Do OEM headlamp bulbs wear out?

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I have a 99SL2 Saturn with fog light. I have replaced the fog light bulbs when they burned out, but never the low beam headlamps. <b>Do the headlamp bulbs loose the quality of light output deteriorate over time and would new bulbs help seeing the road better? </b> My main problem is when it rains. Even with headlights and fog lights on I have a hard time seeing the lines on the road. I use my fogs always so I have no time seeing when the weather conditions are good. I had a Sentra that had poor lighting, so I replaced the headlamp bulbs with Extra Vision ones. They made a noticeable difference, but would last less then a year. I don't want to use a bulb that has a short life, so my understanding an OEM bulb would be better for my needs. Thanks in advance.
 

JHZR2

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I should knock on wood, but none of the bulbs on my 98 chevy S10 have burned out, and te headlight covers (plastic) have not yellowed at all. Talk about good quality. The bulbs on my saab (lobeam and DRL) both failed within 150 miles of 40k.
 
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Any incandescent bulb looses light output over time. If they are 10 years old, ten bucks on a new set of regular (not burn out in nine month-stars) might help, it's hard to say what difference it would take for you to notice. Is it a 9006, you could consider a 9005 conversion for your low beams? Or HIR bulbs.
 

MONKEYMAN

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Yes, it is a 9006. I am not really wanting to spend a lot. It is an old car I can see having another 3 years. Is a conversion or HIR bulbs expensive?
 
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I've been running the silverstar headlamps for about 3 years now, they changed the color of the light output, but didn't dramatically change anything.
 

MONKEYMAN

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I used to try things that tended to do little or nothing except empty my wallet. Now I am learning to ask questions first. Reading many threads before I posted my thread lead me to believe lighting upgrades are not all they are cut out to be.
 
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On my last car [99 Grand Marquis] the car had all its original bulbs for 7 years/200K miles and alot of that was night driving..Never noticed the headlights any weaker then the first day I brought it home. Now on my 05 Crown Vic I had a blown headlamp a couple of weeks ago so I replaced them both..Don't notice any difference from the old ones to the new ones. I notice alot of newer cars 05-09 with blown headlamps all the time...I saw just saw a late model Escalade in Miami Beach with a blown headlamp just tonight..A cop pulled him over for it.
 

MONKEYMAN

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I think I will leave them alone. My concern is also blowing bulbs. OEM were long life bulbs. Most aftermarket that are regularly available are not.
 
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My 77 LUV still has the OEM high beams. I very seldom drive anywhere open enough to use them. Not sure how many low beams sets I have gone through. The modern quartz ones just seem to get dimmer and dimmer until I decide I have to have new ones. Just did them this year. I forget what I did buy. I know there was a higher grade product out there, but not available in my ancient round lights.
 
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You could also benefit from some aiming. I've had a few of that body style car and the calibration seems to drift... seriously! Haven't seen it on too many other cars. The typical low beam pattern is: Park very close to your garage, make tape marks, back up 25 feet, should be a couple inches lower.
 
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The 9005 swap is easy. Google it to find out how easy it is. The disadvantages are much shorter life of the 9005 bulb. 200 hrs. for the 9005 compared to ~600-700 for the 9006. Also increased potential for glare. The plus side is 70% more light with the 9005 just by switching a bulb (1700 lumens 9005 vs. 1000 lumens 9006). Having done the 9005 swap in my Buick, it is worth my time and not much money to do.
 
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AIM THOSE LIGHTS! Get them aimed into your lane and as high as possible without blinding on coming drivers. That alone will make a huge difference.
 
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This has crossed my mind before. My grandparents have a 97 f-150 and they still have the original headlight bulbs in it...
 

Kestas

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I still have non-halogen headlamps on my 71 Cutlass. They haven't been replaced for the 26 years I've had my car.
 

JHZR2

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 Originally Posted By: labman
My 77 LUV still has the OEM high beams. I very seldom drive anywhere open enough to use them. Not sure how many low beams sets I have gone through. The modern quartz ones just seem to get dimmer and dimmer until I decide I have to have new ones. Just did them this year. I forget what I did buy. I know there was a higher grade product out there, but not available in my ancient round lights.
You can get the small and round lights in a replacable-bulb variety with H4 or similar bulbs. Far superior beam patterns with drop-in fit.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Ken2
AIM THOSE LIGHTS! Get them aimed into your lane and as high as possible without blinding on coming drivers. That alone will make a huge difference.
Did that with them back when I got them. Also had some friends tell me if they were causing discomfort when looking at my car a few days after aiming them, and they said no. Best of all worlds, lots of light directed well... The OEM 9005 highbeams are 10 years old, used every day as DRL's, and are still going strong...
 
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 Originally Posted By: Ken2
AIM THOSE LIGHTS! Get them aimed into your lane and as high as possible without blinding on coming drivers. That alone will make a huge difference.
I didn't think the 98 and up Crown Victorias had to have the headlights aimed after new bulbs were put in. I realized that I was wrong after I recently put new ones in. Guess I will have the stealership adjust them when the car gets serviced next week.
 

MONKEYMAN

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I will work on aiming the lights. The more I thought about it the suspension system has 150,000 + miles and I tend to keep a lot of stuff in the trunk. Two things that may mess with the proper aim.
 

wtd

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My 98 chevy K1500 that I bought new in 98 still has the original headlight bulbs. The headlights also function as the daytime running lights so they are on every time the truck is run. Wayne
 
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