Sylvania SilverStar zXe’s, The Best Headlight Bulbs

Slyvania SilverStar zXe
Slyvania SilverStar zXe

As the days are getting shorter with winter upon us, I am sure you are using your headlights more. Inevitably one of your headlight bulbs is going to burn out or be on it's last legs, putting you in the market for new headlights. When you take a trip down to the auto parts store you should consider upgrading to some better bulbs, like the Sylvania Silverstar zXe's.

Sylvania was nice enough to send me a set of zXe's for my 96′ Honda Accord. Some fans of Adam's Auto Advice might remember I also wrote a review of the Slyvania SilverStar Ultras.  (Also see my review of the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit.)  After using the zXe's I wouldn't bother with the Ultras because the zXe's are hands-down better.

This was made obvious one night while driving to a friend's house in Northern Baltimore county. The roads to his house are small, twisty, and lack streetlights where walls of trees line the side of the roads. This forced me to rely on the zXe's. With the brights on, they effortlessly lit the way for my Honda Accord. I had driven this same route with the SilverStar Ultras which were great, but definitely not nearly as good as the zXe's. The dark roads were simply no match for the light that the zXe's produced.

Another night, driving home on a dark Baltimore city street, I noticed two people walking in the middle of the street. I mean they were literally walking in the middle of the street! I braked and swerved around them honking. Luckily I saw them far before an accident would have occurred, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't have seen them as early without the zXe's.

Also, when driving in rain or bad weather, the zXe's shine. They are particularly useful at night when it is raining.

What makes the zXe's superior is fullness of the white light and the intensity. Some headlight bulbs provide a wide lighting area but the light diminishes around the edges, reducing their effectiveness. This doesn't happen with the zXe's crisp illumination.

“SilverStar zXe headlights use a proprietary cobalt blue coating combined with xenon halogen gas technology to generate a color temperature that rivals HID.” according to the description on Sylvania's website. Part of the appeal of the zXe's for auto enthusiasts and tuners is they mimic High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlight housings without the expense and hassle of installation. A big advantage to the zXe's is they are 100% legal and Department of Transportation (DOT) approved so you don't need to worry about running into any legal trouble. Sylvania hopes you will consider these before buying a set of HID's. While the zXe's did slightly improve the look of my Honda Accord with slicker lights, I am not sure the zXe's are a true replacement for the overall look of HID headlights. This is strictly my opinion though, maybe they look better on other cars.

One complaint I have read about the zXe's is that they do not last as long as regular bulbs. Slyvania doesn't really advertise it in big bold letters but on the box it does say, “Slyvania SilverStar zXe lamps are engineered to achieve the highest performance possible, which results in product life that is less than standard lamps.” So they are not trying to hide this or mislead Sylvania customers. It states this limitation clearly and it might be something to be aware of before purchasing them.  I have been using my zXe's for a number of months and haven't noticed that the light has diminished or had a bulb burn out though.  If they do I will let people know.

Once you use Slyvania's zXe's you will most likely not care about what the box says. It would be hard to go back to using any other type of bulb for your headlights. They are better and brighter then anything I have ever used and if you buy a set, I am pretty sure you will be happy with that choice.

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Adam loves cars and anything with wheels. He has many interests and passions but he especially loves writing and blogging. Hence starting this auto blog.

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Adam loves cars and anything with wheels. He has many interests and passions but he especially loves writing and blogging. Hence starting this auto blog.

7 thoughts on “Sylvania SilverStar zXe’s, The Best Headlight Bulbs”

  1. A Baltimore Neighbor says:

    Thank you for this helpful review. A week or so ago I was driving home on the beltway after dark and it started to rain substantially. I already have more trouble seeing in the dark than others do, or that is what I suspect. I always wondered if it was my eyes of my headlights, but I just don’t think I can see as far into the distance as others, or as much off to the sides. But with glare on the wet road, suddenly I could not be sure where any of the lines were, and I had to correct myself after drifting into another lane because I truly could not see the lines. Then upon a curve, I was afraid I would not see the shoulder’s boundary or where an exit veered off the road. I had a white-knuckle ride until I could get off the highway at the next suitable exit.

    It turns out that my 1999 Suzuki Esteem wagon has “old-style” (not even halogen) lights in it. I researched and sent my husband to the store to buy the Sylvania Ultra. For some reason I was not even aware of the zXe, but he found them in the store and bought the zXe lights for me. Then I researched to see what others thought of them, and found your article. I live in Baltimore County north, so I know exactly what you mean about the roads. Deer and other animals are everywhere here, and also on some busy but not-necessarily well-lit streets, people in dark clothing cross without being very careful!

    I cannot wait to drive my car with the new lights installed. I can’t believe I took this long to upgrade my lights since every car now made uses halogen or better (at least I think that.) Thanks for the reassuring and informative article.

    1. Hey Baltimore Neighbor,

      Glad that you found my post helpful and that you decided to buy a set of the zXe’s. Let me know how it is driving around in zXe’s, how you like them, and if it improves your visibility.

      I am guessing that any new bulb though is going to be better than what you had in your Suzuki before. Considering it is a 1999 Suzuki Esteem, and from your description, it sounds like the bulbs were really dim. I assume that also you might have cloudy headlights which is probably blocking light from getting through your headlights and onto the road.

      I’d recommend buying a headlight restoration kit since they are no more than $20 and doesn’t take too long to do. You can see my review of the 3M Headlight Restoration Kit and the Slyvania Headlight Restoration Kit. Just ask your husband to do it! 🙂


  2. A Baltimore Neighbor says:

    Yes, they probably were dim (we replaced them at least once, but do any cars use regular incandescent lights anymore? New cars, anyway? At least I’m getting with the times now. LOL) We do keep new tires on the car, so I value safety, but somehow we had overlooked what type of lightbulbs were in the car until now.

    But yes, the plastic is clouded, and a year or so ago we used a kit to clear them up. But we didn’t do the last step of sealing them, so they clouded right up again. This time we (ahem, I say “we” when I mean the man will do it for me, ha ha) will clear them again with a kit, and we already have a sander for that purpose. I’ll let you know after they’re installed and I get a chance to try the new lights.

    1. Not ever headlight restoration kit has the UV coating to put on the headlights. I think the Slyvania kit is actually the only one I have seen on the market that has it. To be honest I’d rather use the 3M kit as you use a drill to do the headlight restoration. I think the result is better and it is less hassle. You can buy a separate can of UV coating at an auto parts store to apply afterwards.

      As far as I know there are no new cars being made that use incandescent bulbs. A lot of automakers are moving to LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) now which provide a better light, take less energy, and last longer.

  3. Mike Carrington says:

    Having replaced four Sylvania headlight bulbs already this year, my experience is that a Sylvania bulb lasts about six months. That’s over $100 per vehicle per year, or over $1,000 just for headlight bulbs if you keep your car ten years. Not good!

    1. Yeah my Slvyania’s burned out but they lasted far longer than only six months. At least 1 – 2 years I believe.

      Do you live in cold climate Mike? Canada? 🙂

      I replaced the zXe headlight bulbs with regular headlight bulbs you can buy at any auto parts store. I had bunch lying around and wasn’t going to not use what I already had.

  4. I have ZXE’s on my Fusion’s high beams and the Ultra’s on low beams. Ford’s headlight designs aren’t the best. The Fusion’s were incorrectly aimed at the factory, so had to fix that. Might want to have your trucks aim checked too 🙂 The Silverstar bulbs are pretty good. Just whiter and a little brighter than stock.

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