combination of both? IIHS offers no answer. I wish they would also test for glare with variable amounts of load in the bed. RAM is apparently paying attention to low beam glare, as none of the 3 types of headlight packages had excessive glare (with an empty bed).

  15. #75

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    I sure can't argue with that. They ought to be shaming automakers who make you pay thousands of dollars for an option package/trim level you don't want, just to have adequate headlamps. (But the regulations shouldn't allow inadequate headlamps)
    Well, they certainly are doing better than before! The ratings summary no longer just gives you the top headlamp rating for a particular car; the ratings summary now explictly lists the performance of all the available headlamps! The Cherokee scores', for example, are all over the map, and all the information is available at-a-glance without the need to drill down into the nitty gritty.

    https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle...-door-suv/2019

  16. #76

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    My issue with the IIHS test is that they donít aim the headlights. A poor rating could easily become a good rating if aimed properly. In my experience, vehicles rarely come from the factory with good aim.

    Up until just recently I owned an F150 that had the OEM LED headlights. They were aimed too high from the factory. After adjustment, they were great headlights. But IIHS gave it a poor rating.

    IMO,take this testing with a grain of salt.

  17. #77
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by seadragon View Post
    My issue with the IIHS test is that they donít aim the headlights. A poor rating could easily become a good rating if aimed properly. In my experience, vehicles rarely come from the factory with good aim.
    I've probably said it before, but this test design choice confuses. While I can appreciate testing "as delivered", it leaves the results to chance and should be supplementary data against post-adjustment testing.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  18. #78

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    While I can appreciate testing "as delivered", it leaves the results to chance and should be supplementary data against post-adjustment testing.
    Then you have people adjusting their lights a random amount downward or upward based on testing results and thinking they somehow are getting ahead by "improving" their headlamps without waiting for the manufacturer to properly aim the headlamps as part of the manufacturing process.

  19. #79

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    I suppose what I would like to see is a test as delivered and then after proper aiming. Best of both worlds as far as testing goes but would take a bit more time of course. If the as delivered aim is too low, then the headlights will obviously fail miserably when it comes to light delivery down the road. Likewise, if aimed too high, the trees will be lit up but the road not so much. All I know is that as I drove my F150 around at night, I was puzzled as to the low score IIHS gave them.

  20. #80

    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by seadragon View Post
    My issue with the IIHS test is that they donít aim the headlights. A poor rating could easily become a good rating if aimed properly. In my experience, vehicles rarely come from the factory with good aim.
    And vehicles in North America rarely get a good aim...ever. That's why the IIHS measures the aim, but then tests headlamps as received. It's putting pressure on makers to pay more attention to headlamp aim.

    Up until just recently I owned an F150 that had the OEM LED headlights. They were aimed too high from the factory. After adjustment, they were great headlights. But IIHS gave it a poor rating.
    They are not great headlamps, they are poor headlamps -- that rating was not because of bad aim. Take a look at the actual test results: short seeing distance and excessive glare. When you get both of those together, it means lousy headlamps. If you have good seeing distance but the lights provoke glare, they're probably aimed too high. If you have short seeing distance and no glare, they're probably aimed too low. But when you have short seeing distance and glare, there's no two ways about it, it's just a bad headlamp.

    as I drove my F150 around at night, I was puzzled as to the low score IIHS gave them.
    That's because you are confusing subjective impressions (how much you like the lights) with objective performance (how far you can actually, effectively, really see in whatever given direction). The two are usually far out of line with each other.

  21. #81
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ls400 View Post
    Then you have people adjusting their lights a random amount downward or upward based on testing results and thinking they somehow are getting ahead by "improving" their headlamps without waiting for the manufacturer to properly aim the headlamps as part of the manufacturing process.
    The overwhelming majority of headlights are adjustable with a PH2 screwdriver or ľ" hex socket. This used to be a standard bit of copy in owner's manuals, but this seems to have been transformed into a "take to dealer" option (where they're almost certainly going to do something akin to the "25' from a wall, aim 3 inches below horizontal" method you or I would do) so they can scam a couple shop hours for <30 minutes of work since they've got permanent tapelines one one of the walls.

    Better to test as delivered then remove the pot luck factor for the real testing.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  22. #82
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    so they can scam a couple shop hours for <30 minutes of work since they've got permanent tapelines one one of the walls.
    You've never read the procedure, or don't understand it, to have said this.


    Hint: Not all vehicles have the same headlamp height, headlamp center axis, or headlamp horizontal spacing. Different tire/wheel combinations between otherwise identical vehicles can mean different tape lines are needed.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; Yesterday at 12:56 PM.

  23. #83
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: IIHS test of headlamp performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    Hint: Not all vehicles have the same headlamp height, headlamp center axis, or headlamp horizontal spacing. Different tire/wheel combinations between otherwise identical vehicles can mean different tape lines are needed.
    You mean like those grids of lines I've seen on the walls of some shops - or improvised adjustable-height targets at the ones that do it with any frequency - correspond to varying lamp heights? I are astounded!

    Everyone I've talked to that takes their vehicle to a dealer to adjust headlights feels like they got a bill for bothering the service writer. The net effect - if actually do anything - is phoning in an adjustment in the aim away from whatever they were complaining about. The only place I've seen an instrument for determining headlight aim was at an antique store and had been transformed into a floor lamp - presumably destined for somebody's themed man cave.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

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