Bulbs going out


#1

Hi,



During last year the light bulbs of my car (2000 Infiniti G20) started to get burned, one after another - front lights, fog lighs, small side marker, and now one the dashboard lights (half of the speedometer is now dark).



It is a bit strange that they served perfectly for 5-6 years, and now started to burn one after another. Is it normal “wear”, or something might be wrong with electric system that may be causing it?


#2
It sounds like the voltage from the charging system is too high. Have it checked.  Most auto parts stores will do it for free.  They should catch most such problems.  I have heard of some that are intermittent, that would be harder to find.  If you want you could try removing and cleaning both ends of all cables to the battery and alternator.

#3

I agree with JEM about the charging. There may be a problem with the voltage regulator or possibly some of the alternator diodes may be bad and allowing AC voltage to pass through to the battery. I recommend you have trhe charging system throughly checked.

It may be time for a new battery also, though it isn’t causing the light trouble. If the alternator is replaced and the battery condition is shown to be marginal, after doing a load test on it, I recommend you replace it also.


#4

Their advice sounds right to me, because that is too many in too short a time, not because old bulbs don’t burn out – they do. I have had people on this URL tell me bulbs never fail. Not true.

Bulbs do ‘wear out’. I worked some years ago on military high-reliability bulbs, and the filaments gradually corrode until at some location on the filament it gets thin enough to break when it is turned on. (Turn on involves maximum current until the filament warms up.) We had pictures taken under high power microscopes.

So, if your voltage is okay, this could be one of those Woody Allen moments “Inanimate objects are out to get me.” Ha, ha.

I rile some feathers, but due to current law enforcement tactics of attempting to search as many vehicles as possible, and the hassle of being forced to leave your car while they root through it, my advice to those who wish to avoid attention of the cops, is to REPLACE ALL EXTERNAL BULBS at some point in time.

In your case, if they, or you, spend a lot of time and/or money accessing the dashboard, replace all bulbs they have access to when it is open, even if your voltage is high.

Likewise, though people with less knowledge of bulb technical issues don’t understand it, I also recommend that you replace all external bulbs at this time, EVEN IF VOLTAGE IS HIGH. Those bulbs have been stressed. Note that on the Sienna Club, a California attorney told us last year that in California the police are treating a burned-out bulb as a moving violation. It is not worth screwing around with.

If your voltage is not high, then your bulbs are getting old, again just replace them at your own convenience, and be done with it.

Other people disagree, of course. I am speaking from my own knowledge of bulbs and my own view of avoiding cop hassle when a little work will eliminate it.