Headlamp help

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  #1  
Old 02-28-09, 03:30 AM
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Headlamp help

So I'm sick and tired of replacing my driver side head light every 5 months. Why does it keep going out? Electrical short? Could it be the car's alarm? Should i spring for a new headlamp assembly?

I drive an 03 Mazda Protege5, 2.0L, automatic... nothing out of the ordinary. I try my darndest not to touch the bulb as I'm replacing it. I just can't get it to last longer than a couple of seasons. What gives? Where do I start?

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 02-28-09, 06:02 AM
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does the headlamp assembly have a leak in it that will let water in? Only takes one drop of water on the light when it is on and away she goes.
 
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Old 02-28-09, 06:31 AM
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Trying your best won't do it...if these are halogen, you can't touch them at all. Cheap cotton gloves will work or neoprene. It doesn't hurt to wipe them with isopropol alcohol (not rubbing alcohol) either.

Have you replaced the pass side? Does it last much longer?
 
  #4  
Old 02-28-09, 07:06 AM
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Well, they've been through tons of rain and snow... so if there's a leak, I'll assure you they endure way more than one drop. So I can safely rule that out.

I haven't replaced the passenger side recently. I have indeed replaced them though, and they do in fact last much longer. I use a paper towel when changing it.

I'm pretty certain that it's not that I'm touching it either. I really didn't touch it the last time.
 
  #5  
Old 02-28-09, 02:36 PM
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Okay, I replaced it, but it's just another 5 month stop gap measure. Please, what else could possibly be wrong with it. I hate having to spend $13 every 5 months. It's redundant and it's clearly something other than me touching the halogen bulb. It may not even be the bulb. Bulb after bulb on the driver side go for a few months than short out. The passenger side has out lived at least the last 3.

Please, give me something to work with.
 
  #6  
Old 03-01-09, 12:48 PM
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Nothing? Not anything to suggest?
 
  #7  
Old 03-01-09, 01:10 PM
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Well, I'll try (again)....questions to stimulate thought, not so much answers.

A short in the wiring probably wouldn't do anything. If the wires shorted on the hot side, or together, it would blow the fuse, not the lamp. Both lamps are on the same fuse I'll bet, so I would think any electrical supply type issues (overvoltage for instance) would affect both equally.

Is this a hi/low bulb? Do both filaments burn out?

How about the mounting of the assembly..is it moving or vibrating more than the other?

Is it closer to a heat source or something similar? Basically, what could be different between the 2 assemblies.

Like I said...just throwing things out....
 
  #8  
Old 03-01-09, 01:56 PM
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Well... the first time I replaced it, I had a lot of difficulty with the clip holding the bulb in. It's a little loose. I wonder if it would take just a replacement clip? But seriously, the play is very, very minor. The rubber washer really holds it in there anyway. It's closest to the battery/alarm/ horn. But I don't think the heat would be an issue so much as this would be a common problem among all '03 Protege5 owners.

Well, it seems like this is just one big loss. The next time, 3-5months from now, I have to replace this I'll get brand new rubber gloves and try and buy the longest lasting bulb on the market.

Thanks!!
 
  #9  
Old 03-01-09, 04:18 PM
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Perhaps a close examination of the filament with a loupe next time will give a clue. I do this stuff for a living and this is one way I'd approach this problem. Does the filament have a lot of whiskers before it blows?... does it look crystallized?... thinned?... simple bulk fracture of a healthy filament?
 
  #10  
Old 03-01-09, 06:52 PM
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If you've ruled everything else out like moisture, vibration and touching the bulb with your bare fingers....... All that is left is a bad connection at the bulb socket.

A bad connection is unable to transfer the high current load the bulb draws. This creates additional heat causing the bulb to burn out sooner.

I would try cleaning the plug, or better yet, replace it with a new one!
Then report back with your results...........
Phil
 
  #11  
Old 03-02-09, 02:37 AM
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Phil and Kestas, great stuff! First off, the bulb always goes out before it actually blows. So, when it goes out, if I shake it, it will come back on only to go out again shortly until the filament finally breaks. I'd say then, that it thins before it makes a clean break.

The plug would be difficult to clean. I'll see how long this one lasts... but I'll call up the dealer in another couple months and order a new plug. That's a great idea. Thanks.
 
  #12  
Old 10-04-09, 10:13 PM
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What's this? October. The latest bulb lasted 6 months (though I didn't drive the car at all in the end of June and all of July). This sucks. I'm going to spring for a new plug seeing as how the consensus is that it isn't a short or other electrical issue. BTW, the passenger side hasn't blown in some time. Ridiculous.

Anything else? Thoughts?
 
  #13  
Old 10-08-09, 03:11 PM
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I didn't buy a new plug, I pulled the one in the car out and scrubbed it down with brake cleaner, a wire brush and electronics cleaner. I wiped all that crap off and it is fairly clean. I plugged in a new $11 halogen bulb and am crossing my fingers I won't have to go through this before October 2010 again.
 
