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    The World Illuminated Through a Windshield

    2011 - 11.17

    Regrettably today consisted largely of replacing bulbs, which was way more difficult that in needed to be in my opinion.  Replacing the taillight it was really simple to get it out, more difficult to put back in than it should have been.  Simple four petal design that you turn counterclockwise to remove and turn clockwise to lock back in place.  What they neglect to mention in the manual is that there is one specific petal which needs to match up with one particular gap.  Seems needlessly complex, but is easy enough to deal with once you’re aware that you need to line things up.

    Replacing the two headlights was a much more difficult ordeal, they really leave less than the minimum required amount of space to replace the bulb.  Probably took half an hour to replace both bulbs.  Hopefully it would be faster in the future, but much of it is fiddly rather than “difficult”.  The first main problem was that the manual didn’t actually explain how to release the metal bulb holding clip.  For the record: when you’re facing the car, push on the left hand side of the clip, push towards the front of the vehicle and then down to release the clip.  I don’t know if that’s unique to my car (2003 Pontiac Vibe AWD) or to the bulb type (9003).  With the amount of space available and the lack of visibility into what you’re actually doing, it was way more difficult to do than it felt like it should be, but in the end I was able to do it, despite bouts of doubt and frustration.

    Despite all of that, it wasn’t all bad.  I bought my dual pack of GE 9003 Nighthawk Platinum bulbs at Lordco where they were on sale for $38.99 (seems that regular there is $67.97 according to the invoice; regular price at Canadian Tire is $59.99).  In addition to being on sale, there’s also a $10 mail in rebate on them (at Lordco only) until the end of January, which means I’ll have got them for less than half their regular Canadian Tire price… so pretty pleased with that.  Canadian Tire however was about $4.25 cheaper for the taillight, so that’s where I got those, and installed all the bulbs in their parkade.

    We went out to the mall later to return some clothes and have dinner.  While we were there there was some kind of incident which involved someone being handcuffed.  It happened in the main atrium area while we were eating, Karin took a look.  When we went past later I saw that it was an older guy (rather than a young punk like I assumed it would be).

    Leaving the mall we went to the library to pick up the next half dozen books Karin needs to read in the 100 Book Challenge, some of which are even short.  I picked up Brandon Sanderson’s first book: Elantris.

    Leaving the library we decided to go for a bit of a drive up SFU to test out the new headlights… it’s kind of hard to tell how good the headlights are when you’re driving on streets with headlights.  It was snowing a little bit, but not enough to concern us at all.  Got up to the main intersection and there were some cars essentially blocking the straight through route that takes you to UniverCity that I’d planned to take, so we turned left and headed towards the main campus.  After the first turn we saw a traffic jam which involved a bunch of cars and a couple of buses, none of which were moving forward.  It wasn’t clear what the actual problem (aside from snow) was, so we turned around and headed back the way we came.  Snow 1; Headlight Testing 0.  On the bright side, the all wheel drive and all seasons are still really effective in the snow.

    Those are some nice headlights…

    2011 - 11.16

    As anyone who read yesterday’s post is aware, I went to Costco yesterday.  Left out of yesterday’s post is the fact that upon my return I noticed that I now have two burnt out headlights.  Not nearly as dangerous as it might sound since I still at least have fog lights, but still, a situation which I need to address before doing any more driving while the sun’s not out.

    Normally, I’d just get it done at the dealer, but trying to be frugal here, so I decided to look into it a bit more.  Turns out that you can spend a crazy amount of money on bulbs for your headlights, it’s pretty easy to spend $60+ (at least there’s lots of bulbs which appear to sell for that amount or more).  I still haven’t actually bought replacement bulbs yet, as the variety and relative price disparity of the various bulbs caused me to spend way more time doing research than I had allocated.

    Tomorrow I’ll hit Lordco and/or Canadian Tire and fix the problem.  Better hope I think of something better before tomorrow (or that Karin decides to post), otherwise you’ll end up with a post tomorrow “let there be light”.

    One thing that I didn’t realize before doing all this research was all the strange rules and regulations which applied to “headlamps” over the years, and I also didn’t realize that the low beam shape is different in countries where you drive on the right versus those where you drive on the left.  Having never given it that much thought I just assumed that the reason that high beams cause so much glare is because they are brighter and throw their light farther.  Turns out that it’s also because of the regulated shape of the low beams.  If you’re interested you can read all about it on Wikipedia (like I did).  The one thing that really stands out though is that despite all this regulation and thought that has gone into this, it’s still possible to improperly aim your headlamps… that seems like it should be a totally solvable engineering problem, maybe if someone mentioned it to the Dyson guy using cyclonic technology to suck the bulb into proper alignment…

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