Are Your Halogen Headlights Burning Out Unusually Fast?

With no resolve my headlights have been going out one at a time every three to four months for the past two years. The other day I went to meet a friend for lunch and as I was pulling up to the restaurant and I saw my cars reflection in the window and, yep you guessed it I had a headlight out again. After lunch I went to a mechanic, but not my usual mechanic who I have been going since the life of my car. I went to a shop right up the street and I explained my frustration with my headlights to the mechanic and he said casually and condescendingly “well are you touching the light bulb”?  Me, “No, my mechanic always installs the new light bulb.” The mechanic smirks and says “if you touch a halogen light bulb it will burn out because of the oil on your hands” he then laughs as if this is common knowledge. A few minutes later he walked back in with my old light bulb and shows me the finger print. Ugh, so the reason my light bulbs have been burning out is because my usual mechanic doesn’t know that you cannot touch a halogen light bulb, well that sucks. I figured that if I didn’t know this, and my mechanic of all people didn’t know this than there is a chance that you might not either.

I prefer the Silver Star Ultra halogen light, it is a little pricy about $50.00 for two but I think it’s worth it. The picture on the upper left shows the comparison of the Silver Star Ultra and stock lights. The halogen produces a brighter light with more clarity than a regular gas filled lamp.

What is a Halogen Light Bulb?

Halogen lights are an incandescent lamp with a small amount of halogen such as bromine or iodine. The tungsten filament and halogen gas create the halogen cycle chemical reaction. This chemical reaction redeposits evaporated tungsten back onto the filament which increases the life of the bulb and maintains its clarity. Consequently, the halogen light bulb operates at a much higher temperature and is brighter with more clarity than a traditional gas filled lamp. Oil from ones fingerprints damage the quart envelope of the bulb when heated, the oil creates a hot spot or causes the bulb to bubble which causes the bulb to burn out quicker or the filament to blow out.

How to Handle a Halogen Bulb?

When installing a halogen bulb the best thing to do is wear latex gloves. If you do not have latex gloves lying around touch the bulb with a paper towel. If oil from your hands gets on the bulb, or the bulb gets contaminated in any way you can clean it by whipping it thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and making sure the alcohol has dried before operating the bulb.  Remember that using gloves or special handling with halogen bulbs is not just selective to halogen headlights or small lights for your vehicle it is ALL halogen light bulbs.