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Lighting Sales Opportunities



The average customer looking to replace a burned-out headlight, brake light or other light wants to find it fast, fairly priced and easy to install.

The life span of most lamps is limited by the life of the filament inside the bulb which, in turn, depends on bulb design, light output, temperature, cooling and hours of use.

The service life of sealed-beam headlamp's as well as composite headlamps with replaceable halogen bulbs, is usually around 300 to 320 hours for low beam, and 150 hours for high beam, unless a close encounter with a stone or other object cracks or shatters the lamp, which is rare because of today's tough plastic lenses.

Lamps used for turn signals, brake lights, interior lights and instrumentation are typically rated for longer service, ranging from 700 to 5,000 or more hours. The reason these bulbs last longer is because they don't run as hot as headlamps.

Lighting products are vital to the safe operation of the vehicle, even in the daylight. Studies have shown that vehicles are much more visible by other drivers when the headlights are on, thus giving way to the trend of daytime running lights on many of today's newer vehicles.

You have probably noticed the blue-hued lights in your rear-view mirror. These HDL, Xenon and look-alike bulbs are now in the aftermarket. These new headlamp systems don't have an optical pattern on the cover lenses, which gives the light a distinct appearance. The headlamps are brighter, illuminate a larger area in front of the vehicle, consume less energy and have a longer life.

While halogen lights have been the dominating type of lighting used, now there are several newer kinds of lighting: Xenon, Bi-Xenon, Xenarc HID (High Intensity Discharge) and HDL. Xenon is more than two times as efficient as halogen light, and it consumes much less power. A Xenon beam looks similar to the color of natural daylight.

When stocking lights, have a good selection of not only bulbs, but bulb styles as well. Not everyone is looking just to light the road. Some may be willing to spend a little extra for a expensive-look. Having the product on-hand (and being able to talk about them intelligently) will be a winning sales combination.

In addition to lighting products, consider stocking other safety and visibility products as well. These products include:

  • Reflectors and reflective tape;

  • Back-up lights;

  • Cab/interior lights;

  • Flashers;

  • Replacement mirrors;

  • License plate lights;

  • Turn signals

Along with technological advances in headlights have come advances in auxiliary lighting. Among these has been the release of a free-form reflector halogen bulb that uses a computer-designed reflector to distribute the light directly on to the road.

Traditional parabolic reflector-type bulbs reflect and distribute light through optically-patterned lenses. The amount of light given off depends upon the size of the lamp and the size of the bulb.

Newer technology aims the light via a computer-designed reflector. The lens does not affect the light distribution, so more light is distributed on the road because it is not lost through dispersion.

The bulbs direct approximately 60 percent more light on the road than traditional lights, and the amount of light given off is not dependent upon the size of the light bulb.

When it comes to choosing a set of driving lights, fog lights or off-road lamps, brightness isn't necessarily the best way to gauge light performance or effectiveness.

Two lamps with identical candlepower ratings can have very different performance characteristics. One may project a very efficient beam pattern that's properly focused and shaped for the application while the other scatters light haphazardly in the general direction it is aimed. The difference in price usually reflects the difference in optical quality and control. Beam optics is a function of lens and reflector design.

A quality halogen fog lamp, for example, will produce a low, flat beam pattern that cuts off at hood level to minimize reflections back into the driver's eyes from fog, rain, snow or dust.

A good quality driving light, by comparison, will generate a beam that provides maximum reach as well as a carpet of light that extends from in front of the vehicle to the limits of vision.

When selling lights and lamps, be certain to have the proper displays needed and take advantage of your suppliers' promotional materials and displays. Place displays in impulse areas like near the entrance or near the cash register.

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