Rumble strips and light bulbs

Dear Tom and Ray,

Please settle this arguement between my husband and myself before it drives me nuts!!! I often drive over rumble strips because our 3 year old grandson loves the sound. My husband says this will cause the filaments in various bulbs to break. I say he’s crazy, what about everyday bumps on the roads??


Tammy Chronister, Julian PA

All bumps jiggle the fillaments in incenescent bulbs.
A fact of life for which automotive bulbs are designed.
One can only assume that more vibrations may shorten the life of bulbs.

But who’s counting ? ( plus, it’d be impossible to calculate ALL the bumps you’d encounter over the life of the bulbs THEN be able to change anything to KNOWINGLY effect the life of the bulbs. ) Mine all work just fine with extremely few replacements despite my driving faster than most over railroad tracks and the like.

I vote for entertaining the 3 year old <<<<

A few bulbs is a small price to pay for the delight of a child. Especially that innocent, unresrticted, immense, all out JOY. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

All he needs to do is have his screw driver at the ready and, like me , pre-purchase a few key bulbs to have on hand.( I can change my brake light bulb in 5 min. )
Let the three year old ‘help’ grandpa or you change a bulb.
"All done, hop in, lets go for a ride."
then go drive them rumble strips again to his little heart’s content.

Heck , go around the block again and again and again
THEN go to the store.

I vote for entertaining the child. They grow up so fast. Besides…the vibration may make some electrical connectors a little snugger and that would be helping the vehicle. This action may also finish off some failing bulbs so that would also be helpful in most cases.

He is both right and wrong.

Any vibration can and does shorten the life of the lamp (if it is on). However the additional vibration of a rumble strip from time to time, will not generally make a meaningful difference.

Tell hubby to lighten up.

If your grandson likes rumble strips, drive over them now and then.

You won’t hurt anything. Automotive light bulbs are designed for rough duty.

He’s worrying about nothing.

I have an alternate theory. While your grandson might love the sound your husband hates it. He is not willing to be up front about putting his own comfort above that of the grandson’s amusement so he made up this silly thing about bulbs to make it “bad for the car” rather than “bad for his own ears.” Of course, now he is wishing he had chosen suspension parts or at least something more compelling than lightbulbs.

Ask your husband how many bulbs he’s had to replace since this rumble strip thing started. Everyday potholes, expansion cracks, washboarding, and railroad tracks are far worse than any rumble strip.

Heck, I’ve done it a number of times on purpose to tweak my wife and haven’t had a bulb blink out yet because of this.

Thanks to the ever shrinking budget most cities face, those are more and more common anymore. It irks me to see some pockmarked street that’s traveled on quite a bit never get paved, but a street that’s still smooth will get another coat of asphalt, after they tear up the road to put new tar down.

Hey; I like it! Tell your thoughtful husband that you agree with him now, and have him check the lights while you operate the turn signals and backup lights. Don’t let him forget the license plate light(s). Do this six times a year.

It does not matter who is right. How do you measure the value of fun? Just don’t tell the police that you drove over the rumble strip on purpose. Some things aren’t funny to them.

Where I live there are rumble strips that you can’t avoid. They set them up ahead of curves on long straight stretches to “wake up” the drivers. I would think not driving over these would annoy the cops (you’d have to drive on the wrong side of the street to avoid them).

If we’re talking about the rumble strips along the sides of the road, then constantly running over them might attract a cop’s attention thinking you are possibly impaired, so saying you were doing it to amuse the kid might actually help.