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Headlight bulb life

Hello all,

I am the original owner of a 2003 Mazda Protege 5 which I love dearly. Handles great, incredible gas mileage, plenty of room inside and a factory roof rack for the big stuff. I have only one complaint - this car eats low beam headlight bulbs! I have probably replaced each of the low beam bulbs five times since I bought it 6 years ago. I’ve checked the TSB’s and there is nothing about headlight bulbs. Any ideas or theories on why they are failing?

Thanks in advance, Mazdude

All you have to do is refill the halogen fluid and you good for another few years.

Are they also used as daytime running lights?

Have you been replacing them yourself? The bulbs they use these days are very sensitive and if you touch the bulb itself while you’re changing it, your skin oil can cause hot spots on the bulbs which will drastically reduce their lifespan.

It is true installing the with your fingers will shorten its life. Wipe the new bulb with a cloth and while wrapped in a cloth install it. Good luck.

Get your battery voltage checked. With the engine idling and all accessories off it should be 14-14.5V. High voltage will shorten the life of bulbs.

What type of replacement bulbs are you using? Some, such as Silverlight or Xtravision, have considerably shorter bulb life. Perhaps 375 hours, compared to up to 1500 hours for standard Long-Life bulbs.

Hello again,

Halogen fluid? What weight should I use?

I usually take them out of the package by the metal base, and use a paper napkin to grasp the bulb while I insert it into the socket. I go through the same drill with my kitchen cabinet “puck lights” when I do those bulbs, too.

The type of bulb doesn’t seem to matter - regular Sylvania H7’s seem to last about the same as the Xtravisions I tried once.

Battery voltage could be the culprit - I’ll check it tomorrow morning if it isn’t snowing!

Thanks for all the input - nice to know my brain still works fairly well!


LOL !!!

I would be surprised if it if voltage, but if you check it, check it at 2500 RPM or so. You might even consider adding a voltmeter so you can monitor it to see if it sometimes spikes up.

In-laws have a Volvo S70 that does the same thing. I have always assumed that it is a vibration issue. The question is - why would your Mazda be vibrating at a frequency that resonates the bulb elements when other cars like yours don’t? I have never figured it out. It seems like it might be easier to find a type of bulb that is not sensitive to your vibration frequency than to fix the vibration, but you have tried different bulbs.