Our Cars : Keith’s MINI Cooper – lighting up the way
The MINI hasn’t been seeing much action recently – blame the slew of cars crossing my path over the past few months, and the fact that I’ve needed a jump pack to get it going. That’s a shame, because when it is running, it’s an absolute delight.
Well, when I say delight, what I actually mean is that it’s one of those cars that you end up totting up a growing list of things to do in your head every time you drive it. Notwithstanding the intermittent warning lights on the dashboard that continue to glower at me, a real bugbear when driving it are the shockingly poor headlamps.
Short days, long nights, rubbish headlights
Given the short days, dark nights and general gloom of driving in the UK, you need good headlamps. This is something that really comes home to roost after any period in a new car – this is one area where technology has made a massive difference.
So, with that in mind, I picked up a pair of LED H7 headlamp replacements from my mate Warner Lewis. He basically sells these kits to people who want more light from their cars, without the need for hacking out the old wiring. Truth be told, I was a bit sceptical, and know that there are certain legalities around non-standard headlamps – but, in the end, I decided to fit them and see what happened.
After about ten minutes of faffing around, the bulbs were fitted. You get a little piece of loom to connect between your existing headlamp wiring and the new bulb holder – and, other than the fact the new bulbs are a little longer than the originals, they fit straight in. In the MINI, you have separate dipped and main beam bulbs – I simply replaced the dipped ones.
LED headlights certainly brighten your evenings
In terms of how effective they are, I’d say they work very well indeed. They’re brighter within the existing headlamp beam pattern, and don’t seem to annoy other drivers – at least no one’s flashed me yet to tell me I’m blinding them.
They do this weird flickering when you switch on the ignition before starting the car, but they stop when the engine is running – and, when you switch them on, they work just fine.
I’ll be interested to see what the views from the AROnline readership – over on Facebook when I mentioned this, there was no real consensus over whether I should be using them or not.
What do you think?
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.