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After 11 years and 186,000 miles, I finally had to change a bulb!

After owing my Civic for 11 years and 186,000 miles, I finally had a headlight burn out. This is the first bulb I have had to change in all these years.

I bring this up for two reasons.

One is that some people here have complained about how difficult it is to change headlight and signal light bulbs in modern cars. I will admit I struggled with this replacement. The power steering fluid reservoir was in the way, but I was able to pull it off the bracket and push it out of the way. Also, the metal clip that holds the bulb in place was very counter-intuitive, but once I figured it out, it wasn’t so bad. Next time it will be much easier.

The other reason I bring this up is that it has been suggested that changing out all of the bulbs prophylactically before they burn out is a good idea. With the cost of these bulbs at $10 each, that would mean spending about $90 each time (four turn signal lights, two head lights, and three brake lights). I think that at least on this car, that would have been a complete waste of money.

Wow. Cool.

Yeah, changing my daughter’s headlight in her 2002 Civic made me wonder if Rube Goldberg was still alive and designing headlights for Honda.

My Scion tC has super-simple turret mounts with nothing in the way. Simply turn about 40 degrees counterclockwise, pull out, unplug he bulb, and reverse the process.

I change the headlights prophylactically. When one goes, I change both. The other bulbs last far, far longer. I rarely have to change any other bulb. I always turn my headlights on when I drive, no matter the time of day or weather, so I get about 2 years out of a set. To me it’s worth it for the extra margin of safety.

The '98 Volvo I had burned out several headlights over the 5 years I had it, I think I replaced 4 bulbs. Not too hard on that car. I replaced a bunch of turn signal and tailights on the car too.

My '03 Honda Civic has yet to need any bulbs since I bought it new. None for my other cars either.

It seems some cars use bulbs up faster than others. I think I’ll replace as needed on my current cars. None of the brackets is that hard to access.

I had a '96 Chevy MPV mini van with the taillights all up the back of the car, 3 bulbs in each. They were a bit of a pain to access so I changed all the bulbs when one burned out on that car. Whether to do one at a time or all of them depends on how hard they are to access.

If you have to pay a labor charge to change bulbs it might be better to get 3 or 4 changed at once if it is complicated and difficult to access the bulbs. Usually the bulbs are relatively cheap compared to the labor charges to access them. I’ve heard of $100 plus bills to change a bulb, ouch!

Those fancy headlight systems that some new cars are equipped with are a whole other story. They sound great as the salesman talks them up but can cost hundreds of dollars to maintain. I avoid the Xenon or Argon, or whatever they are, systems. Before buying a car with them asked the service department what a new headight bulb will cost - installed.

I think it’s simply a design philosophy thing rather than the type of bulb. For example, both my tC and my daughters’ CIvic use quartz-halogen bulbs and mine’s super easy to change and hers is super-difficult.

The fancy names are just materials descriptions. There are only two types, burning tungsten filaments in inert gas and arcing posts (high intensity discharge lamps) in gas. Argon is simply an inert gas. Quartz-halogen refers to the fused quartz bulb and the halide filler gas (inert gas). Fused quartz is used because of the high filament temps. It also provides a whiter light, because it transmits visable light throughout a wider frequency band than regular glass. Regular glass attenuates the lower frequencies.

I don’t know what Xenon means. I thought she was a warrior princess.

17 years and 140,000 miles, first ever “check engine” light. 1992 Ford Explorer. Just a fuel pump.

Bulbs ? maybe a couple headlights and brake lights total over 17 yrs.
I carry spare bulbs in the tool box. In Albuquerque downtown traffic I am behind a vehicle that allows me to see that one headlight is out. Pull into parking spot by curb, 2 minutes, bulb changed and on my way.

The speed of light is approximately 186,000 miles/second. Just wondering if this is a coincidence or…?


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I forget which vehicle it was, but I think it was the CX-7, that requires one to remove the inner fender well to access the driver’s side headlight. Doing something like that makes me wonder if you’d need to take it to the dealership to just change out a lightbulb.

Had the same light bulb experience with my Toyota Supra. Had it from new in 80 to 190,000+ mi later and never changed a bulb. No other maintenance, either, except an O2 sensor replaced at @ 50K and a heater blower fan at @ 155,000+. Great car and a good speeder, too. Kept it until 1991.

I think it’s simply a design philosophy thing rather than the type of bulb.

I agree. I had a 1990 Ford Aerostar with the old sealed beam headlights and these were difficult to change.

Do they use the Xenon gas for a specific reason?-Kevin (some flashlight bulbs use Krypton gas)

Xenon is a noble gas that ionizes and glows very brightly when a high voltage is put across it. Another better known one is Neon. Xenon lights, OKA high intensity discharge lights, have arcing posts. Halogen lights have a halogen gas (iodine or bromine) in them which causes the metal to re-deposit on the filament, allowing the filament to run at a higher temperature without burning out.

I just replaced a headlight in my wife’s 97 Accord. Its first change, all plastic parts. It was cold outside and by the time the connector pulled off the old bulb, it broke because the plastic got so brittle. The plastic retaining ring didn’t want to turn either but it finally did with the persuasion of a small hammer and a long screwdriver. A gentle tap got it moving finally.

I replaced the other headlight about seven years ago. Funny how one lasted so much longer than the other and that the replacement has lasted longer than the original.

It’s nice to hear these things. I put almost 300,000 on a Taurus and installed 1 alternator and 1 starter. Maybe a couple of bulbs but needless to say there a few pad changes and some tires.