Dark nights.... terrible lights

Interior and Exterior bodywork Faults and Fixes
Kodi1311
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:51 pm

Dark nights.... terrible lights

Post by Kodi1311 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:25 am

Car is a SE model. Last winter I was amazed how bad the lights were and was always going to try and upgrade the bulbs. Never got round to it and now the dark nights are back I can’t go another winter with these standard lights. They are shockingly bad. Just looking for recommendations on what bulbs to buy. I would like to change to LED units but have read they are not compatible from SEL and up range.

TIA


Silverbear
Posts: 348
Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 9:54 am
Location: UK

Re: Dark nights.... terrible lights

Post by Silverbear » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:38 am

I'd agree the single reversing light is awful on the SE and seems an economy too far to me. I have reversed with such an SE and it was so bad I had to put my hazards on to create more light AND keep getting out to see where I was reversing. On mine I have the reversing camera simply because it brings with it the second reversing lamp which I need to reverse on narrow country roads in the pitch black, something I have to do on most journeys as the roads are so narrow. I was lucky to realise this on an SE with just the one light and managed to sort in on my car before it was built. Now it is just as easy to reverse as any other car I have driven. It seems strange to me that Skoda would do this with the SE. The camera itself I find only marginally useful, it works perfectly well, lovely bright image, but I can't bring myself to look forwards while moving backwards.

I have not found the halogens on the front a problem and I drive daily at night around a busy town, on dual carriageways and lonely narrow pitch black country lanes so really the full gamut of night time driving. They are just ordinary halogens like cars have had for decades. What are the conditions you drive in? Do you find these halogens worse than halogens you have had on other cars?

Did you buy new or used and does the car have the proper bulbs installed?
SE (5 seats) 1.5 4x4 DSG, factory tow bar, drive mode selection, reversing camera, rough road package, folding door mirrors, 215/65R17 spare wheel.


old man
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:23 am
Location: Somerset

Re: Dark nights.... terrible lights

Post by old man » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:18 am

I had the same problem with my last car (a Hyundai). The standard halogens fitted to it were not a patch on the Zenons I'd had in the Superb that preceded it. I'm not sure in in these cases though, that the problem is all down to the bulbs. I think the reflectors etc play a part as well and I'm sure someone here will have better knowledge of that than me.
However, I did replace the standard bulbs with Phillips Extreme Vision bulbs which made an appreciable difference and I would recommend them if they were still available. I don't know why they've been discontinued, but a quick search brings up these;
https://www.eurocarparts.com/p/philips-racing-vision-150-extra-light-h7-twin-pack-48177022R
I'm guessing these replaced what I had, but please do a check to make sure they're compatible with your car and that they will pass an MOT test. That was something I was worried about at the time I changed mine, as not long afterwards MOT standards were changed, but they went through no problem.
At the time I researched what bulbs to get, another make came up that were touted as being as good as the Phillips and from memory they were Osrams, but I cannot remember the model type, so you'll have to do your own research on that.
When I did my replacement, I replaced all four bulbs i.e. low and high beam.


Silverbear
Posts: 348
Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 9:54 am
Location: UK

Re: Dark nights.... terrible lights

Post by Silverbear » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:28 am

When I last went into a well known high street automotive shop to buy halogens for my wife's car I noticed there has a range of bulbs that could be fitted. Some were rated as longer life but when I did the maths I decided it was better to buy cheaper and buy a spare and keep in the car. I think some were also rated as brighter though I can't be sure so would need to check. I did not buy the brighter bulbs, I think, as I did not know how tightly head lamp brightness is regulated and whether the car would still be legal. Certainly I have noticed some cars have blinding headlights even when on dipped so I have to wonder if all cars are legal.
SE (5 seats) 1.5 4x4 DSG, factory tow bar, drive mode selection, reversing camera, rough road package, folding door mirrors, 215/65R17 spare wheel.


old man
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:23 am
Location: Somerset

Re: Dark nights.... terrible lights

Post by old man » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:39 am

I have to wonder if all cars are legal.
The answer to that is, no they're not.
There are many people fitting replacement bulbs in ignorance of the fact that they don't comply with the law and there are others who just don't care about the legalities.
This is why I said the OP should do a check to make sure his replacements are not only legal, but will also pass an MOT.


