How to select a proper bulb?

3/31/2008
Do you want to know which types of bulbs can be used, what is their useful life, what is the homologizing status and how they are replaced by the new ones? In the following text we present to you some interesting tips and hints, which may become handy when that unpleasant nuisance of a burnt-out headlamp bulb strikes.

1. Selection of the proper bulb.

In general, the type of headlamps in question and their age are most important criteria of the selection. The older, simpler headlamps usually used the dual filament bulbs H4 (in models like Favorit, Felicia, etc.). The most up-to-date headlamps use the single filament bulbs H7 (i.e. Fabia, Octavia and other models). The relevant marking can be found both on the bulb’s packing and its socket. Information concerning which type of the bulb to select can be found in the vehicle’s operating manual or, by removing the old bulb and determining its type. It is also important to make sure that you do not accidentally buy a bulb for lorries (having their operating voltage rated at 24 volts). The passenger cars invariably use the bulbs rated at 12V DC/55W. After having bought the bulb, check that it is firmly embedded in its package. The bulb should not “flit around” the package; also, there should not by any fingerprint marks on its surface. Check on the filaments of the bulb. They should be perpendicular in relation to the socket. If the filaments are skewed in any way, select another bulb. By the same token, we do not recommend buying the blue bulbs. Firstly, their use on the Czech roads is not approved and secondly, they are in general the products of a very poor quality.

2. Is it important to stick to the bulbs having appropriate homologizing status?

There must be the homologizing mark printed on the bulb’s package, having the format E + county number. We recommend buying only the bulbs of well known brands; thus, you have a guarantee that you are not sold a poor quality clone, which may represent some problems when the vehicle is checked for road worthiness by official inspectors.

3. Longevity of car bulbs.

Most current car bulbs have their useful life within the range of about 300 through 400 hours. However, it is possible to purchase also the special bulbs with prolonged life span; they are usually called Long-Life or Super Long-Life bulbs and their longevity can be as much as about 1,300 operating hours. It is good to know that no-name bulbs manufacturers usually do not quote the longevity of their product at all.

4. Replacement of bulbs.

Most car models can have their bulbs replaced by the do-it-yourself way. However, there are exceptions to this rule; some car models have to be taken to a servicing station for having their bulbs replaced. When replacing the bulb it is necessary to wait for a while before the bulb cools down enough to be handled. As it has been already mentioned above, the bulb should not be touched with bare fingers because even the minute quantity of bodily sweat may permanently damage the surface of extremely hot bulb in operation. If you accidentally touch the surface of the bulb, clean it thoroughly with clean cloth soaked with alcohol. It is recommended wearing protective goggles when replacing the bulbs because the bulb may rupture when being handled with excessive effort. 


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