Opinions on car headlights?

I have a 2002 Mazda Protege 5, and apparently it’s stock headlights are crap. It only has 40k miles, and I’m about to change a burnt out headlight for the 4th time.

I don’t want the Mazda part any more. What should I replace it with?

The bulbs to avoid are any ones with a blue tint (Sylvania Cool Blue/Silverstar/etc…) they may give the bulb an “HID-style” look, but they actually REDUCE light output dramatically, due to the scattering effect of blue light, so the manufacturer overdrives the filament to compensate, the overdriven bulb has a much shorter life than a standard bulb

blue light is harder for the human eye to focus on and scatters in the atmosphere more than the warmer tinted bulbs

you want clear performance bulbs, like the GE Nighthawk series, or the European Sylvania SilverStars, the Nighthawks and the Euro SS’s have no blue tint, U.S. market SS’s have the tint, and generally last a year to year and a half at most

It’s also best to change the bulbs in pairs, hold on to your stock good bulb for backup purposes

And I know this is obvious, but you aren’t touching the glass part of the bulbs are you? Oils from your skin will shorten the life of halogen bulbs.

Yes, I plan to change both bulbs, because the other stock bulb, if history is any indicator, will burn out in a few months anyway. I will look into the GE and Sylvania bulbs.

I’ve never even touched the outer glass. The dealer does it all.

I’d just use a standard bulb from any reputable manufacturer. That’s what I use for my customers’ cars, and they last for years.

The car takes a 9003 bulb, readily available at any auto parts store. I think it’s unlikely that the bulbs the dealer uses are crap. Mazda doesn’t manufacture light bulbs, they buy them from a company that does. If bulbs are repeatedly failing much sooner than average on your vehicle, the most likely causes are improper handling (someone touching the bulb’s glass, as mentioned above) or a problem with the headlamp circuit (e.g. undervoltage) on your car.

Are you sure it’s the bulb and not an electrical problem?

Am I personally sure? No, but that’s what the dealer tells me.

I’m disappointed in the OP. I was hoping to join in a rant on how modern cars all have headlight that are too bright and aimed too high. :rolleyes:

Yes, that sucks. They should all be lined up and shot!

You may wish to look for a heavy duty use or long life bulb. It can be the difference in a light that dies monthly from hitting a bump in the road, and one that lasts.

Maybe we have crappy auto parts stores around here, because I had almost no choices to make. The first store had no bulbs at all of the right type. Then I went to an Auto Zone, who gave me a choice between blue-tinted and untinted Sylvania bulbs, so I bought untinted. They were $15, so I bought two. And inspired as I was by this thread, I managed to change them myself, to make sure that no one touched the glass.

So, I guess we’ll see.

Curiously, there’s a long-gone brand of light bulb called Mazdathat was made by General Electric. GE also licensed the then-new tungsten filament technology to other bulb makers under that name. They had nothing to do with the autos of the same name.

Nice job, it ain’t so bad once you get started is it? Some cars have very little clearance behind the headlight housings, but most aren’t too bad.

I put some Sylvania Silverstars in my Ford Contour and liked them a lot. The Contour had great high-beams but bad low-beams. The Silverstars helped the low-beams. I got a Silverstar for my motorcycle and it burned out in a few months though.