Filament lamps do have a limited life. The filament will evaporate even if there is no vibration or thermal shock. More efficiant forms of lighting like LEDs and HID are supposed to last longer. One would expect the lights to outlive the car.

On our 2009 Chrysler 300c we had a dead red led highlevel brakelight And a HID headlamp. The expected life of well designed LEDs should be 100,ooo hours and 10,ooo hours can be estimated for the HID. The reliability of this high tech lighting appears well short of industrial high rel expectations.

Is car stuff driven harder and not designed for longivity? Is this a QA problem with subcontract manufacturing? Why are these lamps so bad, its not just Chrysler 300c, Its not only me.

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    Different manufacturers use different levels of quality in design and manufacture . The manufacturers with lower quality have lower prices so certain auto makers buy the lower cost products. Get bulbs from someone other than the OEM. Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 13:56

3 Answers 3


I have fitted a brand new incandescent and it has blown after seconds...

I have fitted other incandescents and they last longer.

manufacturers give information called "Mean Time Before Failure". This is an estimate of the expected life, but some will fail outside of this time.

While manufacturing processes and materials make the LED type of lamp last longer, there can still be quasi-instant failure modes to cause the lamp to stop working.

If you picked the wrong one off the shelf then that is bad luck and it may, or may not, be replaced under warranty.


There are longlife lamps available. They are a bit dimmer than the standard lamps, but it isn't unheard that they outlive the car.

On my 12 year old car car both headlights got replaced with some noname H7, one brake light broke after an collision. The other lamps are original and in working order.

It would be a waste of money for the manufacturers to use led lights, integrate proper cooling, provide strict voltage regulation etc.. when one can just use the right filament lights.


Headlights come in good/better/best.

One thing to watch out for is the expected hours on headlight bulbs. "Good" often has a normal expected life... but the "better" or "best" bulbs actually have a much shorter expected life. Read the package labels carefully.

The vibration and thermal extremes of vehicles is a rough location for any bulb, so naturally, vehicle bulbs struggle.

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