Alfa Romeo is a line of cars produced in Milan, Italy. It has long been recognised as one of Europe's most innovative sports car manufacturers. The company prides itself on quality from headlight to taillight and everywhere in between. Many Alfa Romeo owners buy replacement parts as a way to save both time and money on basic repairs. Some of the simplest of these are changing light bulbs, which include external weatherproof designs and interior lighting. Anyone with a set of screwdrivers can reinstall bulbs easily. Finding and ordering these bulbs is simple and inexpensive on eBay.
The most important thing to keep in mind when changing any light bulb is never to handle the bulb without the use of new disposable gloves or a clean paper towel. Any foreign material on the bulb, including oils from human skin, disrupt the dispersion of heat from the source element and can cause the bulb to burn out prematurely. Gloves are the best option because they also protect the hands in the event that the old bulb shatters when removed.
History of Alfa Romeo
The Alfa Romeo company was founded under the name A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) in 1910. Nicola Romeo became director in 1915 and changed the company's name to Alfa Romeo in 1920. Soon after he took over, during the height of the First World War, Romeo converted the factory from car manufacturing to military supplies, which eventually led to the company's failure when the war contracts expired. In 1932, the government, under control of Benito Mussolini, assumed ownership, which it maintained until 1986 when the company was purchased by the Fiat Group.
Production of cars has declined significantly over recent decades to just over 100,000 units per year from a high of over 200,000. The company expects those numbers to rebound dramatically in the medium term, as it has undertaken an aggressive re-entry into the United States market.
Safety Precautions Before Replacing Bulbs
While light bulbs are not particularly expensive replacement parts, driving a car without every external bulb illuminated can be dangerous. It can also be illegal. If a specific bulb burns out repeatedly, there is likely to be a short circuit in the electrical system that requires immediate attention.
Before working on light bulb replacement, ensure that the engine is off and the car key is removed. While the chance of experiencing personal injury is low, the greater danger is with blowing a perfectly good new bulb and having to purchase another.
Identify Which Bulbs Need Replacement
Begin by visually confirming that a light bulb in the Alfa Romeo is actually blown and not simply off or dislodged from its socket. Turn on the appropriate switch and determine which bulb is not illuminating. If it is a rear light, such as the brake or reverse light, ask someone else to get into the car and put a foot on the brake pedal or put the car into reverse.
The headlights, tail lights, and indicator lights are all behind plastic covers that are generally accessible from the bonnet and boot of the car. Some of these can be tricky to access and the owner's manual should give clear instructions.
Remove the Bulb
When the faulty bulb has been identified, remove the cover or access panel, then remove the bulb completely. Depending on the age and model of the car, the bulb may screw out or may just have to be pulled. The owner's manual specifies which applies. Generally Alfa Romeos have a socket for each bulb mounted into the headlight or tail light assembly. To remove it, twist slightly anticlockwise and pull. If it has been a few years since the bulb was removed, which is typically the case, this process may take a bit of effort.
When removing and replacing bulbs it is just as important to prevent the glass from contacting other car surfaces as it is from contacting hands; the goal is to have no contamination from any source. If the bulb has blown, the filament can be seen dangling loose inside the glass shell, which shows a black or brown carbon deposit on one spot only.
Reposition the Bulb
If the filament looks fine and there is no obvious visible damage to the bulb, try repositioning it in the socket and turning the switch back on. If it now lights up, it may have just become disengaged.
Test by Exchanging the Bulbs
If it still does not light up, try exchanging the bulb with the one on the opposite side of the car, once it is confirmed to be in good working order. If that good bulb does not illuminate, the issue is not the bulb, but the electrical system. It could be the socket itself, wiring, or a fuse or fuse box. Other than the fuse, these are problems that may require professional help.
Types of Alfa Romeo Bulb
Begin with the owner's manual, which should provide some details about the bulbs. The manual is also helpful in specifying the part number and wattage for each bulb to be replaced. These markings are often illegible on the bulb itself, especially if it is several years old.
Since Alfa Romeo has been building cars, there are many different sizes and types of headlights that require periodic replacement. Some can be upgraded to newer technology and others cannot. Purists with older models of cars often insist on using bulbs that were in use during the time the car was manufactured. It is best to look for these difficult to source items online.
High Intensity Discharge Headlights
Current headlight technology emphasises high intensity discharge (HID) headlights as a significant improvement over traditional incandescent bulbs. They are completely sealed and rely on xenon gas to create a brighter light with no measurable power consumption increase. However, since Alfa Romeo has been building cars that predate halogen and xenon technology, conversion kits are not always available.
Low Beam vs. High Beam Bulbs
When ordering new bulbs, specify whether the replacement required is a low beam or high beam bulb, as they are different. Alfa Romeo headlight clusters are arranged with the low beam further to the side of the car and the high beam towards the car's centre.
Tail and Reverse Lights
Tail light assemblies are often composed of a single housing with several different bulbs attached rather than individual independent sockets. Reverse light assemblies are similar, but with only one bulb. Otherwise, both types are similar to headlight bulbs. Note both the part number and wattage when searching for the new rear bulbs.
There are usually more light bulbs inside a car than there are outside. Considering the glove compartment, dashboard, independent convenience and reading lights, and overhead general lighting; the number of interior lights adds up quickly.
These areas are where screwdrivers come in handy; many of the lenses over the bulbs are attached with one or two short screws. The small bulbs that light up the sound system and other control surfaces require complete removal of the component to access the bulbs.
Original Equipment Manufacturer vs. Third Party Replacement Bulbs
Buyers looking for replacement bulbs are often concerned that products not made by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) are inferior quality. In fact, the opposite is often true. Third party manufacturers often offer exceptional quality at a better price. Bear in mind that OEM products must conform to parameters established by the manufacturers, but third party producers have the freedom to exceed these standards. It is wise to read reviews submitted by other buyers to confirm that their experiences of buying either OEM or third party replacement bulbs have been generally positive.
Buying a Replacement Bulb for an Alfa Romeo on eBay
Locating Alfa Romeo replacement bulbs is simple on eBay. All you need to do is begin at the home page. On that page, and all eBay pages, you can find a handy search tool that displays the items that you need. If you have determined that you need an Alfa Romeo xenon bulb, for example, just enter that term into the open field. That returns page with thousands of options. You can then narrow down the search based on the manufacturer, price, and other parameters. Check eBay's search tips to get some ideas on how to search effectively.
eBay Discussion Boards and Groups
Among the most useful features of eBay, especially for anyone having a difficult time finding a specific Alfa Romeo bulb, are the discussion boards and groups. There are other buyers that have come to eBay to find great deals on bulbs and other parts that may be difficult to find. It is likely that someone else has had a similar issue and has posted an answer to any question you may have. If you do not find your answer, just submit a question and chances are good that a knowledgeable eBayer replies soon.
Alfa Romeo is a company with a great reputation in the sports car industry. However, regardless of the quality of the car, there is always a need to replace parts. Fortunately, light bulbs are fairly simple to access and exchange, with a few exceptions that must be handled by professional mechanics. Unlike older light bulbs, newer gas filled models are extremely sensitive to damage from handling. It is a good idea to use a new pair of disposable gloves whenever changing any light bulb.
A good place to search for replacement bulbs for an Alfa Romeo is on eBay. It is a marketplace that assembles a large number of independent merchants who compete with each other on price and customer service. You can read comments from previous buyers and you contact the seller directly if you have questions that the listing information does not address. eBay offers a number of user-friendly tools to help any buyer looking for a replacement bulb for an Alfa Romeo.