Some say replacement headlamps, taillamps, stop lamps and other interior and exterior bulbs essentially sell themselves. True, when a lamp burns out it has to be replaced. As vehicles age, so do all the lamps that provide various types of illumination. Lamps actually dim with age as tungsten evaporates from the hot filament and forms a reflective coating on the inside of the bulb. Halogen headlights are less prone to this type of age dimming than conventional incandescent bulbs, but still suffer a gradual loss of illumination over time.
The average age of today’s vehicles is close to 11 years, so it’s not surprising that many vehicles may need replacement headlamps, taillamps, stop lamps, turn signals or other bulbs to restore or upgrade lighting performance.
Adding to the problem is the clouding that often occurs on aging clear plastic headlight covers. Oxidation and UV can transform a transparent headlight cover into a dull, cloudy lens that’s not only ugly but significantly reduces light transmission and brightness. The opaque film can often be polished away using an aftermarket headlight cover restoration product.
For vehicles where the headlight covers are still clear and in reasonably good condition, replacing aging bulbs with new ones can restore like-new nighttime driving visibility. Most motorists won’t notice the gradual deterioration that occurs over time with their headlights, but they will notice the immediate improvement in visibility when new headlamps are installed.
If a customer asks for a replacement headlamp, you should also mention the advantages of upgrading to some type of performance lamps. Performance headlamps typically cost a little more than standard headlamps but offer increased light output (more lumens), a better beam pattern and/or a whiter or bluer light for better nighttime visibility. Brighter and whiter headlamps are a good option for older drivers who may have trouble with night vision.
The color a headlamp produces is rated in degrees Kelvin. The higher the temperature number, the whiter and bluer the light.
Ordinary incandescent lamps give off a yellowish light in the 2,800 degree K range, while halogen headlamps typically produce a whiter light ranging from 3,100 to 3,500 degrees K. Original equipment HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlights are in the 4,200 degree K range. Aftermarket performance head lamps that are rated at 5,000 to 8,000 degrees K will have a bluer appearance than standard halogen headlamps, while those rated at 10,000 to 12,000 degrees K or higher will have a very blue or purple
Other upgrades include special “long life” bulbs for applications where lamp replacement is unusually difficult or for vehicles that drive on rough roads (vibration is a common cause of premature bulb failure). Finally, recommend replacement headlamps in pairs. They both have the same age, so if one lamp as failed the other is probably near the end of the road, too.