Thursday, February 28, 2008

Update: Sylvania Silverstar Headlight Bulb

If you've read this post, you know that I replaced my OEM H-4 headlight bulb with a Sylvania Silverstar. I've since become aware of reports of very short Silverstar bulb life, so I did a little research in case it was simply a case of folks getting greasy fingerprints on the bulbs during installation. It turns out the Silverstars do indeed have an extremely short life, in both motorcycles and cars, compared to standard OEM bulbs. Here is a reply direct from Sylvania: "Thank you for your inquiry and interest in Sylvania SilverStars. The SilverStars are a performance, premium halogen that have a significantly shorter life span than the standard. The shorter life span is directly related to the performance nature of the lamps. The amethyst colored coating on the glass contributes to the crisp white light emitted, but also traps heat inside the capsule, causing the filament to burn out more quickly, thus decreasing the life. Expected life is about a year, and is largely dependent upon your individual driving habits. The life of the product is decreased significantly if it is being used in a day time running light application. Estimated life in a day time running light application is at most 6 months." Similar information is found on Sylvania's website. I'm not sure what Sylvania considers a "daytime running light". I believe "true" DRLs are run at a lower voltage, which may increase heat. If so, lights that are on all the time but run at full voltage (like all modern US-spec motorcycles) would likely last longer. I always travel with a spare headlight bulb anyway, but this is good info to know. I may just replace my Silverstar at around 12 months instead of waiting for it to blow, because with my luck it'll happen 150 miles from the the rain.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I just replaced the second of my first pair of Silverstars. The 12 month life estimate seems about right, and my vehicle has low-voltage DRLs, so perhaps the effect of that isn't as drastic as they say. Still, at $19 a pop I will have to consider carefully whether they are worth it next time around. I do like the enhanced visibility.

March 6, 2009 at 11:52:00 PM EST  

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