Defective cars?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Dave W
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Defective cars?

Postby Dave W » 24 Nov 2015, 7:27am

Anyone notice just how many cars are on the road with defective headlights?
Why is this - lack of police?

Pyranha
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby Pyranha » 24 Nov 2015, 7:33am

I think it's partly because in urban conditions (particularly) it is not easy to notice if one headlight is out. Some years ago, I only realised when the second one died and I had no lights. And the lack of police to enforce probably contributes.

mattsccm
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby mattsccm » 24 Nov 2015, 7:42am

Those daytime driving lights that come on with the ignition lull drivers into a false sense of brightness. Also modern bulbs are a sod to replace in many cases and people won't find time to take them to their main dealer who will charge a bomb to do the job.
Yet another reason why modern society isn't as good as it was :roll:

Brucey
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby Brucey » 24 Nov 2015, 10:42am

It is fair to note that whilst many new cars have LED lighting now, most of the cars on the roads are a few years older and have tungsten bulbs.

A few years ago most of the factories that manufactured automotive lamps for both OEM and the aftermarket were relocated to cheap labour markets. Suddenly bulbs were a bit cheaper to buy but were often also instantly (and disastrously) less reliable in some instances. Vauxhalls, Fords and VWs seem to be the worst offenders; presumably they buy at the lowest price and expect their customers to deal with the issues; bulbs are not a warranty item, they are 'a consumable', so cynically, I think that the car makers don't give a damn if the bulbs fail after a few months.

I have had bulbs fail in cars which then failed again and again and again in quick succession, simply because the only replacement bulbs I could buy were just rubbish. I genuinely couldn't buy decent bulbs anywhere. I got so desperate that I began to remove bulbs from cars in the scrapyard; if I took a bulb from (say) a 20-year old Honda, the chances were excellent that it would be a Japanese-made Stanley bulb made with an expected lifetime of many thousands of hours, and even though already old, it would outlast any new bulbs I could buy. In a few cases I couldn't find the right kind of bulb and then I took to carrying multiple spare bulbs in the car so that I would have a fighting chance of remaining lit up.

I could have a proper moan about automotive lighting in general; I do not believe that the direction it is going in is in many cases a good one; the designs are skewed heavily for the benefit of styling and a (marginal) benefit of some kind for the driver of that vehicle; in the meantime the fact that every other road user can't see a blessed thing and is inconvenienced by these crappy lights seems far away from the cares of the car lighting designers.

Current EU rules for lighting permit (in fact encourage) as sharp a cutoff of the dipped beam as possible, and if it isn't aimed a long way up the road, you car will fail the MOT! It is as if bumpy/undulating roads don't exist in 'Lighting Regulation World'. Even if the lights are set correctly (which they are often not) oncoming traffic is often blinded by what are effectively bright flashing lights from oncoming traffic on such roads. I don't think that it is terribly difficult to see that this does not in any way improve road safety! astonishing is going on????

Another gripe is car indicator lights; again they are now designed not with common sense, but to a bad set of rules. 25 years ago an indicator lamp would be designed with a prismatic outer face, amber in colour. Such lamps are clearly visible from all angles even in bright sunlight and furthermore you would easily know where to look for a flashing indicator light on the vehicle. Modern lights mostly have clear lenses and are NOT clearly visible over such a wide range of angles (or in bright sunlight) and in addition it is not clear where even to look on any given vehicle for such a signal. I am pretty sure that whoever designed the rules did so for the benefit of other motorists (an failed there too BTW) but they certainly never thought that the most vulnerable road users need to be able to see these lights at funny angles if they are to stay alive. If you have just been squashed by a left-turning car, it is scant consolation that 'they were in the wrong'....

enough ranting for now...

cheers
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jochta
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby jochta » 24 Nov 2015, 11:23am

It's always the same this time of year once the clocks go back. Presumably a lot of motorists don't drive in the dark much so don't notice until the darker evenings that a bulb has failed. They then take forever to get around to replacing them.

beardy
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby beardy » 24 Nov 2015, 11:40am

They then take forever to get around to replacing them.


This may be true but doing a bit of beer mat maths suggests it might not be.
I am pretty aware when I have lost a headlight in the dark but even with my relatively easy to replace bulbs and always having spares in the car, I am loath to do a nocturnal roadside bulb change and for just one light it would probably take a nudge from a Police Officer to stop me waiting for the next day and the comfort of my garage.
A return journey is typically 10 or 20 miles for me and I probably do less than 2,000 miles a year at night. So I could account for one car in a hundred that you see with a light down. Though in practice I dont because my bulbs dont fail as often as 4,000 miles but as Brucey said I did have a run of bad bulbs once until I found the present pair.

One thing which I noticed about modern car indicators is that the side mounted indicators are no longer required on cars. One day I only spotted a Jaguar which I was overtaking was indicating right when I saw it reflected in the rear of the car infront. After that I checked and found many cars dont have lights in the wing or the mirrors.

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TrevA
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby TrevA » 24 Nov 2015, 12:06pm

mattsccm wrote:Those daytime driving lights that come on with the ignition lull drivers into a false sense of brightness. Also modern bulbs are a sod to replace in many cases and people won't find time to take them to their main dealer who will charge a bomb to do the job.
Yet another reason why modern society isn't as good as it was :roll:


I go to Halfords. They charge £10-12 for fitting plus the cost of the bulb. It's a 10 minute job at most and is done while you wait.

