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Short Headlight Lifespan

Short Headlight Lifespan

Postby Bhux14 [OP] » Jul 31 2020, 2:08am

I did a quick search of the sight and only found a couple threads involving this. I have a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 with the OEM headlights. I replaced my bulbs about a year ago and just had one go out again. This is the only vehicle I have owned that goes through headlights basically anually. Is the a common occurrence or just something that I am dealing with? If common, what are some possible remedies for it? One of the posts mentioned removing the fuses for daylight management system. I can change them out but on my generation of pickup, it's kind of a pain in the a** do deal with annually. Any help is appreciated.
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Re: Short Headlight Lifespan

Postby ferraiolo1 » Jul 31 2020, 2:24am

Yeah pretty normal
With drls. Especially if you have brighter bulbs installed

Just get into the habit of turning your light switch to the off position every time you get into the truck.


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Re: Short Headlight Lifespan

Postby ncfftuc » Jul 31 2020, 2:36am

Weird. I have a '12 Sierra with 146,XXX and only replaced bulbs last summer when the first one went out. Never disable DRL.
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Re: Short Headlight Lifespan

Postby Bhux14 [OP] » Aug 01 2020, 2:35am

That's kind of what I was thinking. I will just have to put a note in there to turn them off every time
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Re: Short Headlight Lifespan

Postby nealinator » Aug 01 2020, 2:50am

I had that issue with some halogen bulbs there were brighter than stock ones. But the standard bulbs lasted much longer than a year.
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Re: Short Headlight Lifespan

Postby esox07 » Aug 01 2020, 4:24am

Yah, if you buy the premium Sylvainia and Philips halogens, they will only last about a year. I tried them for two years and each year I had to replace them and put the factory bulbs back in...no problems with those but then I finally found a set of LED's that didn't cost a ton of money but put out a great bright white beam with a great cutoff. I have been running those for a few years now with no problems.
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Re: Short Headlight Lifespan

Postby EaOutlaw1969 » Aug 01 2020, 10:39am

Your truck is getting a little older where it may benefit from some maintenance and diagnostic work.
Many things can obviously shorten the life span of your bulbs, like touching them during the install, moisture in the housing, rough roads, pot holes, speed bumps, dirt roads, stiff suspensions from aggressive aftermarket shocks and lifts, Harsh environments most of the what I just listed is obvious.
What can easily get overlooked is the battery and charging system, voltage spikes can be a real pain but normally your headlights will not be the only victim but will be the first to fail easily when exposed to repetitive spikes.
Even if it is not the cause its worth checking your battery if it is a non sealed type make sure none of the cells are exposed ( low on fluid ) if sealed have it load or otherwise tested and check the cable and terminal ends for corrosion while your at it check the charging system and for excessive parasitic draws, the draw could be minor enough to not discharge your battery to the point of a no start but enough to call for a consistent high load on the alternator. what the maximum draw on your truck is I am not sure. in general 55 to 85 milliamps is considered the norm.
I have even heard of a dirty engine bay allowing the serpentine belt to create and discharge massive amounts of static electricity which could shorten the lifespan of your bulbs. This same dirty engine bay could also under high humidity and high load cause high voltage leaks from the ignition system again it may not be enough to cause a drivability problem or misfire code but enough to play havoc on electrical items like bulbs. keeping the wires damage free, clean and using dielectric grease on the boots plus making sure the plugs are not worn will ensure this will not be an issue.
Worth mentioning but may not apply to your truck the fuse box under the hood most of the time have a top and bottom and use bolts to keep the connections solid. My Wife's old HHR had issues with fog lights burning up and other bulbs faster than normal which turned out to be a common problem with the fuse box bolts loosening up. a little loctite and a quick torque of the bolts saved us a lot of aggravation.
Again I do not know if your truck even has those bolts or are prone to loosening but couldn't hurt you to check.
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Re: Short Headlight Lifespan

Postby 19trax95 » Aug 01 2020, 5:14pm

A year is about the life span of any of the brighter bulbs.

Before my retrofit, I ran some silver stars on my 01. They lasted right around a year before one burned out. Its just one of the downsides you'll pay if you run the brighter bulbs.

Even then, the trucks that use them as your DRL, with how much they are on, a long life really can't be expected much anyway.

Check out the HIR bulbs. Some slight modifications are required, but they are brigther, and can last a little longer
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Re: Short Headlight Lifespan

Postby roorancher » Aug 01 2020, 5:39pm

19trax95 wrote:Check out the HIR bulbs. Some slight modifications are required, but they are brigther, and can last a little longer


After trying LEDs twice on my truck and once on my wife's Element I've switched to HIDs and wont go back to LEDs, except for small ancillary bulbs. I put the Diode Dynamics HID bulbs and relay kit in the truck, and the Morimoto bulb and relay kit in the Element. Before returning to "standard time," I'll upgrade the headlights in my wife's little Rammy Van to an HID kit as well.
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Re: Short Headlight Lifespan

Postby 19trax95 » Aug 01 2020, 5:47pm

HID and LED are an option for sure. But generally, especially HID, have poor beam patterns in reflector housings.

Some leds, where you can change the orientation of the emitters, can produce decent beam patterns. But I have yet to see an HID that produces a controlled and usable beam pattern in a reflector housing. The only exception is the housings and bulbs made for HIDs. Some of the older escalades had them.
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