Older cars are usually equipped only with halogen lamps of types H1, H3, H4 and H7. In addition, there are three or four different signal lamps for indicators, brake lights and taillights. If such a light source becomes defective, a replacement can be found in many places. Even discount supermarkets sell them. But then a H15 will burn out, the one that provides the high beams and daylight running lights of many models made by the Volkswagen Group. Or the popular angel eyes of a BMW will remain dark because their H8 has given up the ghost. The front indicator of the same model may be equipped with a H21W halogen lamp. Such problems have occurred millions of times. Nonetheless, some parts dealers or car service centers do not have the right lamps in stock. This may have something to do with the group of customers who do not have the right vehicles. But we are not talking about “rare special lamps” that are installed “only in this car.” Such excuses are just as out of place as the high prices charged for the “special orders” that are required because “no one has them in stock.”

Granted, the blinker lamps H21W or its yellow sister, the HY21W, are needed less often than the pear-shaped types P21W and PY21W that have been used for years. By the way, the “Y” stands for yellow. But you will certainly find them in Osram’s product range. This lineup also includes the H15, something that some parts dealers have never heard of because it is not produced by many brand-name manufacturers. Osram also supplies the headlight lamps H9 and H11. Because the H8 has been used for a long time not only in BMW’s angel eyes, but also primarily in many fog lights, it is not a problem.

Technical reasons for the variety

All of this leads to one question: Why has the range of lamp types grown in recent years. The suspicion that automakers only wanted to steer car owners into their service centers with “such expensive special lamps” is one ready answer. But it is the wrong answer. First of all, there is no lamp that is used solely by a single brand. All illuminating objects on the exterior of a car have been standardized. There are also good reasons for using newer types of lamps. These are usually technically based. But design plays a role on occasion as well. And the benefits are not just enjoyed by the manufacturer by any means. The modern lamp types H8, H9 and H11 are much easier to change than the H3 or H7. Their base is waterproof, a feature that reduces the risk of headlight moisture.

Anyone who doesn’t like the talk about “special lamps” should simply buy a supply of the appropriate lamp types as a precaution or order some online. As a result, a defective light function can be repaired without delay.

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