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#1 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 11:16 AM
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Default Headlight beam pattern?

I replaced my headlight low beam bulbs the other night, but am a little puzzled about the beam shape differences between the two. When shining the headlights on a wall, I can see a distinct center hot spot on the passenger side light, but the driver's side does not. The driver's side is very evenly spread and less bright.

I know cars often have different patterns on each side, but all cars I I've had have always had a center hot spot for longer range illumination. Not sure if that's how it's supposed to be or if the headlight housing is out of shape.
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#2 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 11:26 AM
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do you remember having it the same before you put new bulbs?
Are you sure the bulb is sitting correctly? any small angle will change it. Also, there is a chance that the bulb itself is off specs.
Remove it and put back, no help - swap sides. If the same happens on passenger side - replace the bulbs with another set.
It does happen (not quite often though) that during manufacturing process the glass is not positioned as it should be...

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#3 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 12:48 PM
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Hadn't thought it might be the bulb. Will have to try swapping.

The only thing I recall prior to replacing was that the light output in general was weak. A bulb failure on one side prompted the replacement. Unfortunately I hadn't seen the beam pattern prior to the replacement.

The output is considerably higher now, but the lack of a bright spot on the driver's side seems odd.
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#4 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 12:49 PM
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The other thing I did notice is that the rotation of the bulb socket is 90 degrees different between the two housings, if that means anything.
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#5 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 02:03 PM
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The shape of the reflectors are usually so the drivers side low beam is pointed slightly to the passengers side of the road. You will notice that low beam shines off to the side of the road , this is so it doesn't bother drivers coming the other way. Always a good idea to replace bulbs as pairs as you have to get the same brighness on both lights. Low beam is usually a more spread out kind of light, not as focused as high beam. I think you will find that the low beam on the drivers side is meant to be that way. Might be an idea to get the lights adjusted to make sure the focus if where it should be though just so you have the best possible light.

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Last edited by pulsar86; 01-14-2010 at 02:40 PM. Reason: correcting info to suit left or right drive.
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#6 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 02:35 PM
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to clarify - beam patter is defined by many factors: place where the car was sold/built (in USA lights are different than in France), type of housing (reflector/projector), and also by the light bulb itself (H4, H11...). Not to mention brand
Xenon lights - different story...

so, comparing two different countries, tow different housings will not do any good.
If you ever seen a light pattern of Dodge Intrepid (2002, equipped with 9006 in low beam) you would be surprised where the main focus of light was placed.

Some info you may find on KGIS, but this will not show you the pattern anyway.

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#7 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 05:43 PM
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I didn't realize there were different style lights on our vans. We have projectors with h7 bulbs. My former '99 VW Passat had reflectors with very different patterns left and right, but both had a bright spot. My current '07 Toyota Camry has projectors with very similar patterns left and right, and both have a bright spot.

I'll try swapping this weekend and see if there is any difference. Both bulbs are brand new, same brand and style. I believe the driver's light housing was replaced after a minor fender bender... I wonder if that might play into this at all.

In any case, it just doesn't seem right either judging by pattern on the wall or just driving down the road. The van is going into the dealer for other things, so I may have them take a look at both the housing and the alignment just to be sure.
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#8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 09:08 PM
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If the headlight has been replaced after an accident it might not have been realigned properly. Is it an original KIA part or an aftermarket one? The problem is more likely reflector or alignment related than bulb problem.

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#9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 09:40 PM
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there is one more thing to consider. The new headlight you fitted in could have different pattern (should not, but might)

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#10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 04:38 PM
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My Sedona has blown 7-8 headlights now. So I am used to this. Different bulb's give different intensity which I think is why they reflect different.

Hot Tip: I have tried bulbs from 3-4 manufacturers and different price ranges and the one that has lasted the longest is GE bulb from WalMart for $9 US, going on 8-9 months. The Philips(?) silver light, $25 US, didn't last 4 months.
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