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Discussion Starter #1
Is it just me or does anyone else think the H7 Bulbs suck. The low beams are hard to replace and access. The recepticles are 1970 ish and the bulbs do not produce much light. Why can't BMW enter the 21st century with headlight bulbs?
 

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Why can't BMW enter the 21st century with headlight bulbs?
They have - there are bi-xenon & LED lighting systems available on newer versions of the F30.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I bought the car used. So, it did not have every option that I would have liked. Buying used is always a compromise. MY X5 has the led option which is excellent. What I am trying to understand is why BMW would have inferior head lights to the Honda Accord EX that I traded for it-328i Xdrive.
 

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The answer to your question can only come from BMW. Let us know what they tell you. However the bulbs are legal, widely used and definitely not inferior when aimed properly. The headlights could be out of alignment from an accident or the car may have been delivered that way. Have someone who knows what they are doing take a look.
 

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The answer to your question can only come from BMW. Let us know what they tell you. However the bulbs are legal, widely used and definitely not inferior when aimed properly. The headlights could be out of alignment from an accident or the car may have been delivered that way. Have someone who knows what they are doing take a look.
BMW halogen may be legal, but it is widely known that it is among the worst headlight out there.
 

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BMW halogen may be legal, but it is widely known that it is among the worst headlight out there.
It doesn't have to be this way. There is such thing as halogen headlights that are well designed.

With any type of headlights, try to optimize everything.

-windshield clean
-wipers in good condition
-outside of headlights are clean
-outside of fog lights are clean (I find fog lights of limited use, mainly for fog and for lighting just in front of the car if it is dark and raining. Fog lights are not driving lights, like found on rally cars)
-training yourself to see better, such as very fine movements of the head to help depth perception
-clean glasses, if you wear them
-headlights aimed properly (check tire pressure, drive up to a wall, illuminate the wall, mark the spot of brightest illumination with tape, gently let car roll or drive back 20 feet, adjust headlights so that the spot of brightest illumination is 2" lower which is what many state laws specify, consider cheating and adjusting the headlights so the spot of brightest illumination is about 1.25" lower)
-use high quality H7 bulbs. Some PIAA are very expensive but illuminate slightly better but have shorter life. Sylvania Silverstars are decent. Don't get oil from the skin and fingers on the bulb. If so, wipe off with a little rubbing alcohol.

The problem with many headlights today is that style appears to be more important over ability to illuminate.
 

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My question is how long should H7s last? I know varies by how much driving at night and did I turn off the option for day running lights blah blah. But on average how long should they last? Seems like once a year i am replacing them. One burns out so I always replace both. They aren’t cheap so wondering what folks believe they should last or do I have perhaps another issue with burning bulbs.


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Dazzling light with high color temperature does not equate to better road vision. It does sell cars.
I thought all of us already read article like this:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.la...headlights-20160330-story.html?outputType=amp

Quote:
But halogen headlights in the BMW 3 series, the worst-rated ones, were able to illuminate only 128 feet ahead. At that distance, the vehicle couldn't be traveling at more than 35 mph and still have time to stop, according to the study.
 

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I drove a 2018 330i loaner with halogens. Those headlights were much better than my 2014 halogen headlights. Other than the LED DRLs on the 2018, is there a difference in the headlight housing/reflector design? If so, it maybe worth an upgrade. Otherwise I will ask the BMW dealership to realign my headlights when my car goes in for an oil change.


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I thought all of us already read article like this:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.la...headlights-20160330-story.html?outputType=amp

Quote:
But halogen headlights in the BMW 3 series, the worst-rated ones, were able to illuminate only 128 feet ahead. At that distance, the vehicle couldn't be traveling at more than 35 mph and still have time to stop, according to the study.
All of us did read reports like that and some of us went further.

That is old wrong news. Read the details of the actual report not an online summary. Because the insurance institute does not align headlights before testing the most those results show is that some car makers deliver cars with headlights aligned better than others. The test is headline grabbing but meaningless.
 

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My question is how long should H7s last? I know varies by how much driving at night and did I turn off the option for day running lights blah blah. But on average how long should they last? Seems like once a year i am replacing them. One burns out so I always replace both. They aren***8217;t cheap so wondering what folks believe they should last or do I have perhaps another issue with burning bulbs.


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If you are running headlights at night they should last several years. My 2014 with 67k miles has all original headlight bulbs. Lights are on auto so headlights come on.when it is dark.

If you are using nonstandard bulbs like Silverstars they burn hotter and are shorter lived.
 