Silverbear
Posts: 348
Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 9:54 am
Location: UK

Re: Dark nights.... terrible lights

Post by Silverbear » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:29 am

old man wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:39 am
I have to wonder if all cars are legal.
The answer to that is, no they're not.
There are many people fitting replacement bulbs in ignorance of the fact that they don't comply with the law and there are others who just don't care about the legalities.
This is why I said the OP should do a check to make sure his replacements are not only legal, but will also pass an MOT.
I have often thought, when being approached by a car with blindingly bright headlights, that the driver of the offending car must also be blinded by some other headlights and do they ever wonder if they are doing the exact same thing to other drivers? I won't fit brighter bulbs in my car, not that I find I need to, because I don't want to inconvenience other drivers.

That said automotive lighting is not my speciality and perhaps these brighter bulbs are able to provide the driver with more light while not being brighter for other drivers. Perhaps the extra illumination is directed at the road and not the windscreen and the cars with the blinding headlights are like this because they are badly adjusted in some way.

The most obvious question of all it seems to me is that if brighter bulbs are available why are they not simply fitted at the factory? Surely manufacturers would fit the brightest bulb available and if not why not? The difference in cost is a tenner.

Regarding the MOT surely cars would fail 'en masse' if these bulbs were illegal and people would not do it. I admit to finding it confusing.
SE (5 seats) 1.5 4x4 DSG, factory tow bar, drive mode selection, reversing camera, rough road package, folding door mirrors, 215/65R17 spare wheel.


FoxtrotAlpha
Posts: 712
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:57 am

Re: Dark nights.... terrible lights

Post by FoxtrotAlpha » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:39 am

Not sure if this helps but this site sells compatible bulbs are does state if they are road legal or not.

https://www.powerbulbs.com/store/category/car-bulbs/fitting/h7-499

I doubt you can easily retrofit the LED units as the are adaptive so they would require some software changes at a bear minimum if not additional hardware .

I have no idea why Skoda sells a relatively expensive car with dated and inadequate halogen lighting units, surely the could have fitted better technology even if they were not adaptive. The different lighting units are one of the reasons why I have alway suggested that people should go for the SEL over the SE. After using LEDs which are vastly superior lights on the last few cars I would never go back to halogens.
It's a 'Kodiaq' and not a 'Bear' unless you are 5 years old.
Kodiaq Sportline - 150 TDI - DSG 4 x 4 - Quartz Grey


old man
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:23 am
Location: Somerset

Re: Dark nights.... terrible lights

Post by old man » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:48 am

I see from FAs post that the Phillips bulbs I fitted are still available, but I'm sure that since it's been 3 years + since I bought mine they'll have been superseded by better ones.


old man
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:23 am
Location: Somerset

Re: Dark nights.... terrible lights

Post by old man » Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:52 pm

Silverbear wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:29 am
old man wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:39 am
I have to wonder if all cars are legal.
The answer to that is, no they're not.
There are many people fitting replacement bulbs in ignorance of the fact that they don't comply with the law and there are others who just don't care about the legalities.
This is why I said the OP should do a check to make sure his replacements are not only legal, but will also pass an MOT.
I have often thought, when being approached by a car with blindingly bright headlights, that the driver of the offending car must also be blinded by some other headlights and do they ever wonder if they are doing the exact same thing to other drivers? I won't fit brighter bulbs in my car, not that I find I need to, because I don't want to inconvenience other drivers.

Do you really think that the type of people that fit not fit for purpose aftermarket bulbs think that deeply ?

That said automotive lighting is not my speciality and perhaps these brighter bulbs are able to provide the driver with more light while not being brighter for other drivers. Perhaps the extra illumination is directed at the road and not the windscreen and the cars with the blinding headlights are like this because they are badly adjusted in some way.

Any bulb from an established, well known maker e.g Phillips, Osram etc will have been researched and developed to work within the guidelines of the law.

The most obvious question of all it seems to me is that if brighter bulbs are available why are they not simply fitted at the factory? Surely manufacturers would fit the brightest bulb available and if not why not? The difference in cost is a tenner.

A good question and the answer has to be cost, because most major engineering companies have been governed by the bean counters for many rears now. Don't lose sight of the fact that you are talking of a price difference of £10 on one car, think of how many cars a major manufacture (VAG in this case) build and distribute world wide, thereby turning that £10 cost saving into £1000s. I do think though, that we should all have the same levels of safety built into our vehicles. Why should a wealthy person be safer than a poor one ? And no, I'm not related to Jeremy Corbyn !!

