How Frequently Do Headlight Bulbs Burn Out?

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Headlights aren’t just convenience accessories – they’re required for driving at night. They’re also important for safety, which is why so many modern cars come with daytime running lights as a standard feature. Of course, light bulbs have a finite lifespan, and this should be listed on the package of the bulb you purchase as you’ll eventually need to change them. If you’re finding that you have to replace your headlight bulbs very frequently, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong.

Possible reasons for frequent bulb burnout

There are several potential issues that might be resulting in shorter than usual light bulb lifespans on your car. However, bear in mind that the more frequently your lights are used, the faster they’ll burn out. If your car has auto daytime running lights (that is, more than just the parking lights), or you do a great deal of nighttime driving, you’ll definitely go through bulbs faster than other drivers. There are other possible issues:

  • Skin Contact: If you replace your own headlight bulbs and you touch the bulb’s surface with your bare skin, you’re shortening the lifespan automatically. Contact leaves oil from your skin on the bulb, which creates hotspots and shortens the bulb’s life. Wear latex gloves when changing your lights.

  • Bouncing: If the mounting location of your bulbs isn’t secure, there’s a chance that they could bounce. Excessive vibration can break the filament (the part that heats up, creating light) inside the bulb. If there’s play in the bulb after installing it in the housing, you may need a new lens.

  • Incorrect Installation: Light bulbs need to be installed smoothly, and without any jerking, prying, or other stress. It’s possible that an incorrect installation procedure is damaging the bulb.

  • Incorrect Voltage: Headlights are designed to operate with a specific voltage. If your alternator is beginning to fail, it’s possible that it’s creating voltage fluctuations. This can lead to early bulb burnout (and you’ll need to replace your alternator, as well).

  • Condensation: The interior of your headlight lens should be clean and dry. If there’s moisture inside, then this will collect on the surface of the light bulb, eventually making it blow.

These are just a few of the problems that could be causing your bulbs to fail early. The best advice would be to have the problem diagnosed and repaired by a professional mechanic.


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Joaquin

3 years of experience
77 reviews
Joaquin
3 years of experience
Ford Taurus - Alternator - Irving, Texas
Knowledgeable about the service. Performed task efficently and with precision. Showed me how thibgs work on my car. Very patient and courteous.
Honda Odyssey - Alternator - Irving, Texas
Jaoquin was great and patient in explaining the work, issues and work arounds. I will definitely use his services in future.

Christopher

15 years of experience
38 reviews
Christopher
15 years of experience
Nissan Maxima - Alternator - Temple, Georgia
Christopher is awesome all the way around; Not just as a mechanic, but as a person. I really appreciate his courtesy, kindness and most of all customer service. Not only did he do an awesome job fixing my car, he just made me feel good about the person that I am. Please make sure you reward him financially, because he certainly is the best mechanic that I have ever come across and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Sincerely, Ms. Thomasina!
Chevrolet Lumina - Alternator - Atlanta, Georgia
Showed up an hour early, walked me through everything he was doing and also gave me advice as to what I should do for my build, the best mechanic you guys have sent so far!

Matthew

31 years of experience
633 reviews
Matthew
31 years of experience
Chrysler Town & Country - Alternator - Williamsburg, Virginia
Matthew came earlier than expected but called to make sure it was ok. He got the job done pretty quick and left no mess. I would definitely recommend Matthew and the company to anyone. Thanks
Toyota RAV4 - Alternator - Hampton, Virginia
Matthew was awesome! On time, professional, knowledgeable and friendly. Service (alternator & serpentine belt) took less than an hour from start to finish and he answered all my questions about other minor issues we've been having as well. Will definitely request him in the future!

Ben

39 years of experience
1109 reviews
Ben
39 years of experience
Cadillac Eldorado - Alternator - Houston, Texas
Great service had scare with a oil rush from cooler line but been zipped tied alternator strong caddy running strong

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