Sylvania Silverstar Ultras Make The Road Bright & Visible

You get into your car after a long day at work. The sun set long ago and it's dark out so you get in, put on your seatbelt (right?), then turn on your headlights. Lights…what lights? You can hardly see anything in front of you!

If you find yourself in this situation with your headlights, I recommend replacing the bulbs asap. If you are going to be replacing your headlights anyway, why not upgrade to some really bright Sylvania Silverstar Ultras?

I have been using a set of Sylvania Silverstar Ultras (#9006) in my Honda Accord for the past few weeks, and I got to say, “Wow!” having a brighter set of bulbs in your car makes a big difference while driving at night.

After driving around for awhile with such awesome and bright headlights, you tend to forget the dimness of the old bulbs. For comparison sake and for this review, I decided to put one of my old lightbulbs back in my headlights and drive my Honda Accord around. The difference between the Silverstar Ultras and my old bulbs would be much more visible side-by-side.

It was a bit hard to get a good picture at night (even with my Canon Rebel), but the difference is clear and incredible!

Bright!

You can see how the Silverstar Ultras fill out the headlight more, while the old bulb just doesn't cut it.  Honestly the one Silverstar Ultra bulb lights up the road well and compensates somewhat for the old bulb's lack of brightness.  The Silverstar Ultras were bright enough for to me realize my lights were out of alignment too.  (That was nothing that a screwdriver and a bit of patience couldn't fix.)

The only problem I have read about with these Sylvania Silverstar Ultras is a lot of people complain that they don't last long.  If you look on the back of the packaging there is a graphic that shows the Sylvania Silverstar Ultras are indeed bright, but show their life is much shorter.  Also “SYLVANIA Silverstar Ultra lamps are engineered to achieve the highest performance possible, which results in product life that is less than standard lamps.” is also printed on the back of the packaging.

That doesn't really bother me as I would rather replace really bright bulbs more often, than drive with bulbs that don't light up the road well at all.  So far I have experienced no issues with the bulbs deteriorating in brightness or going out prematurely.

The Silverstar Ultra packaging does claim to improve your forward visibility by 40% and side visibility by 50%. I think those claims are a bit lofty. After making proper adjustments, my guesstimate would be that Silverstar Ultras improve forward visibility by 30%-25% and maybe 30% on the sides.

Of course there is no easy way for me to truly measure or test my guesstimated numbers.  Getting out a measuring tape was futile!

The brightness of the bulbs makes for a much more enjoyable and safe night driving experience though.  The light that the Sylvania Silverstar Ultras bulbs puts out is much more focused, clear, and full then what I had before which was terrible.

Results can vary depending upon the condition of your headlights. If you have cloudy or yellowed headlights, getting a set of Silverstar Ultras bulbs will not improve visibility too much. The best thing for you to do is buy a headlight restoration kit and spend an afternoon restoring them to a clear and visible condition.  Then buy new bulbs if they are not good.

Bottom line, I used to dread having to drive my Accord at night or in bad weather because I thought I would hit another car, person, or object. Now it's not as much of a problem with the Sylvania Silverstar Ultras installed.

I am a New International Motor Press Association Member

Sweet! Why did they send me ones for 2011 though?

For those that follow my Facebook page you might have seen that as of last week, I am a newly minted member of the International Motor Press Association (IMPA).  What does that mean?  Essentially this means I am now considered an “Auto Journalist” by an organization which is comprised of members of the automotive media and publication relations.

To join IMPA you need to show that you have been paid for articles or work relating to cars.  I sent in my application a little over a month ago.  My application went to a review board to determine whether I am in fact an auto journalist and would be eligible for membership.  As we all know that I am, they made the correct determination.  I can now tell people, “I am a member of the International Motor Press Association.” which sounds cool!

 

MD State Emissions Test

Write on the Envelope to make sure you don't forget the Emissions due date

Today I had to go do what most Marylanders dread, the MD State Emissions Test.  This is something you are required to do every 2 years to make sure your vehicle is not spewing too much noxious Co2 into the atmosphere in the great state of Maryland.

I waited longer than it took to actually do the test.  As most know all the test really is is hooking up your car to a computer.  What the technician did to my car today was hook-up my car to the OBDII scanner, check for a code, and that was it.  If my car didn't have a OBDII or OBDI port they just would have not checked for any codes.  He also did what is known as a “Gas Cap” test, essentially just to make sure the gas cap is there.

I left feeling great I had my emissions test out of the way and was at least glad it only took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes from my house to the emissions place on Erdman Avenue and back.  You know I realized when I got back to my house, it is just a good way for MD to make some money.  What do you think?

What Brake Fluid Should & Should Definitely Not Look Like

About a week ago I bleed my brakes on my car, a '96 Honda Accord.  On the right is the old, dirty, and pretty nasty brake fluid I had in my car.  On left is brand new clear, clean, and new brake fluid, which is how all brake fluid should look.  The difference in color is very clear.

