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Old 10-09-2009, 12:50 PM   #1
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Default Low beams dim, need advice

I've noticed for some time now (maybe as long as I've had the car) that the low beams don't really throw out enough light for night driving. Here in northern Virginia there'* alot of road in cities that lack lampposts, and it isn't practical to drive around with my high beams on. Even turning on the fog lamps barely helps.

The headlight assembly is clean and free from any dirt or water / vapor on the inside. There'* no problem with the output of the alternator, it maintains a steady amount of voltage. Does the light output of low beams degrade over time, or should I suspect that something else is at fault? (e.g. wiring)

Also, any advice on brands of low beam bulbs would be welcome. I don't have the budget for HID, so they're off the table. Replacement bulbs would have to be cheap and bright.

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Old 10-09-2009, 02:00 PM   #2
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I have used the Sylvania Ultra'* and they were a big help. They are about $40.00 for a pair. A year ago I had front end damage and both headlight assemblies were replaced with factory originals and I am very pleased with the results. Not only is the night driving greatly improved but the front end looks really good. Over time the bulbs and the reflectors tend to dull so even with new or brighter bulbs you will be limited to some degree. The glass tends to get sandblasted so you loose brightness there also. Replacing the headlight assembly turned out to be the best approach for me. It is not nearly as expensive as an HID setup and on vehicles that are as old as ours they can easily be a fire hazard. I would definitely stay away from any bulbs that are blue tinted in any way. Regardless of their claims, they do not help and actually make it more difficult to see at night. So, to recap, in my case the Ultra'* were an improvement but I am glad that I replaced the entire assembly because of the improved high and low beam output and it really looks good. Also, the brighter the bulb the sooner it will burn out.

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Old 10-09-2009, 03:42 PM   #3
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Headlamps due degrade their output with age and the sandblast effect on the lens contributes as well. Several headlight restoration kits out there and they work pretty well. I have also seen fantastic results using a good buffer with rubbing compound. Not sure which one or grit, hopefully one of the Gearheads that have done it will chime in. Headlamp brands are like tires, brake pads, wives, etc. Everyone has an opinion. I think the off the shelf standard Sylvania'* are great for the price. I bought Silverstars for my truck and though they were a little brighter, I felt ripped off for their price and claims. One blew after a little over 1 year, and I went back to standard. I know that my lenses are obviously clouded and buffing them out will surely help.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crece View Post
I have used the Sylvania Ultra'* and they were a big help. They are about $40.00 for a pair. A year ago I had front end damage and both headlight assemblies were replaced with factory originals and I am very pleased with the results. Not only is the night driving greatly improved but the front end looks really good. Over time the bulbs and the reflectors tend to dull so even with new or brighter bulbs you will be limited to some degree. The glass tends to get sandblasted so you loose brightness there also. Replacing the headlight assembly turned out to be the best approach for me. It is not nearly as expensive as an HID setup and on vehicles that are as old as ours they can easily be a fire hazard. I would definitely stay away from any bulbs that are blue tinted in any way. Regardless of their claims, they do not help and actually make it more difficult to see at night. So, to recap, in my case the Ultra'* were an improvement but I am glad that I replaced the entire assembly because of the improved high and low beam output and it really looks good. Also, the brighter the bulb the sooner it will burn out.
Do you have any leads on where to get a new lens for a reasonable price? A brief search on the internet is showing $60-70 for a new headlight lens. I hear that Osram branded Sylvanias are superior to the stock ones.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:51 PM   #5
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Not really, it was done through a body shop along with the grill etc. I could give them a call but I'm sure they get special pricing.
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