Which bulb for a replacement H4 headlamp?
Useful information from ABD.
[Links to other items on headlamp upgrades]
H4 Osram Night Breaker
Laser 150% Next Generation bulbs 12v 60/55W (pair)
H4 Philips WhiteVision
Ultra 12V 60/55W bulbs (pair)
MGBGTV8 car owners who have a installed replacement H4 Halogen
headlamps as an upgrade to improve the visibility ahead at night
from the relatively poor lighting provided by the original sealed
beam units will need to choose suitable bulbs. But which bulb
will be the question for many? Chris Hunt Cooke has found a
useful website - ABD - Automotive Brilliance, Delivered
- with information that helps clarify the headlight bulb options.
ABD say the first step is to identify which technology your
current headlights use - Halogen, HID Xenon or LED. This
is your starting point. From there, you can consider the upgrade
options for each technology. With the H4 Halogen headlamp units
used for the upgrade from sealed beams the choice is between
the various brands offering standard and brighter Halogen bulbs.
Bulb choices for an MGBGTV8 owner
With Halogen bulbs as a standard for replacement H4 headlamp
units you have the option to upgrade to brighter Halogens, convert
to LED or convert to HID Xenon. ABD have released an updated
guide covering what bulbs you need, how to choose the right
bulbs, highlighting the difference between Halogen, LED and
Xenon bulbs and then describing what purpose each bulb has.
See the ABD Bulb Guide 2020
Brightest Halogen bulbs
While newer technologies are slowly filtering through, the majority
of vehicles on the road still use Halogen bulbs for their headlights.
If you have Halogen headlights the first thing you will need
to know is what bulb part number you need - an H4 bulb for
an MGBGTV8 with a replacement H4 headlamop unit. Currently,
there are some top contenders for levels of brightness - OSRAM,
Philips, RING and Twenty20 and all claim their Halogen bulbs
produce up to 150% more brightness than a standard bulb. The
ADB guide to the Brightest Halogen Bulbs has a comparison
of the quality, longevity and value for money of those leading
brands. With a classic car like an MGBGTV8 typically covering
between 2,500 and 5,000 miles a year the longevity factor will
be less of a concern than for an owner selecting bulbs for a
"daily driven car" covering say 10,000 miles or more
the ABD Guide to Brighter Halogen Bulbs
Road legal upgrades
With up to 150% more light, the upgrades ABD reviews are by
far the brightest filament bulbs that you can get right now.
They are completely road legal, E marked and come with a warranty.
As you are replacing Halogen with Halogen, these are the easiest
to fit. The downside to having upgraded Halogen bulbs is their
lifespan. Unfortunately the brighter you go, the shorter the
bulbs actually last. This is due to the filament inside the
bulb burning out at a faster rate.
LED bulbs are often mentioned - they last longer and are
brighter, but whilst the technology adapts and improves the
UK vehicle lighting regulations do not. Some regulations date
back to the late 1970s meaning newer technological advances
will not conform to their vehicle lighting standards or MOT
HID Conversions kits work in the same way as OE HID
headlights, but are simply designed to fit into a Halogen
headlight unit. These kits contain ballast units and bulbs
that plug together for a simple installation process. ABD
say "the ballast units coupled with the right bulbs can
bring some immense light to your vehicle with brightness up
by 400%. HID conversion kits are by far the brightest options
available on the market. Whilst other options may claim to
be brighter these are however often unsafe for you and other
ABD concludes its website article saying:
Upgraded Halogen Bulbs
- These lights are perfect for anyone worried about price
or road legalities.They
are a simple, no-hassle upgrade choice and provide you with
a high increase in brightness.Like every other option, they
still have their drawbacks.Unfortunately these bulbs just
dont last as long as LED or HID.
HID Kits -
Aside from the fact that HID kits will cause you to fail an
MOT, they are the brightest bulbs on the market.If
fitted correctly, they shouldnt cause any issues.
LED Bulbs - These
bulbs have similar issues as HID kits except there is no reason
for them to fail an MOT. There is nothing in the MOT guidelines
that would cause a failure but they are still not road legal
because they cant be E marked. With between 150% to
300% more light than standard Halogen bulbs, and the longest
life of all the technologies, these can be are a serious upgrade
some owners might feel they need to consider.