Every driver who is in any way interested in their own means of transport has probably bought lamps in the past for the front headlights or the rear lights. Lamps are wear parts and by their very nature only have a limited life. And if in late summer or early fall you notice the first failures at the front or rear, you won’t have to ask a mechanic friend for help or put the woman behind the counter at the gas station in charge of changing your lamps. That’s rarely crowned with success anyway; since the classic friendly gas station attendant has disappeared, most gas stations have become small supermarkets where you have to be lucky to get oil or lamps for your car apart from beer and whiskey. But that’s a different story.

 

In Germany’s well-stocked supermarkets the situation is surprisingly different. Unlike at most gas stations you’ll get all sorts of useful accessories for your car, sometimes even far too many for the average man with inherent decision difficulties. Let’s assume my car needs H4 lamps for regular lights and H1 lamps for fog lights. So here I am, standing in front of this man-high display with at least four different products in all possible variations and price categories. At the bottom are the very reasonably priced products, either in a pack of one or two or as a complete replacement lamp set for the front and rear including fuses in a handy plastic case. Humbug. But the prices are tempting. In the middle, at the height of my navel, is the shopping center’s own brand, usually also a no-name product that sits in the mid-price segment. Statistically, most customers choose the one in the middle when there are three different prices because they don’t want to buy “cheap junk” or the seemingly too expensive “premium product”. The middle is the most reasonable, isn’t it?

 

No, it isn’t. Especially those of you who replace your own lamps know how annoying it is to drive at night with a burnt out headlight. And it costs time to replace a lamp, although not a lot depending on the vehicle. That’s why we don’t want to go on about you absolutely having to buy products from Osram… That would be nice of course, but it’s much more important that you buy brand products. So not the ones from the bottom shelf but the ones in the upper third. They’re usually not that much more expensive and every cent is well spent. After all, you don’t cut corners when it comes to your brakes and tires either, do you? Or at least we hope not. So also look for quality, professionalism and lifetime when it comes to lights – it could be life-saving. You may do that already.

 

The decision wasn’t so difficult after all now, was it? And all four of my H4 and H1 lamps were a mere two euros more expensive than the bland blister-packed lamps in the bottom rummage box. Life’s too short for bad wine, bad coffee and – cheap car lamps. Make sure they don’t shorten it dramatically. Have a safe journey.

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