New Brake Fluid... Old Brake Fluid

The brake fluid I had in my car was obviously dirty, old, and black.  Did you know old brake fluid is a safety issue?  The reason is DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture.  Think of brake fluid like a sponge.  Overtime the fluid naturally absorbs moisture, which is why it must be changed.  Moisture exceeding 2% is considered excessive, and brand new brake fluid has about 1.5%-1.65% moisture.  Brake fluid is designed to have a high boiling point due to immense heat generated when braking.  Moisture causes the normal brake fluid boiling point to drop, which can lead to brake fade or failure in extreme cases.

Contaminated brake fluid can also potentially affect the performance of your brakes and damage parts.  All that dirt and moisture was moving through the brake lines, calipers, and wheel cylinders.  When the dirty brake fluid was going through the ABS Actuator, delicate solenoids and motors can behave unpredictably.  (My brakes work much better now that I flushed my brake system.)

It is easy to tell when your brake fluid is dirty, but how can you tell when you brake fluid has moisture?   There are specialized strips to test the moisture content in your brake fluid, but no shop I have seen uses them.  They will usually see people with brake fluid pictured on the right, and just recommend a brake flush.  You could buy these strips in an auto parts store if you are curios to know.

Most manufacturers recommending flushing your system of old brake fluid and replacing it every 30,000 miles or 2 years.  I think this is a good rule of thumb and should keep your vehicles brakes working well.

I thought this would serve as a good lesson.  Hopefully you will change your brake fluid and not let it get this dirty!

Why Windshield Wipers Should Be Recyclable

Let's start a Recycling Revolution!

The other day I replaced the Windshield Wipers on my Honda Accord and our Toyota Camry.  After I was done I took all the packaging, and put it in the recycling bin.  I usually try to recycle as much as I can, as I feel this is being a responsible and respectful citizen.

Something occurred to me while I was about to throwout the old Windshield Wipers, Why aren't they recyclable?  Think about this for a moment, there have to be millions upon millions of Windshield Wipers that are replaced every year on all the cars and trucks on our roads.  Then there must be millions and millions of old ones being tossed in the garbage.  All those Windshield Wipers and Wiper Blades are crowding our landfills.  I think they are going there unnecessarily.

Wipers are made of plastic and rubber, meaning they should be able to be recycled easily.  I bet it wouldn't be to hard to reconstitute the plastic and rubber in them.  TV's and old electronics are broken everyday and are given new life in form or new metals, glass, plastic etc..  So why not Windshield Wipers and Wiper Blades?

There might even be savings involved if manufacturers didn't have to spend as much money on buying new materials to make Windshield Wipers and Wiper Blades.  They could be collecting old ones, and breaking them down to be recycle and reused for maker new Wipers.  This would save money and precious resources.  (They would also get extra brownie points from environmentalists!)

To start what I think could be a revolution of recycling Windshield Wipers, I put the old ones in the recycling bin.  I don't know if they will be recycled, but it would be cool if they were!

Please share your thoughts on this.  Do you think Windshield Wipers and Wiper Blades should be recyclable too?

Switched out my License Plates

Yesterday I finally switched out my license plates from the California ones I had on my Honda Accord, to the Maryland ones I got from the MVA awhile ago. It was bit a sad for me, since I kind of liked having those CA plates on my car.  I guess it made me think of how nice CA is and how I want go back there.

The new redesigned MD plates are kind of fun though.  They have this red, white, and blue Star-Spangled Banner theme.

Floormats for my Honda

About 2 weeks ago I bought a set of floormats at Costco for my Accord.  I had been looking and searching for a good set of floormats but had not been able to find anything.  Every set I looked was thin rubber, or a good set with durable thick rubber was $40 or more.  Even the sets I would bought for $40 had odd designs.  It seemed for keeping dirt on the mat they would have been inadequate.  Also lots of floormats have carpeting.  Why do you need carpeting on a floormat?  Doesn't make sense to me.  I checked Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, auto parts stores…everywhere!  All had floormats that would have worked, but not thick ones like I wanted for a reasonable price.

Costco's set of floormats are great!  Thick, durable, and the brown-tan color blends in well with my Honda's interior.  I expect to get a great use out of these mats especially with the bad and wet weather in Baltimore recently.

It was $15 for the set of 4 FloorMats, 2 for the front and 2 for the back.  If you want or need a set of floormats, I would recommend these from Costco.  They have been great for keeping my Honda's carpeting from grime and dirt.  They will prove to be a good invest for a long time.

Going into the cold winter months, floormats are something that would be a wise item to get for your car.  Since a lot of people want to get more mileage out of their cars in this economy.  Obviously floormats won't help your car run better, but will keep it looking fresh and cleaner for longer.

Notice I like to leave as much rubber material on the mats as possible, even for my small 96 Honda Accord.  That way they catch as much dirt and grime as possible, the whole point of the floormats.