How much would it cost to replace the bulb?
20..30 EUR? 300 EUR? 1000 EUR? 2000 EUR?
It can happen in many ways. In this entry – my personal experience. Accordingly – no stories of ”I heard, that…”.
E60 LCI. Daylight problem. I visited the closest large service center. Known brand, it has 5+ large service centers across the country.
First problem: service specialists do not know, that the LCI model has an H8 bulb. I had to explain it to them. After one hour I get my car back. In the evening, when it gets dark, I realize, that the headlight is “checking the skies”, I’m blinding the oncoming drivers.
On the next day, I went back to the same service center. Both the manager and the service specialist are checking the problem – can not find the cause of it. The adaptive xenon headlight has broken down? Unexpected expenses of around EUR 800 are guaranteed?
I take a look at the headlight – and detect, that it is not placed back correctly!
Even more – it turns out, that it is shaking because the service specialist has forgotten to fix it! Of course, the service specialist denies it – the headlight itself got damaged and started to shake. But he promises to solve the problem. After one hour I get the car back. Again – when it gets dark, I understand, that the headlight is not working appropriately – as soon the speed of 50 km/h is reached, the beam of the headlight goes up and incline to the right side! Really the beam adjusting mechanism is broken? I go to the service center again. Yes, they have adjusted the headlight, because the beam was “incorrect”.
Note: the beam of the adaptive xenon on the driver’s side headlight is directed for 30 degrees to the left and down on speeds till 50 km/h.The headlight takes the normal position at speeds above 50 km/h or turning on the high beams. To adjust this headlight, BMW AG has intended a “service” mode: the selector of the gearbox has to be put in R (reverse).
Needless to say, such nuances were not known to the “specialist” of this service center, accordingly – the headlight was adjusted incorrectly! The only suggestion of the service center: the headlight has to be replaced! The estimate of the costs: around EUR 1000. Well, I adjusted the beam of the headlight by myself, and it turned out, that the management of the headlight works perfectly!
One morning I noticed, that one xenon bulb got pink – it has to be replaced. Taking into account the negative experience, I chose a specialized BMW service center. I asked them to replace both xenon bulbs. The manager convinced me to replace only the damaged one because another one is working perfectly. After a long convincing I agreed.
The bulb was replaced. When driving out the service center, I detected, that the light tone of both bulbs is significantly different. The newly replaced bulb – known brand, costs – around EUR 60. The service workers convinced me that it could be so, but the tone of the light will even out during week or so.
Well, after a week I visited them again to replace another bulb because the tone of the light did not even get close to be even.
At the same service center, another bulb was replaced.
The problem of different light tone persisted. Also, I even did not notice it. My acquaintances drew my attention with a question, why the shade of the headlights is a different one from another. They were puzzled – how so, both bulbs replaced just now, but the tone of each is different?
Needless to say, that the service center didn’t see any problem.
Solution – both bulbs have to be replaced again, this time I purchased them by myself: with the identical light temperature (obviously, the specialized service center didn’t know about such a “miracle”). Additional expenses: EUR 100 .. 150.
The next replacement of the Daylight bulb was not less exotic. In my presence, the “master” “wiped” the new bulb against his work suit. The work suit has lost its color a long time ago and was in oily spots.
Two months later, the same bulb had to be replaced again. I visited the service center, mentioned at the beginning of the entry, again, because the trouble happened on Saturday and I decided – if I will be right there and watch the process, nothing will go wrong. It was raining outside, so I decided not to change the bulb by myself, on the roadside.
In the service center, I was informed, that the replacement can not be done, because the connector is melted.
How could it happen? H8 is not the powerful bulb, in addition, when it works as a Daylight, it uses very low power (exactly so the yellowish shade of “angel eyes” is reached). The current via connector is around 1 .. 1,5A, but it is melted? The reason is very simple – the connector was not connected properly, it was barely touching the connection of the bulb. This problem was caused by the “master” in the oily work suit.
Here, the new connector from BMW has to be ordered, the wires have to be soldered.
According to the manager, the current service center sealed everything and returned the car to me. No, they have no wires, no connectors, no universal plugs for H8 bulbs, a temporary solution is not possible. The next evening, I detect, that the beam of this headlight is incorrect again. Obviously, the specialist did not know, how and which bulb should be replaced (and that the replacement could be done without taking out the headlight), took out the headlight. Of course, it is not possible to place it back as accurate as it was. For me solving this problem took 5 minutes, but for the “normal” person it would be an additional visit to the service center, to adjust the lights. Time, money and nerves.
Note: if the connection is not restored during several tens of driving sessions, FRM (light management unit) disconnects the current consumer “for good” and the replacement of the bulb and connector will not help anymore. The official version of BMW – FRM has to be replaced. The estimate: above EUR 300. Yes, if you know someone, who “knows” Tool32, the deleting of counters can help. In this case, you will get thru with expenses of around EUR 50. Of course, the connector and its replacement will be additional costs.
But… When I checked the “sealed” place of the repair, I detected, that the place of the bulb is left open!
It is raining outside, air humidity – close to 100%, but the headlight – left open! Without options – the air humidity will get in it, and the headlight will start to “sweat”. When a new bulb will be placed, the headlight will get airtight (because it has no defects), it will continue to “sweat” because the humidity has no way to get out!
During colder weather, the water will condense and will make spots on the reflectors. Dust and sand, which will get inside the headlight, will stick to the reflectors, will worsen the beam of the light and will be seen from outside. The headlight can not be disassembled, and it is not possible to clean the reflectors with high quality. The headlight will be damaged! Also, what will be the recommendation of the service specialists, when they will notice the “sweating” of the headlight? It has to be replaced! Estimate? EUR 800+.
And then the next problem – the new headlight and the second headlight definitely will be completely different. Either because the old wan will be slightly matted, but the second one – completely clear. How to solve this problem? Both headlights have to be replaced! And the estimate goes above EUR 1600 already…
Of course, you can install a second-hand headlight, you can try to “dry” the headlight before TI, you can try to repair it (although the results of repair, which I have seen, are very average) if such solutions “satisfy” the owner of the car. But – initially, there was nothing wrong with the headlights! All problems were caused by unqualified personnel!
In how many cases any of the “specialists” will confess, that it’s their fault/mistake? In my experience – zero! Always something else was faulty – bad connectors, bad headlights, not even talking of the bulbs.
P.S.: here, what is necessary for temporary repair of melted connector:
And how the result looks:
Total time of repair: around 5 minutes. Expences: around EUR 0.30.