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All of us did read reports like that and some of us went further.

That is old wrong news. Read the details of the actual report not an online summary. Because the insurance institute does not align headlights before testing the most those results show is that some car makers deliver cars with headlights aligned better than others. The test is headline grabbing but meaningless.
Then why BMW doesn't align them correctly to begin with? Doesn't make sense, does it?

I have 2013 with halogen. I don't mind light aim lower than supposed to since I only mostly drive local at low speed. But the issue is that it was not bright enough during night time driving, even at short distance ahead. The brightness issue can't be solved by aiming my light higher, right?
 

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My question is how long should H7s last? I know varies by how much driving at night and did I turn off the option for day running lights blah blah. But on average how long should they last? Seems like once a year i am replacing them. One burns out so I always replace both. They aren’t cheap so wondering what folks believe they should last or do I have perhaps another issue with burning bulbs.


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My H7 are the factory originals and have lasted more than 1000 hours. I am amazed. Aftermarket replacements in a previous car lasted about 300-600 hours.
 

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Then why BMW doesn't align them correctly to begin with? Doesn't make sense, does it?

I have 2013 with halogen. I don't mind light aim lower than supposed to since I only mostly drive local at low speed. But the issue is that it was not bright enough during night time driving, even at short distance ahead. The brightness issue can't be solved by aiming my light higher, right?
The answer to why BMW does it can only come from them. It is a common problem. My BMW and Volvo came like that. A vertical adjustment lifted the aim and improved distance vision a lot.

Modern lights come with a sharp illumination cutoff that has to be pointed correctly to work. If the light assembly is aimed too low then you won't see very far down the road. Sighted properly the light will reflect off objects down the road, highway markers, lane striping, etc.

And as mentioned learning to look down the road beyond the beam cast immediately on the pavement will help a lot.
 

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The brightness issue can't be solved by aiming my light higher, right?
Effective headlight alignment will not not make the bulbs physically brighter, but subjectively you will have much more light with which to see as it is now where you need it.
 

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It's interesting to read actual IIHS Highway Data Loss Institute (IIHS HDLI) data, and then to consider their methodology with a critical eye.

The IIHS methodology, in brief:

https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/headlight-evaluation

Vehicle data lives here, including model years and illumination variants:

https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings

Visitors can see not only the performance of a vehicle, but also the performance of each lamp assembly (left/right, high/low) in a straight line and around different kinds of curves. It's all very - ahem - illuminating. (LOL. Sorry).

Now, one of the more fascinating aspects is that IIHS is putting their thumb on the scale in order to create a safer (i.e., less costly) road system. That is not the same as owning a safer vehicle. In particular, through the years, they have been significantly downgrading the rating of any vehicle they fear might blind oncoming drivers. So while your car may have a great illumination pattern, it may also be "poor" because it tends to leak its light over the double yellow line, and at eye level. Gemstone type LED lighting arrays may tend to glitter like this (because they have myriad actual light sources, reflected generally down the road). Aftermarket bulbs are notorious for this, IMHO. Conversely, the Toyota Prius V is one of the few vehicles to be rated "good" by the IIHS because it performs well for its own driver, and with few negative consequences to other drivers:

https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/toyota/prius-v-4-door-wagon

Note that only one Toyota Prius variant got that praise, and that there are lots of Prius variants.

I agree entirely with this approach by the IIHS, BTW. Shaming the industry forward is the only way to put real pressure on manufacturers to create holistic lighting systems that illuminate well for the individual driver, meet the regulatory burden (or change it), and improve overall safety of the road system.
 

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The answer to why BMW does it can only come from them. It is a common problem. My BMW and Volvo came like that. A vertical adjustment lifted the aim and improved distance vision a lot.

Modern lights come with a sharp illumination cutoff that has to be pointed correctly to work. If the light assembly is aimed too low then you won't see very far down the road. Sighted properly the light will reflect off objects down the road, highway markers, lane striping, etc.

And as mentioned learning to look down the road beyond the beam cast immediately on the pavement will help a lot.
Interesting, as soon as I changed my bulbs to LED, I had to aim my light a lot lower to match the cut off pattern of my Toyota, which work just fine. Oh, it is like 3 times brighter and I had no problem seeing the road in front. Like I said, my issue was that the halogen was not bright enough, especially when rainy and dark out there.
 

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The risk of a very bright light light in rainy conditions is glare washing out the lane stripes and glare creating kind of a whiteout.
 
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