I find bulbs last a couple of years or 20,000 miles.
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fastpedaller
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby fastpedaller » 24 Nov 2015, 2:10pm

beardy wrote:

One thing which I noticed about modern car indicators is that the side mounted indicators are no longer required on cars.


I'm convinced this isn't the case - but I'm ready to be corrected if you can name a car sold after 1986 that doesn't have either side repeaters or door mirror indicators! I'll them happily report to VOSA (or whatever they are called now!)

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RickH
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby RickH » 24 Nov 2015, 2:14pm

Mind-bogglingly, for some cars it is a full garage job - pretty much the whole of the front of the car has to be removed to change a headlamp bulb! :shock:

Rick.

karlt
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby karlt » 24 Nov 2015, 3:31pm

Designers for whom practicality wasn't part of the brief :(

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 24 Nov 2015, 3:49pm

karlt wrote:Designers for whom practicality wasn't part of the brief :(

Service charges were though...



Good thing you aren't required to carry spare bulbs in France - that would just be embarras... Oh.
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jochta
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby jochta » 24 Nov 2015, 4:05pm

fastpedaller wrote:
beardy wrote:

One thing which I noticed about modern car indicators is that the side mounted indicators are no longer required on cars.


I'm convinced this isn't the case - but I'm ready to be corrected if you can name a car sold after 1986 that doesn't have either side repeaters or door mirror indicators! I'll them happily report to VOSA (or whatever they are called now!)


From the MOT test...

Vehicles first used on or after 1 April 1986 must be fitted with one side repeater indicator on each side. Instead of a separate lamp, the side repeater might be part of the front direction indicator if it includes a wraparound lens.

Lamps incorporating a side repeater are marked either with an ‘E’ mark in a circle or an ‘e’ mark in a rectangle above which is a number 5.

However, some vehicles are fitted with a wraparound lens with no European approval markings. These can be tested by standing approximately 1000mm to the side of the vehicle’s rear bumper with the indicator on. If amber light can be seen coming through the front lens (not a reflection) this is acceptable.

jochta
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby jochta » 24 Nov 2015, 4:07pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:
karlt wrote:Designers for whom practicality wasn't part of the brief :(

Service charges were though...



Good thing you aren't required to carry spare bulbs in France - that would just be embarras... Oh.


I'd like to see Halfords tackle that one for £7!

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mjr
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby mjr » 24 Nov 2015, 4:12pm

beardy wrote:I am pretty aware when I have lost a headlight in the dark but even with my relatively easy to replace bulbs and always having spares in the car, I am loath to do a nocturnal roadside bulb change and for just one light it would probably take a nudge from a Police Officer to stop me waiting for the next day and the comfort of my garage.

There's a middle ground: pull in at the next service station or multi-storey car park and do the change in a lit and covered space. That would be my choice unless I'm completely out in the back of beyond, when I'd take the chance of changing the bulb at the roadside. I wouldn't do it on a busy road because driving standards seem to be falling, so there's probably an increasing risk of another motorist not realising I'd pulled over and driving straight into the back of my car. :evil:

I think we're seeing more of these because of brighter street lights, cuts to traffic policing and that almost no-one seems to bother to test their lights before setting off any more. It's usually easy to put the lights on and walk around the car (if there's not things nearby to illuminate), then watch in the mirror while pressing the foot brake and selecting/deselecting reverse... could do it while demisting the windows... although there's another thing which seems to be unfashionable now :evil:

Today, I pulled up beside a motorist after he'd reverse-parked to tell him both his reversing lights had failed. I think this sort of thing happens about 1 ride out of 10 this month... but all people seem to want to talk about is cyclists without lights :roll: There's far too much acceptance of unsafe motoring. I heard a certain pro cyclist recently saying he'd had to go to court to pay a speeding fine which was sort of unfair as he was only 5mph over.
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fastpedaller
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Re: Defective cars?

Postby fastpedaller » 24 Nov 2015, 4:30pm

jochta wrote:From the MOT test...

Vehicles first used on or after 1 April 1986 must be fitted with one side repeater indicator on each side. Instead of a separate lamp, the side repeater might be part of the front direction indicator if it includes a wraparound lens.

Lamps incorporating a side repeater are marked either with an ‘E’ mark in a circle or an ‘e’ mark in a rectangle above which is a number 5.

However, some vehicles are fitted with a wraparound lens with no European approval markings. These can be tested by standing approximately 1000mm to the side of the vehicle’s rear bumper with the indicator on. If amber light can be seen coming through the front lens (not a reflection) this is acceptable.


That's interesting. I wonder what the Construction and Use regs say though? They should be in tune with MOT, I agree. Certainly side repeaters are required for IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval), which is a special test for Kit Cars, Imports (and other oddball , non-type approved such as hearses), In fact I've seen cases where even the side repeater has to be moved because the angle isn't 'correct' because the rear wheel arch obscures it (even though from the viewing position the tester can see the rear indicator). I'm astonished we just don't have 'World rules' as in most cases the humans and conditions are very similar