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Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 02-05-2010, 08:33 PM   #1
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DriveSmartBC - Overwattage Headlights

Last week's column on overdriving low beam headlights resulted in some interesting comments. Chief among them was the thought that this wasn't a problem because the driver had installed high wattage bulbs and now had more light to see with. Do you suppose that these drivers don't know this is a bad practice or just don't care about themselves and others who use the highway?

In general, low beam headlight bulbs use in the neighbourhood of 50 watts of electrical power. The lens assemblies, switches and wiring are designed with this in mind. If you purchase and install "off highway" higher wattage bulbs you are not doing yourself or others a favour.

Glare is the main worry when this has been done. The lenses will tend to scatter some of the extra light which bothers oncoming drivers. If it is foggy, snowing or raining, the light will backscatter from these conditions and interfere with the driver's ability to see as well.

The extra current demanded by these lamps will result in heat generation within the electrical components and the headlight lens assemblies. Premature wear, melting of plastic parts and the possibly an electrical fire could be the result. Do you still think that this is an acceptable solution to the possibility of over-driving your low beam headlights?

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Old 02-05-2010, 08:51 PM   #2
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actually a good point, My friend had these 75watt bulbs on his civic.

I urged him not to, but he said it's brighter and better then ricer bulbs, so whatever I can't convince him. So after a bit, I smelled something burning. He pulled the car over and lifted the hood. we can see that the headlight wiring was smoking a bit.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:24 PM   #3
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an alternative to this though, is the PIAA bulbs that draw the same 55W of power that the oem lights do, but have similar output to 110W bulbs.

the ones i use in my car, PIAA GTX, are a pair of such bulbs. they don't fry my wiring, and the difference in visibility was, pardon the expression, night and day.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
Glare is the main worry when this has been done. The lenses will tend to scatter some of the extra light which bothers oncoming drivers. If it is foggy, snowing or raining, the light will backscatter from these conditions and interfere with the driver's ability to see as well.
As if factory HIDs are any better under these conditions
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:59 PM   #5
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Any idea when police officers in BC will begin a crackdown on illegal headlight modifications?

ie. HID's in a reflector housing... blue or other coloured bulbs... etc...

I'd love to see a front page on the Province over stupid ricers who are all getting slapped with fines.
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:08 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
As if factory HIDs are any better under these conditions
Exactly, any new suv will blind an on-coming car but who cares.. it's not a civic with modified headlights!
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:28 AM   #7
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The thing about the "54 watt bulbs with 110w outputs" is that you can only get so much light out of 55 watts. If you do a bit of research...say on Daniel Stern Lighting's website, you will see that they get the 110watts by focusing the light in a small area at a close distance from the bulb. My Maglight flashlight allows me to focus the beam from wide to almost a pinpoint. It is much brighter in a small area than when it's wide. Think of it as a garden hose when you wash your car. Use centre or jet setting to blast the dirt and the shower setting to rinse. Only so much water can flow thru that size hose. same for the light bulb.

The danger for these focused bulbs is that you get a tradeoff for the brightness. You can't get long range and wide coverage AND bright light as well. You get a nice sharp narrow beam and miss out on the full picture in front of you.
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