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Headlight Bulb Information

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Alex8181, Nov 20, 2005.

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  1. Alex8181

    Alex8181 Administrator

    May 16, 2005
    2005 Flint Mica
    Written By:Alex8181

    The stock Scion tC headlight bulb is a 51 watt 9006 bulb. The 9006 bulb is very popular application in many vehicles using halogen bulbs and therefore have several aftermarket manufacturers of the headlights bulbs. Before buying a new set of bulbs there is some information you may want to consider, particularly in regards to the popular high wattage HID look-a-like bulbs. Many of these bulbs use a higher wattage than standard bulbs and using them will risk damaging parts of your vehicles.

    The Scion headlight assembly is primarily composed of plastic pieces. The possibility of melting or damaging parts of the headlight assembly are increased by the extra heat put forth from these high wattage bulbs. There have been cases where headlight assemblies have started a web-like cracking due to being exposed to such high heat for extended lengths of time.

    There have also been several cases of bulbs damaging the headlight wiring harness. The harnesses were designed for specific heat and power tolerances. The extra heat and power from these bulbs may melt the insulation or the wires themselves and is a very costly fix.

    For those who have used those HID look-a-like bulbs, many will notice that the bulbs have a blue coating on the glass to give that white or blue hue to the outputting light. The coating also reduces the actual light output of the bulbs and successfully reduces the effectiveness and the purpose of the headlight bulbs.

    Halogen lights uses current drawn through a filament to provide light. With those higher wattage bulbs the extra current burns out those filaments much quicker, hence the inquiries of several tuners in forums for long-lasting bulbs. True HID?s use a totally different type of technology which allows it to keep the temperature down while still allowing for ample amounts of light.

    Another quick note to remember is that many of the aftermarket companies will state that their bulbs are DOT compliant. Headlight bulbs are not actually regulated by the Department of Transportation but by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). Many of the aftermarket headlights are illegal unless SAE approved. So when choosing halogen lights, pay close attention that you are paying for a quality product and not the marketing hype.

    There is also a growing trend of several scion owners modifying 9005 high beam headlight bulbs to fit in their 9006 low beam headlights. Although this conversion has been successful for some people on other types of vehicles there are several reasons why these should not be used on our tC?s. The first reason is very similar to using the HID look-a-like bulbs and that is the increase in wattage and heat output of the bulbs. Although high beam headlights are only appx. 15 watts more, excessive usage may exceed the tolerances of our headlight assemblies. Secondly, high beam bulbs were designed to use sparingly and using them as a primary source of lighting will burn out the filaments much more quickly. Research on forums will show a majority of people who do this conversion advise that their bulbs burn out in a matter of months. The final reason for not doing this conversion is that our headlights use a reflector type assembly as opposed to a projector type. Projector assemblies need to be aimed and angled downwards toward the road, while reflector types use a series of reflective plastic to point the light as it is put forth from the bulb. Closer examination between a high and low beam bulb, you will notice that the high beam does not have a solid coating on the tip of the bulb. When using a high beam in a reflective housing the loss of the coating will provide light that is not correctly reflected and light will be reflected towards other drivers and vehicles as opposed to the road itself. So I caution those intending to do this conversion and advise consumers to choose their aftermarket parts intelligently.

    Hopefully this will give consumers more insight while they are upgrading their tC?s and not believe the hype involved with some products. Make smart decisions when choosing upgrades, especially when it may affect others on the road.
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