/ dipped healights

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balmybaldwin 11 Aug 2019

Just had a shocking journey back home in fading light and rain...My dipped beam headlights are awful to the extent I just can't see if there's a car coming the other way (also on dipped).

This is the first journey I've done in this car at night. not sure what I can do about it other than checking the the lights are aligned properly (they are both working and seem normal brightness from the outside of the car)

Any ideas? - It's a 10 year old Porsche if that makes any difference

Maybe I've just been spoiled by my last car (2016 golf)

wintertree 11 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Take your shades off?

2
balmybaldwin 11 Aug 2019
In reply to wintertree:

No shades on

Fozzy 11 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Is the alternator working properly? 

wintertree 11 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> No shades on

One fallback is to check for nackered adaptive headlights.

Aside: As part of my problem solving there I learnt that BMW headlight control units have a stealth 2nd odometer in them that records mileage so you can spot a casually clocked car by the disagreement between the headlight unit and the dash.  

Generally though, well set up dipped headlights should illuminate in-front and to the left of your car a lot more than into the oncoming traffic; perhaps your over powered shopping trolley, er sorry golf, had maladjusted dipped and between that and dawn/dusk being a challenging time for human vision when driving you’re just experiencing the new normal.

I’d normally expect to see oncoming cars by their dipped headlights before seeing them by the retro reflection of mine from their numberplates and then from their illumination from mine.

Mooncat 11 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

They "yellow" terribly, probably the most likely cause. Get a headlight restoration kit, it's a bit scary to use but works well. Turtle wax sell some stuff which works quite well for a quick fix. 

balmybaldwin 11 Aug 2019
In reply to Fozzy:

I think so - at least I haven't had any problems with the charge for starting etc (maybe I will tomorrow!)

balmybaldwin 11 Aug 2019
In reply to Mooncat:

If you mean the headlight "glass" - they are both perfectly clear and show no colour - I think they were done before i bought it

Dax H 12 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> Just had a shocking journey back home in fading light and rain...My dipped beam headlights are awful to the extent I just can't see if there's a car coming the other way (also on dipped).

Regardless of how good or poor your lights are you should be able to see a car coming the other way if they have their light's on. If you can't I would suggest a trip to the opticians. 

3
BnB 12 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

You've been spoiled by modern headlights. Technology has moved on very fast since 2009, such that even Xenons, which were the latest thing back then, seem rather dim today (at least to my ageing eyes). Which model is your Porsche? Boxsters and Caymans have fairly weedy lights anyway. The SUVs are usually better equipped in that department.

rj_townsend 12 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Do your lights have up/down angle adjustment? Most cars now have it so that you're not blinding pilots when towing or carrying heaver loads in the boot, but not sure whether a Porsche would be designed with this as a likelihood.

capoap 12 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Its an old Porsche and you drive it at night??? What's wrong with your main car???

Seriously put it up against a wall and check out they are dipping correctly. I have just acquired a VRS estate and the Zenons with adaptive control were miles to high, so much so that i could not see the curb on dip until i aligned them correctly. 

Al_Mac 12 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

They'll never be as good as something much newer but if they're normal bulbs then look into something uprated from the likes of Phillips or OSRAM. the +150% bulbs really are good. I use them in both my cars while they're not as sharp as the lights in my dad's Evoque with the super-LED upgrade, I actually prefer them. If you can make 17 year old lights work well then you can make some on an expensive (when new) 2009 Porsche. 

jkarran 12 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Check the lamps are clean, it has decent bulbs, they're fitted/seated properly. Especially where access is tight after a few skinned knuckles it's tempting to just jam them in but if they're not seated right the beam pattern will be all over the place. Also check they're levelled properly, auto-levellers can fail and the cockpit adjust can often wind them down very very low. Also check they dip the right way, if it's been bumped and rebuilt on the cheap it's possible you have ebay LHD lamps.

Most likely they're just rubbish by contrast with better modern offerings.

If you really can't see oncoming cars emitting their own light then get yourself an eye test booked.

jk

peppermill 12 Aug 2019
In reply to Al_Mac:

Not quite the same as a Porsche but did this when a bulb died on my Connect. The difference to the old headlamp bulbs was incredible, probably the best £30 or so I've spent in years. 

balmybaldwin 12 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Well sounds like it's worth experimenting with some better bulbs at the very least.

And it's not oncoming cars I'm having trouble seeing.... it's the road next to oncoming cars

jonny taylor 12 Aug 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> And it's not oncoming cars I'm having trouble seeing.... it's the road next to oncoming cars

Oncoming cars with retina-searing xenon bulbs, or the old-school bulbs that the legislation on headlight power was actually intended for? If the former, I feel your pain and wouldn't assume it's any problem with your car.

Toerag 13 Aug 2019
In reply to jonny taylor:

I'd say there was a good case for reducing modern headlight bulb brightness - everything else simply goes black including cyclists and pedestrians . It's a bloney arms race with headlamps now , and not to the benefit of all.

antdav 13 Aug 2019

I had a similar problem (not a porsche ) and apparently it was that the chrome reflector cup that throws the light forward got tarnished, may be worth seeing if they are still like mirrors.

Some higher strength bulbs from a decent manufactuter will likely help but they do burn through a lot quicker so keep some spares if you go down that route. 


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