Regarding the MOT surely cars would fail 'en masse' if these bulbs were illegal and people would not do it. I admit to finding it confusing.
Since the MOT rules were tightened up recently, it should be much harder to get any headlights that don't conform through the test. However, the nobs who fit illegal bulbs for their own satisfaction, regardless of how badly they affect other road users, will simply put the originals back in to get the car through the MOT and swap them over again afterwards. That's assuming of course that all the said nobs get an MOT done at all :o

With regard to you not wanting to fit brighter, longer beam aftermarket bulbs, you are missing a trick, especially as you say you regularly drive on country lanes. An extra 30 or 40 feet of beam can mean the difference between hitting a pedestrian or an animal and stopping in time, neither of which is healthy for them or you. If you'd ever hit a pedestrian you would know that it's an experience that never leaves you and £50 spent on better bulbs is well worth the money.


Silverbear
Posts: 348
Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 9:54 am
Location: UK

Re: Dark nights.... terrible lights

Post by Silverbear » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:30 pm

old man wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:52 pm
Silverbear wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:29 am
old man wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:39 am


The answer to that is, no they're not.
There are many people fitting replacement bulbs in ignorance of the fact that they don't comply with the law and there are others who just don't care about the legalities.
This is why I said the OP should do a check to make sure his replacements are not only legal, but will also pass an MOT.
I have often thought, when being approached by a car with blindingly bright headlights, that the driver of the offending car must also be blinded by some other headlights and do they ever wonder if they are doing the exact same thing to other drivers? I won't fit brighter bulbs in my car, not that I find I need to, because I don't want to inconvenience other drivers.

Do you really think that the type of people that fit not fit for purpose aftermarket bulbs think that deeply ?

That said automotive lighting is not my speciality and perhaps these brighter bulbs are able to provide the driver with more light while not being brighter for other drivers. Perhaps the extra illumination is directed at the road and not the windscreen and the cars with the blinding headlights are like this because they are badly adjusted in some way.

Any bulb from an established, well known maker e.g Phillips, Osram etc will have been researched and developed to work within the guidelines of the law.

The most obvious question of all it seems to me is that if brighter bulbs are available why are they not simply fitted at the factory? Surely manufacturers would fit the brightest bulb available and if not why not? The difference in cost is a tenner.

A good question and the answer has to be cost, because most major engineering companies have been governed by the bean counters for many rears now. Don't lose sight of the fact that you are talking of a price difference of £10 on one car, think of how many cars a major manufacture (VAG in this case) build and distribute world wide, thereby turning that £10 cost saving into £1000s. I do think though, that we should all have the same levels of safety built into our vehicles. Why should a wealthy person be safer than a poor one ? And no, I'm not related to Jeremy Corbyn !!

Regarding the MOT surely cars would fail 'en masse' if these bulbs were illegal and people would not do it. I admit to finding it confusing.
Since the MOT rules were tightened up recently, it should be much harder to get any headlights that don't conform through the test. However, the nobs who fit illegal bulbs for their own satisfaction, regardless of how badly they affect other road users, will simply put the originals back in to get the car through the MOT and swap them over again afterwards. That's assuming of course that all the said nobs get an MOT done at all :o

With regard to you not wanting to fit brighter, longer beam aftermarket bulbs, you are missing a trick, especially as you say you regularly drive on country lanes. An extra 30 or 40 feet of beam can mean the difference between hitting a pedestrian or an animal and stopping in time, neither of which is healthy for them or you. If you'd ever hit a pedestrian you would know that it's an experience that never leaves you and £50 spent on better bulbs is well worth the money.
But brighter bulbs do not mean a longer beam, just a brighter beam. A photon is a photon and will travel just as far irrespective of how many mates it has along with it. My halogen lights will reach the Moon. Regarding brightness, the more narrow and dark the road the slower the safe speed so bright lights are not needed on narrow roads, only safe speeds and besides if the road is dark it means there is no approaching car and that is what full beam is for.
SE (5 seats) 1.5 4x4 DSG, factory tow bar, drive mode selection, reversing camera, rough road package, folding door mirrors, 215/65R17 spare wheel.


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