I realised that LED bulbs are not generally suitable, since the inside reflector housings are designed for halogens.
BHPian arunpools recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
Most of us who own the New Thar must have had this thought right after driving at night for the first time: the headlights are dull, orangish, and outdated. For me, the stock headlamps are unbecoming for a car of the price category that the New Thar sits in. The stock ones indeed help in fog, rains and all but dull halogen lamps are kind of old tech in the age of LEDs and that’s a fact. I started to look for options right after I had my hands on the car. My first thought was to find a pair of H4 LEDs that I could hook up in the original reflectors. I quickly realised that LED bulbs are not generally suitable inside reflector housings that are designed for halogens. LEDs in such a setup would probably throw light all over the place, at oncoming road users’ faces and be less effective in general. I’m also not ready to get LED housings right away. At least for the moment, until someone convinces me that they have got H4 LEDs properly designed for the stock reflectors in the New Thar, I will have to do with old-school halogens.
Stock halogen lamps in my Thar were Phoenix H4 dual beam 55/60W units. For me, upgrading to brighter halogens meant increasing the wattage of the bulbs, for I did not know high-performance bulbs were available at the same wattage. Threads in T-BHP directed me to Philips X-treme Vision G Force and Osram Night Breaker Laser. I did some digging to know how these bulbs manage to give the extra brightness they promise to offer. Both these manufacturers make tall brightness increase claims over standard halogens with 130% for Philips and 150% for Osram.
I got the Osram one from Amazon. It so happens that these bulbs operate at higher filament temperatures than their cheaper standard counterparts and have a bluish coating on them for shifting the spectrum to higher kelvins. Whatever goes into making these filaments run hotter, also takes the cost of these bulbs much higher than the standard ones. The original Phoenix ones in the Thar would set you back by about 350 a pair meanwhile, the high-performance ones cost around 1800 a pair. It is not only the price, but the high-performance ones have operating lives much shorter than the standard ones. As per Osram, the Night Breaker Lasers have a 3% (L3) probability of failure within 80 hours for high beam filament and 200 hours for low beam. Meanwhile, the high beam filament would last 160 hours and the low beam 400 hours with 62.1% (Tc) probability. For reference, these figures are about half or lesser than what you can expect out of the standard Halogens. Moreover, if you are DIYing the upgrade, make sure you don’t touch the bulb glass with your bare fingers. That would reduce the life of the bulbs even further.
The bottom line is, you get a pair of halogen bulbs that are brighter by about 30% (not a scientific measure), run whiter, have lives about half of the stock ones at five times the price and this upgrade is street-legal. Are they worth it? I think so. However, I carry the stock bulbs in the car, just in case!
If you are wondering where to store all such items in the Thar without eating into the already non-existent boot space, I have found some space below the rear seats. I have managed to fit a tyre inflator, jump starter cables, spare bulbs, some basic tools etc., under there. My wife had a laugh!