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MG MGF Technical - Lights Light Lights

Hi All

I was scanning throught the headlight post, I wondered if anyone has invested in uprated bulbs from Halfords ?? Are they worth it and will they give you added light?? I have to say that the headlights on the "F" are not the brightest in the world.

Anyone changed the colour of the dashboard lights ?? I wanted to change mine to the being blue rather like the new VW's.

Kindest Regards

sunil kshirsagar

Hi Sunil

I fitted +30% bulbs and found about +9% improvement. I adjusted the lights upwards by 75% of a full turn of the adjuster and found about +10% improvement.

I know the lights are usualy said to be cr*p, and I bought the car used but does anybody remember how the lights were on a new F? Were they always poor? Did they start poor and get poorer? Were they good?

I had been considering replacing the complete lamp units with a new set but only if anybody thinks they were good when new.

The lights on the TF are better than those on the F. I replaced my bulbs with what were described on the box as 50% brighter, brighter than a candle I suppose, just. I think they were poor from the out set.

I have read that the so called "Brighter" bulbs from Halfords are a waste of your hard earned cash. I have also read on the BBS to be very careful if buying higher wattage bulbs as they can melt the reflective coatings in the headlight assembly. I have the added luxury of lower driving lamps fitted but they are only of use on quiet roads. PC Plod takes offence when he sees me with them on in built up areas and likes to fine me. I just accept I have to live with them until my finances can support a trade up to a TF.
D Jamieson

The lights on my 2001 F are fine. Certainly wouldn't describe them as poor. From what I've read the problem is more down to deterioration of the headlamp lenses so you would expect them to get worse with age.

Hi Chaps

Thanks for the replies, Oh well I guess that will have to live with the rather dim headlights. To be honest I think that it might have something to do with me having not wash the car for a while!

Any offers on the second question about the dash and centre console lights, putting blue bulbs in them, to resemble a VW dash.

Kindest Regards

sunil kshirsagar

Sunil, there is a company that makes replacement instrument faces that'll illuminate in any colour (and indeed can incorporate any design).

Unfortunately, I cannot recall the company's name off the top of my head, but you'll find it mentioned (I think) in the MGF General archives.
Rob Bell

I have fitted the "30% brighter" xenon bulbs to my F, when I fisrt fitted tham I changed one side only and did notice a (slight)difference between the 2 sides. Now with both sides changed, I must admit that I do not really think "wow my lights are now much better!", but I suppose that any little helps!!
Jason H
Jason H

I bought the Halfords brighter bulbs and noticed no appreciable difference. I made them refund my money.


So far

Chris is happy with the lights on his 2001 F and expects them to go off with age.

Nobody else seems very happy with their lights.

Nobody has commented on the progresss of their lights from new to current day.

Is there anybody who bought their car new several years ago and can still remember what the lights were like.

I realise that every thing was better "in the old days" and that memories fade with time but somebody must be able to remember 5 years back.

NB I can just remember last week but fail completely with "recently".

TBQH John, the problem is with gradual deterioration - so that the change is practically unnoticeable. Particularly difficult for me, because London, like most cities, are street light flooded. For the purposes of vision to see where I am going, I don't really need the lights on!

It is really noticable on the motorway and country A-roads though. The lamps ARE worse than new.

I suspect that the most noticable change will come when I replace the lens/reflector unit. Might think again about doing this in the new year, as my kindly MoT inspector made a note last time of how milky my car's lenses appeared :oO
Rob Bell

I think my lights are worse than when the car was new. My car is six years old. But I also recognize that at this time of year when the roads are wet the lights are less effective. I think it is to do with less light being reflected back from the road surface due to road being wet. Most of the light is reflected off the road surface into the eyes of the oncoming traffic instead of back to the driver.

Bruce Caldwell


I have 2001 car that's hardy been out at night, so the lights should be like new and I can say that I don't think that they are brilliant (no pun intended). I don't know if I would rush out a buy new ones. Looks like I can look forward to them getting even worse.
David Clelland

Hmmm, i cast my mind back to the dim and distant past, ah, here we are, Take That are playing thier swansong on the radio, no one has heard of the Spice Girls yet, Tony B and Co were still popular and people weren't regretting voting for them, New York had a pair of spectacular skyscrapers and Timothy Dalton was at the end of his foray into the world of 007... :-)

Another notable event was how the praiseworthy description in the MG brocure of the headlamp performance seemed to be accurate. By the end of the year however, i was beginning to think they had dimmed somewhat. In 1998 i painted my inner reflectors, effectively loosing all of the ancilliary reflected surfaces and after this had been done there was next to no difference in illumunance - much to my surprise. It was at this time that i investigated additional driving lamps but found to my annoyance, that there were none available that didn't either look absolutely awful stuck on the front of the car or impeded airflow into the radiator (not recomended on a car with the Fs reputation for cooling system problems).

So, i came up with my own unique solution to the problem. I eat a lot of carrots!!!!! ;-)


I too would love to change the instrumentation lighting to a blue colour like the VW. However, there is a fundamental problem with the F in this respect. The oil temp gauge and clock are lit from behind, and therefore could easily be made to look a cool blue colour, and still be easy to see. However, the instrumentation panel behing the steering wheel is lit from the front, so might not work as well. It would be difficult to see both the figures on the clock, and the needles if lit by anything other than white light. If there is a way to change this so that the dials are lit from behind (new dials would be required for this as well) and also a way to illuminate the needles, then I would buy it now!

PK51VDY - Yellow Trophy

>So, i came up with my own unique solution to the problem. I eat a lot of carrots!!!!! ;-)<

Steve, this reminds me of a friend of mine (a well known misogynist) who used to use this as an example of what he described as womens' logic -

1. Rabbits eat carrots
2. Rabbits don't wear glasses
3. Therefore, carrots are good for the eyesight.

I couldn't, and wouldn't dare, comment of course!

The lights on my X reg F are still reasonable if not the brightest I've come across. Maybe I should start eating carrots seriously before it's too late.......


SF - when I got my 97 F at easter & found this BBS, yours was one of the names which cropped up with regularity. The knowledge which you all had garnered over 5 - 7 years, and were happy to pass on, made owning an F fun.

Could I possibly prevail on you to share further your knowledge? Is there a preferred variety of carrot to improve F headlamps?


>> If there is a way to change this so that the dials are lit from behind (new dials would be required for this as well) and also a way to illuminate the needles, then I would buy it now!<<

Paul, this is the website you need to have a look at; blue illuminating instrument fascias can be yours for around 60 quid. See
Rob Bell

Their website says that they are not currently making dials, but I sent an e-mail anyway.

I've asked for the whole lot VW style, including dashboard dials (including didital odometer), centre console dials, heater control surrounds and electric window etc. switch panel.

I've asked them to maybe suggest what would be best, but I've asked to see if they can replace all the dashboard dials with backlit ones (as opposed to the crappy front lit ones that are standard) and maybe change the dials from silver to black with silver (nightime blue) fonts. Needles to be red.
I'll let you know what I hear back.


Noticed that after surfing the site after quoting it here Paul. I'll certainly be interesting in hearing how you get on with them - I've heard positive reports before.

Black dials look a bit wierd on an F though - I saw a prototype interior on the MGOC web site. Prefer cream myself.
Rob Bell

They have to be flame red carrots !!!

Headlamps - have a look at an older car which has had to have a headlamp renewed due to accident damage and often there is a need to renew the undamaged one on the other side to maintain 'a matched pair of headlamps'. Pretty convincing I would say.

Roger Parker

This thread was discussed between 02/12/2002 and 10/12/2002

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