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Thread: Poor Headlights

  1. #1
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    Poor Headlights

    As far as I know, there's nothing faulty with the bog-standard headlights on my bog-standard 2006 XK, but I am surprised how poor the main beam is for a 150 mph car. Not so much dim (although they're certainly not super-bright) as lacking any high-intensity central 'spot' (which most cars have) for lighting up long straights, so that you can clearly see how long and how straight it really is. In that regard, my bog-standard Skoda Octavia (and most other cars) are better!

    The high-beam pattern is in the form of a medium-width cone, with a very sharply defined edge cut-off which shows up as a semi-circular arch in the sky. But within that cone, the brightness, although reasonable, seems completely uniform with no particular concentration ('bright spot') in the centre of the beam which every other car I've driven always seems (very sensibly) to have - even very old, low-performance ones like a Morris Minor!

    I don't see much point in having fancy features like extra lights which come on as you're going round a corner, if the basic headlights don't let you properly see where you're going when you're driving quickly in a straight line along a straight road!

    Is there a fault with my car, or are they all like it? Is it something which can be fixed without spending a fortune or half re-building my car, or have I just got to learn to put up with it / get used to it?
    Jaguar 2007 4.2 litre XK (X150) convertible
    Maxzda 2007 MX-5 2.0 litre (non - 'Sport') roadster-coupe
    Skoda 2007 Octavia 2.0TDI 4WD (not a Scout) estate
    Reliant 1975 Scimitar GTE SE5a (off the road after 243,000 from new)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Neilr's Avatar
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    "They say" that Xenon bulbs get weaker with age ...

    I have ordered some of these: https://www.osram.com/am/ecat/XENARC...t/ZMP_4058323/

    When they arrive, I will swap them over and report back.
    S-Type 3.0 Manual MY2001 in Pacific Blue with Cashmere Leather Sport Seats, Sunroof, Melbourne Alloys, Premium Sound plus some other stuff ... 55k miles.
    XKR 5.0 Speed Pack MY2011 in Polaris White with Ivory/Charcoal Leather, Nevis Alloys and R-Performance Interior plus some other stuff ... 16k miles.
    Hyundai Tucson 1.6T AWD MY2016 in White Sand. Basic, comfortable and surprisingly fast and competent ... 10k miles.
    FIAT Coupe MY1997 in Steel Grey with Tan Leather ... 55k miles.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 8bit's Avatar
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    My previous 4.2 had pretty decent headlights, I thought. The ones on my 5.0 appear to be less effective, but then I've only started having to use headlights at all fairly recently. I've got a set of those Osrams in the house, awaiting enough daylight (!) to install them, I will also report my findings.
    Current: 2009 XKR 5.0
    Previous: 2008 XKR 4.2

    I take photos of cars! Find me on Facebook, Instagram and Flickr.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the swift responses! However, it's not general dimness but the lack of any concentrated beam pattern which concerns me, and I don't see that as a 'wear out' problem.
    Jaguar 2007 4.2 litre XK (X150) convertible
    Maxzda 2007 MX-5 2.0 litre (non - 'Sport') roadster-coupe
    Skoda 2007 Octavia 2.0TDI 4WD (not a Scout) estate
    Reliant 1975 Scimitar GTE SE5a (off the road after 243,000 from new)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Neilr's Avatar
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    Hard to tell without knowing how they should be, so starting with new bulbs at least will give me a baseline. I don't usually find any main beams problematic - almost like driving in daylight compared with most dipped beams.
    S-Type 3.0 Manual MY2001 in Pacific Blue with Cashmere Leather Sport Seats, Sunroof, Melbourne Alloys, Premium Sound plus some other stuff ... 55k miles.
    XKR 5.0 Speed Pack MY2011 in Polaris White with Ivory/Charcoal Leather, Nevis Alloys and R-Performance Interior plus some other stuff ... 16k miles.
    Hyundai Tucson 1.6T AWD MY2016 in White Sand. Basic, comfortable and surprisingly fast and competent ... 10k miles.
    FIAT Coupe MY1997 in Steel Grey with Tan Leather ... 55k miles.

  6. #6
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    Something I’ve thought with mine to in al honesty! They cast good light, but no strong area that focuses.

    If anyone has a good alternative bulb, please report back
    2007/57 4.2 XKR with some additions

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northernnick View Post
    ... They cast good light, but no strong area that focuses. ...
    That describes it well: my main beam is not particularly dim, just rather diffused.
    Jaguar 2007 4.2 litre XK (X150) convertible
    Maxzda 2007 MX-5 2.0 litre (non - 'Sport') roadster-coupe
    Skoda 2007 Octavia 2.0TDI 4WD (not a Scout) estate
    Reliant 1975 Scimitar GTE SE5a (off the road after 243,000 from new)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Neilr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Titus View Post
    That describes it well: my main beam is not particularly dim, just rather diffused.
    Halogens give out less light and they are usually focused to make the most of the light available. Xenons and LED are allowed to give out more light (about double) and as the wider view is basically brighter it can appear that there less focus.

    Also, make sure that the lights are also not pointing too low.
    S-Type 3.0 Manual MY2001 in Pacific Blue with Cashmere Leather Sport Seats, Sunroof, Melbourne Alloys, Premium Sound plus some other stuff ... 55k miles.
    XKR 5.0 Speed Pack MY2011 in Polaris White with Ivory/Charcoal Leather, Nevis Alloys and R-Performance Interior plus some other stuff ... 16k miles.
    Hyundai Tucson 1.6T AWD MY2016 in White Sand. Basic, comfortable and surprisingly fast and competent ... 10k miles.
    FIAT Coupe MY1997 in Steel Grey with Tan Leather ... 55k miles.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Davidsw's Avatar
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    I had to have a new headlight on passenger side ..it was only then I noticed how cloudy the drivers headlight looked and it was noticeably dimmer than the new light. A good hour spent with a renovating kit made a world of difference . As previously said xenons tend to light up an area without a noticeable spotlight effect . Very few people have complained about the XK's headlights .
    Jaguar XKR x150 Cabriolet 2007

  10. #10
    Senior Member Aonsaithya's Avatar
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    My headlights do have a noticeable bright spot when using the main beams, but otherwise the spot is mostly blocked by the cutoff.

    Furthermore, after having the headlights aligned, I constantly felt that they were pointing a bit too low, giving insufficient range with low beams. I adjusted them up a little bit (one full revolution per side), and this improved the situation noticeably. I did, of course, pay close attention while driving to make sure the cutoff stays well below the beltlines of other cars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neilr View Post
    "They say" that Xenon bulbs get weaker with age ...

    I have ordered some of these: https://www.osram.com/am/ecat/XENARC...t/ZMP_4058323/

    When they arrive, I will swap them over and report back.

    Interesting, I hadn't seen those before. I had Osram's Night Breaker Ultimate bulbs fitted last year, seems like the Lasers have practically identical output, but a higher colour temperature.
    2007 XK 4.2 - Liquid Silver & Charcoal (pre-production; VIN 00031)
    Ex:
    2001 X-Type 2.5 SE - Platinum, Dove & Granite

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