New Car Headlamps

I love my 54-plate Honda Accord and there’s very little wrong with it. One of my biggest bugbears, though, is just how crap the headlights are. When driving in dusky conditions, it is difficult to tell if my lights are actually on or not. Driving through well-lit areas at night show very little illumination more than 10ft in front of the car. Once you get to motorway speeds on unlit sections, that becomes very worrying.

For this reason, in the back of my head I had the idea of replacing the headlamp bulbs for something a bit better. It was always going to be a “round tuit” case of affairs, but I picked up a recent-ish issue of Auto Express in my local doctor’s surgery the other day and found a review of over 30 headlight bulbs. You can read the full test on the Auto Express website.

In a nutshell, I skipped straight to the winner (Philips X-treme Power) and looked round to getting some of them. Unfortunately, it appears that my Honda Accord is slightly off the beaten-track when it comes to headlight fixings. It demands HB4 bulbs, rather than the much more common H7 fixing. I’m also limited to bog-standard filament bulbs, rather than the newer-style HID bulbs, which must be placed in a car designed for them.

The review has four categories: standard, Plus 30, 50 Plus, and Blue. The numbers referring to the amount of extra light available at 75m compared to standard bulbs. Both the 50+ winner (Philips X-treme Power) and the second place bulbs (Philips Vision Plus) are not available in HB4 fixings. Plus 30 category 1st and 2nd were Philips Premium and Bosch Xenon Power. Only the Philips was available in my size.

The Blue category isn’t anything illicit, just refers to the latest trend to have the HID-look without actually owning a car capable of holding them. They do this by applying a blue coating to the bulb surface – unfortunately, this cuts down on amount of light emitted. First and second in this category were Narva Range Power Blue and Philips BlueVision. Out of those two, again only the Philips offers an HB4 fitting.

As the Philips BlueVision got a better review than the Philips Premium, I’ve decided to go for the blue-effect ones and have just ordered some at a cost of £23.45 delivered (for the pair). That’s about twice the price of a cheap Halfords’ equivalent, but hopefully it’s money well-spent. When they arrive and I install them, I’ll let you know what they’re like. As yet, I don’t know how silly it will look with standard (yellow-tint) bulbs for the sidelights, I might replace them too if it looks naff. It will unfortunately make the car look a bit boy-racerish from the front, but hopefully the diesel badge and proper boot at the back will dispel those thoughts.