Many drivers believe that their headlight bulbs will last forever. We occasionally speak to customers who may have a vehicle nearly ten years old who have never changed a lamp. In one way that's great, it shows the resilience of the stock parts that are being fitted. However, what many drivers don't realise is that bulbs, just like any other consumable on a vehicle, wear down over time.
Even if the bulb is still functioning after a long period of time, the quality of the light output generated is likely to be very poor. It's a bit like not changing your tyres until they're on the rims. Headlights are ultimately designed for a specific purpose and if they're not performing to the required standard then safety will be compromised.
How long should a halogen bulb last?
The typical longevity of a halogen based headlight bulb is between 450 and 1,000 hours.The calculation of the lifetime of a bulb depends on a number of factors. This means that there's no simple and universal answer to the question of 'How long will this bulb last?'. However, we can attempt to provide an explanation for this.
Key influences on the life of a typical headlight bulb
- The temperature and climate in which the vehicle is operated in.
- The level of usage, for example if the vehicle is driven in an area where there are less hours of daylight or the dipped beam of the vehicle is used throughout the day, such as the use of daytime running lights.
- The quality of the materials used - this is why it is recommended to use an original equipment manufacturer
- The type of bulb - i.e. longer life, maximum performance - see more info below.
- Road conditions and engine vibration - modern driving conditions with pot-holes, speed bumps and traffic calming measures can increase vibration and reduce longevity.
- Installation errors - if the glass of a bulb was touched during installation, or it was not correctly secured.
As you can see, as much as we would like to provide a one sentence and simple answer to the question, the reality and complexities of the issue mean that this isn't possible. However, there are a number of measures and considerations that can be looked at.
Choosing the right bulb for your requirements
If you are specifically looking for a bulb that delivers more light then you should expect the change the bulb more regularly. We generally advise that an upgrade halogen bulb will last between 18 and 24 months for an average user. For your peace of mind, we provide a 12 month warranty on all bulbs to ensure you have a safeguarded minimum lifetime guarantee.
If you are happy with the level of light output you currently have and are specifically wanting to maximise the interval period in which you have to change your headlight bulbs then you should look for a product that has been designed for this purpose. For example, Philips LongLife EcoVision delivers 10% more light but has twice the life expectancy of a standard lamp.
It should be noted that whilst a product may be designed for long life, there is still a small possibility it may fail early because of the many reasons explained earlier. However, the likelihood of this is reduced significantly if a longer life product is installed as it has been specifically designed to withstand as many of these factors as possible.