What failed in this headlight?

Messages
419
Location
Seattle, WA
I've been replacing 9003 headlights on a family member's '04 Chevy Aveo at an alarming rate. I think I've done 4 in the past year. Both left and right go out, just the low beams (dual filament bulb). They are always on with the DRLs. Not sure if they're at 100% power always, or if the DRLs run them at less than 100%. The latest doesn't look like it has anything wrong with the filament. What do you guys think? What could be causing these bulbs to keep burning out? I've been using Wagner bulbs from RockAuto, the earlier ones were made in Poland, now I get ones that are China made. They're only $2.51 per bulb, but with the shipping, it makes it around $5 a bulb.
 
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Messages
7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
low beam filament burned out. (the one on the upper section, just hidden below the reflector cup). Try a different brand, or resort to using regular halogen type. Q.
 
Messages
7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
You can try some domestically made Sylvanias, just the regular Halogen type and see how it goes. I don't go with those silverstars, etc. at all, citing that they (manufacturers) over-driven the filament to squeeze the extra light output (so as to overcome the light diminishing qualities of the filter coating on the glass envelope, which makes it "whiter" in colour), those over-driven bulbs seldom last more than 1.5yrs tops. Q.
 
Messages
2,149
Location
Chicago, IL
I would also check the alternator output, my old civic'd alternator (specifically the regulator) was going out and I would measure up to 16V when running. I was replacing the bulbs every several months. Also, I assume you know this, but just in case, when you install the bulbs, you shouldn't touch the glass with your bare finger ever. I think the oils cause hot spots on the glass that can cause failure, not necessarily broken glass, but even a tiny crack, letting the gas out.
 

spavel6

Thread starter
Messages
419
Location
Seattle, WA
Interesting point to check the alternator. I have seen the headlights "pulse" brighter and dimmer on that car before. I have no doubts the circuit is broken - the new bulb works and this one doesn't. Unfortunately the Sylvania bulbs are around $10+ shipping, so they better last 3 times as long to make it worth switching to a more "expensive" bulb. Are they all made in the USA?
 
Messages
1,942
Location
Ontario, Canada
1. Avoid touching the glass with your bare fingers. (Don't touch) 2. Try an alternative BRAND NAME bulb not made in China. (GE, Osram, Sylvania) 3. Check the sockets for any discoloured contacts. (Replace sockets as necessary) 4. Smell the sockets for a burning odour. (Same as #3) 5. Always replace bulbs in pairs. Typically the high beam filaments are used for DRL's at a significantly reduced output. This may vary based on manufacturer design. HTH
 
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Messages
548
Location
Illinois
I've had the best service from philips bulbs, see if they make a long life version of that bulb. I'd say the drl's are taking their toll on those bulbs. I would also check and clean up any underhood ground connections.
 
Messages
9,142
Location
Illinois
Try to find a "standard" halogen bulb that is made in Germany. For my H7 application, the standard halogen bulbs from Sylvania are made (by Osram) in Germany, and last for years and years. I can get them in a two pack at the home improvement store for $11.87. Best bang for the buck that I've found. Standard halogens last the longest. Any gimmicks that one pays extra for (Silverstar is the worst offender), will result in changing the bulb more often.
 
Messages
433
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Quest
low beam filament burned out. (the one on the upper section, just hidden below the reflector cup). Try a different brand, or resort to using regular halogen type. Q.
Yep, top filament has broken, round about the second or third coil from the bottom. As others have suggested, try a regular "Made in Germany" halogen, brands like Philips, Osram etc makes a Premium or Long-Life version too.
 
Messages
10,893
Location
Jupiter, Florida
Many DRL's run at reduced power. Halogen bulbs re-deposit tungsten on the filament due to design and high operating temperatures. Running the bulbs at less than optimal voltages does result in short life. Also, most bulbs have specified lifespan. Often it's alarmingly short, such as 300 hours. Have you tried the extended life versions?
 
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