  #14  
Old 10-08-09, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by seancashmere View Post
So I'm sick and tired of replacing my driver side head light every 5 months. Why does it keep going out? Electrical short? Could it be the car's alarm? Should i spring for a new headlamp assembly?

I drive an 03 Mazda Protege5, 2.0L, automatic... nothing out of the ordinary. I try my darndest not to touch the bulb as I'm replacing it. I just can't get it to last longer than a couple of seasons. What gives? Where do I start?

Thanks!
is the light socket ok, not burned. maybe the socket is making a bad connection and your replacing them when they are not burned out.
 
  #15  
Old 10-08-09, 06:18 PM
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Thanks for that, but the bulbs are in fact burned as the filament is broken. However, I just cleaned the prongs on the socket today so fingers crossed. And the socket was in much better shape than the other side. It was cleaner and has only a little aqua colored crust as opposed to the passenger side which looks to have a little more. I cleaned only the driver side, however, as that's the only one with the trouble. If this doesn't do it, I'll screw with the wiring in 5 months (March).
 
  #16  
Old 10-20-09, 05:41 AM
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I also have a Mazda Protege5 2002 and my drivers headlight goes out constantly. I am paying over $20.00 a pop and its getting very expensive.

I do wear gloves when changing and it is just the drivers side as my passenger side has lasted over 2 years.

I replaced the black plug that the bulb sits in as the contacts were melted on one side. I though I had it fixed after replacing that but the other night it was a little chilly so we had our heater on and as soon as we turned it off the bulb popped.

Almost like an electrical surge is occuring, but my alternator and battery are brand new and the other bulb is just fine still. Any suggestions on this electrical gremlin?

Last time I took it to the mechanics I got my car back with a broken dipstick and no oil... so it ain't going back!
 
  #17  
Old 10-20-09, 07:54 AM
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Soulreaver, this is very interesting. My car is in the process of falling apart and this is just one of its many issues. Does your car have an alarm? I really suspect my car alarm in this instance.
 
  #18  
Old 10-20-09, 09:57 AM
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Nope, car is bone stock and in other wise perfect condition. I have had the car for going on 6 years and not even so much as a flat tire. This car has been perfect for me just roleld over the big 100 2 days ago.

Other than the headlight issue, I had not had a single problem until I took it to the mechanics to get new brakes and a new belt installed... then my alternator and battery suddenly died.

2nd mechanic I took it too drained all the oil out and I didn't know this until a week later when I noticed my oil light coming on during turns.. lucky I didn't blow my motor. So yea, I do all my own work now.

The headlight thing has eluded me for years now, always thought it was a bug in this car but that doesn't seem to be the case. It has to be the wiring leading up to the drivers side low beams, but that doesn't make sense either seeing how mine pops when I turn on or off high draw items.

One time it popped when I started my car with the headlights on. This time it was while driving at night and it got super bright then popped, which leads me to believe it had an over voltage. Which, would mead a voltage regulator is faulty.

But why only one headlight?
 
  #19  
Old 10-20-09, 04:11 PM
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What brand are the headlights??? Are they a Sylvania or other known brand??/ Are the headlight adjusters in good shape & the entire headlight is secure in it's mounting??? Sean,, You said you had some movement in the light socket,, Fix this first as even the slightest vibration will kill a light... Check the charging system voltage as well as a lot of aftermarket bulbs may not hold up to the higher charging rates of todays cars... Also save the reciept... I'm thinking there should be a warranty on the replacement bulbs for more than 5 months if everything is secure??? Roger
 
  #20  
Old 10-21-09, 05:45 AM
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I use Slyvania SilverStar high performance for my low beams, makes a world of difference. I use them in both sockets, passenger side is going on 2 years, drivers side is lucky to last 5-6 months or less. Everything is locked down secure, just bought a new lamp holder. Alternator is charging properly, battery is good.

Terminals are snug and clean, no corrosion on either plug for headlights. Drivers side plug has signs of overvoltage on the plug though, black burn marks inside the plug socket. So, somehow, this thing is getting voltage spikes. I am seriously thinking of soldering in an inline voltage regulator before the headlight bulb. At least if it did surge, it would't kill my head light.

It's not so much the bulb cost, as it is the major pain in the arse to change it. Truly designed for people with tiny hands to hold the bulb holder in place, line up the metal retention and snap it in place without being able to see it... The only thing I hate about this car.

What happened to the good ole twistlock holding methods??
 
  #21  
Old 10-21-09, 03:14 PM
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Just a thought. Make sure all engine and body ground straps are tight and making good connections. Sometimes a defective ground can cause surges.
 
  #22  
Old 10-21-09, 03:18 PM
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I have the same problem with my wife's Chrysler Pacifica. The driver's side bulb burns out within 9 months of use (very little). I can't seem to find an issue with it and leave it to some strange vibration that only affects that one unit. Also using Silver Stars.
 
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