LAW - Sylvania Silver Star Headlight Class Action

GavelIt appears that sometimes you don't get what you pay for. A class action lawsuit in the US against Osram Sylvania over the advertised claims for their Silver Star headlight bulbs was successful. The suit alleged that Sylvania represented that the headlights are brighter, provide a wider beam and allow drivers to see farther down the road than standard halogen headlights. In reality, according to the suit, the company had "rigged the process" and committed consumer fraud.

The quality of vehicle headlights has become a topic of interest for the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS):

Consumer Reports found that premium bulbs might be whiter and brighter but did not allow you to see further. That’s because distance is determined more by the size and shape of the lamp’s reflector or lens than by the bulb.

Dan Stern Lighting on "Superwhites."

It would appear that your best purchase decision might be to go with an OEM replacement for the lowest price you can find.


I find the extremely bright head lights, particulary the blue ones and the piercing  bright aftermarket lights on some raised pickup trucks, extreme brightness,almost blinding- Even in day light. Is there any law governing the maximum intensity of headights and driving lights?

If there is a law-who would follow up?

Can't say I'm surprised; if you're a purveyor of aftermarket parts then you have to compete either on price, or quality.

Which is not to say that I don't have a few spare replacement bulbs in my garage for the various vehicles I've owned over the years - including some Sylvania product - but I've never had the expectation that they will prove superior, just less expensive for essentially the same item.

(Just this week, I had my vehicle into the dealership for a Government Inspection and oil change; I also had concerns about the condition of the original battery, due to recent hesitation on starting. So, I provided them with the oil, oil filter, and replacement battery - all top notch products from Fram and AC Delco that I knew would match or exceed the manufacturer's specification, while avoiding the dealer markup on parts. While it was in the shop, they called me to advise that the air filter should be replaced, so I gave them the go-ahead; when I received the invoice, the charge for the Ford part was $33 and change. Stupid of me, I could have, and should have, bought my own K&N or similar part for less cost, and installed it myself.)

I've run an awful lot of night time miles over the years, and continue to do so on occasion; fact is, you cannot have 'too much' reach with your high beams, only too little. But I suspect that this can only be achieved with the installation of auxiliary lights, which must of course be wired so that they only work when the regular headlights are on high beam position.

I had a set of Bosch driving lights on my old 1986 full size GMC Jimmy. It was simple to wire the relay to the high beam side of the dimmer switch and they improved my night vision noticeably over the large rectangular headlights alone. The IIHS has figured this out and told manufacturers that their vehicles won't rate highly next year unless their headlights improve.