BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > To extend Xenon HID bulb life - use Automatic or Always On?

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      03-20-2013, 11:28 AM   #1
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To extend Xenon HID bulb life - use Automatic or Always On?

I have a 2012 E91 LCI (328i Wagon/Estate) with Xenon HID headlamps.

My daily commute consists of a ~30 minute drive that starts and ends inside a parkade. Thus, if the headlamps are set to AUTOMATIC, they will come on twice during my commute, and only briefly at that. I rarely use the high beams (aka flash to pass).

So, my question is: what will be better for long-term bulb/ballast life: to leave the headlamp switch in AUTOMATIC or ON? I am lazy, so I just want to leave it in one or the other all the time. The car is smart enough to turn off all lights when ignition is off even when the switch is in the ON position, so draining the battery is not a concern.
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      03-20-2013, 08:19 PM   #2
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The xenon bulb allegedly have very long lives. My E39 (7.5 yrs, 94k) bulbs stayed alive. Auto enables the adaptive feature (responds to turns) which may or may not impact longevity of the aiming mechanism of the lamp unit (again E39 experience, a big pothole hit broke the auto level parts within the lamp). On leaves other lights on and drains the battery. Why not use your left hand, turn the lights on, off, or auto when road conditions would find adaptive headlights beneficial?
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      03-20-2013, 10:31 PM   #3
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Always switch the headlight on/off manually.
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      03-21-2013, 12:19 AM   #4
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The biggest wear on any HID system is turning them on and off.

In fact while they are running they hardly do any harm.

So my advice is if you find them turning on and off a lot during Automatic Settings, then turn them on and off manually when you need them instead.
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      03-21-2013, 07:03 AM   #5

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That's my opinion too. Auto keeps bringing the lights on when I pull and out of the garage of my house. Unless I forget, I manually use the off setting to avoid this unless they're already on.
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