Every week at our store comes in a customer aiming to change the halogen bulbs of their just purchased aftermarket headlamp for his Peterbilt, Kenworth, or Volvo truck.
In every case, we ask the trucker why he replaced the OEM lamp, and the most common answer is that the transparent plastic cover got yellowish and opaque, and the lights dimmed.
Very few opt for crystal polishing the cover; they prefer to buy a crystal shinning aftermarket lamp, and since most of the headlights bring standard halogen bulbs, they come to our store to replace them with powerful LED ones.
The first piece of advice we want to give to you guys is to stay the longest possible with the original OEM headlamps. With no exceptions, OEM headlamps are of much better quality than aftermarket ones. Crystal polish them, finishing with a ceramic coating (that protects against U.V. light plastic oxidation), and only when the plastic crystal is irreversibly opaque or broken, replace them.
At FX-AA, we haven’t seen yet a truck’s aftermarket headlamp built to stand the long riding hours of nonstop functioning and challenging large trucks’ vibration levels.
Aftermarket headlamps manufacturers are based, almost exclusively, in China and Taiwan, but the more experienced ones are located at the latter.
Although Taiwan’s quality is superior, none of the headlamp models are built to stand the truck’s high vibration levels and frequent voltage spikes that very early damage the headlamp’s day running lights (DRLs) and turn signal LED chip’s circuits.
It is also common to find non-appropriate led bulbs in high-demanding headlamp applications. For example, the H1 bulb is the least luminous one. It was the first invented, and since it is small, it’s no so good getting rid of the heat and therefore is the least luminosity efficient.
It is very common to see H1s on truck headlamp’s high beam applications. The only comment we can make about this is that it is like not having a high beam light at all.
It is also widespread to find H7 bulbs on projector low beam applications. Both H1 and H7 are built to be fixed to the lamp by a clip. Under the large truck’s high vibration level, the least advisable fixation method is a clip. We presume that there may be royalty or patent restrictions to use better fixation bulbs like H11s or 9005s because not using them in a commercial truck’s lamp is simply crazy.
In conclusion, we propose the following if you are considering buying new headlamps for your truck:
- Keep with the original OEM lamps the most you can. If their covers get yellowish, polish them, not forgetting to apply the ceramic coating at the end.
- If you are compelled to replace them, prioritize the Taiwanese ones. There are two brands in halogen bulb ones that we recommend: Eagle Eyes and DEPO.
- Avoid H7 Low Beam, H1 High Beam ones if possible. H11s and 9005/9006s are the most advisable bulb types. They will allow you to LED upgrade your lamps beautifully.
- If the lamp comes with two-functions bulbs (low/high beams in the same bulb), you will be restricted to H4s and 9007s. It’s tough to find online these types of LEDs built for the truck’s hardship. We have no other option than to say that we carry the right ones.
We hope that we have briefly transmitted our thoughts regarding Aftermarket Commercial Truck’s Headlamps. We have restricted our opinion to bulb-type lamps. Today there is quite a development on LED sealed headlamps that are much more luminosity efficient, reaching higher distances with less glare, and capable of intelligent functions like automatically dimming the lights or turning them on and off depending on the incoming or surrounding traffic.
FX-AA is now involved in a project of such headlamps with a top-class Taiwanese manufacturer. We hope that you will know of them on this website very soon.
In the meantime, we will keep LED retrofitting the misdesigned heavy truck lamps that are the only ones available…