From the numerous emails, and when reading through the forums, we sometimes get the impression here at the carlightblog that xenon light is a failure-prone technology. Drivers complain of flickering headlights, headlamp range controls that don’t work and even of poor light. Now, we are sure that xenon not only emits plenty of light, but also that it needs less maintenance than halogen. The lamps simply last considerably longer.
But the end of the service life is not abrupt, like it is with halogen lamps or LEDs. With xenon, you don’t have a filament that burns out. It is more comparable to fluorescent tubes: pending failure is signaled by multiple ignition attempts. In other words, the light flickers. Unfortunately, there are also other causes for this bothersome phenomenon. (more…)
The topic is a major one among our readers and in the various forums: Moisture inside the headlamps, usually evidenced by fogging on the inside of the lens. Headlamp engineers say they can never prevent it entirely, but we’ll tell you what you can do.
Fogged up headlamps, Part 3: The severe cases
Modern headlamps have a very practical ventilation system that largely should prevent fogging. And it does for a long time, until suddenly the headlamps start fogging up more and more. What can you do then? Maybe one of the vents is clogged. The top ones usually are easy to reach, so you can inspect and clean them if necessary. In some car makes there is a piece of foam inside the vents, which you can also clean. Quite often insects find their way into these openings as well. The bottom air inlets make cleaning difficult. Cotton swabs do a good job if you can reach them without dismantling the headlamp.
Initially I intended to write an article entitled “Headlamp changing made easy,” but that would have been an exaggeration, because changing a bulb is frequently anything but easy, and the procedure is different on every car. For these reasons, the following tips can serve only as general guidelines, not step-by-step instructions.
In some cars, the switch for the lights is hidden cleverly on the turn signal lever, meaning that drivers unfamiliar with the vehicle must search for it first. That can be dangerous, especially when the hunt begins while on the road. Hopefully, their attempts to turn on the complete set of lights is successful by the time they reach their destination. But it can happen that someone ends up driving unintentionally through a bright starry night with the front and rear fog lights on, or even with the high beams glaring the whole time. Drivers and other road users might be happy to have a light assistant in these situations, to skillfully operate the right headlamps and lights.