Drivers dazzled by ‘massive’ headlight costs
Owners of the UK’s most popular small cars are facing bills of almost £1,000 to change a blown headlight bulb, a new survey reveals.
Instead of replacing individual halogen bulbs, the complexity of the latest high-powered headlights in higher-spec models means owners have to pay out for an entire new headlight unit.
A study by What Car? suggests replacing these units could see motorists hit with a bill for hundreds — with a new headlight unit for a VW Polo GTi costing £846, compared to £18 for a new bulb.
Experts are now warning motorists to check the cost of replacing their headlights to avoid an unwelcome shock at the garage if they’re hit by a blown bulb.
High-powered High Intensity Discharge (HID) and LED headlights are increasingly common in higher-spec cars because they’re far brighter than halogen lights, but are often placed in sealed units meaning individual bulbs can’t be changed.
While this study found that changing a traditional halogen bulb remains affordable, the cost of replacing either HID or LED headlights is significantly higher.
Owners of an entry Seat Ibiza SE are able to change their headlights for £17, but those driving the higher-spec Ibiza FR Sport face a bill for £827.
Still, while higher-spec drivers face higher replacement costs it’s not all bad news — HID and LED lights can last up to 10 times longer than halogen bulbs.
Claire Evans, consumer editor for What Car? warned motorists to be aware that certain models will mean higher costs for bulb repairs, particularly if they are considering buying a new or nearly new car.
She said: “The longevity of HID bulbs makes them a viable option on a new car.
“However, if you are buying a used car as a second household vehicle or as a first car for a son or daughter, you – and they – could be landed with a massive repair bill for a blown bulb that could even render the car a write-off due to it being uneconomical to repair.”