Today, the global automotive industry is being bombarded with counterfeit Xenon HID bulbs. If you do a quick online search about it, then you’ll see what we mean; it’s shocking.
The fake bulbs in question are sheep in wolves clothing, imitating the real product so well that to any person they’re just normal OSRAM bulbs. The worry sinks in however on the first nighttime drive, where other motorists have been flashing at you constantly due to being blinded. It all begins to make sense when you pull up to a wall or garage back at home and realise the beam pattern is completely all over the place.
Bulb changes commonly means a recalibration of the headlight aim is usually necessary so don’t jump to the worst conclusion straight away. However if the beam pattern is worse than your previous bulbs the chances are high that they’re indeed fake. The unfortunate reality is that fake bulbs are next to useless, completely illegal, a risk to your life and an expense waiting to happen. Fake bulbs are not only a safety worry, but the performance and lifetime are where there’s simply no comparison to that of a genuine bulb. Osram takes this problem very seriously and the result of it all was the Osram Trust & Approved Partner Schemes.
What is an Approved Partner?
An OSRAM Approved Partner is an online retailer that is approved to sell genuine OSRAM products online. They only stock and sell genuine OSRAM automotive parts and accessories, so if you buy any OSRAM product from them, it will be 100% genuine.
How Do I Know I Am Buying from an Approved Partner?
Wherever you see the Approved Partner Logo, it guarantees that they are approved to sell genuine OSRAM products. Every Approved Partner has been issued with a unique AP reference number and logo (which also shows their unique reference).
Is Driven 2 Automotive an Osram Approved Partner?
Yes we are indeed! See our official page on Osram’s Night Breaker Unlimited website here. Our unique reference is# AP1001 and our badge is displayed here.
What Are the Dangers of Fake or Cheap Xenon Bulbs?
- HID Ballasts can catch fire due to abnormal loads
- Bulb bases can melt inside the headlight, damaging the reflector and/or bulb mount system
- Light glare that can dazzle other motorists and cause a collision
- Premature bulb failures
- Poor lumen output (brightness) compared to that of genuine bulbs
So How Do I Check My Bulbs?
If you purchase from an official Osram Approved Partner it means it’s an immediate way to ensure you’ll receive a genuine OSRAM product in the post.
- Driven 2 Automotive OSRAM Approved Partner Page
- Driven 2 Automotive Shop
- OSRAM Approved Partner Information
Next, follow the guide below to verify the authenticity of your Xenon bulbs:
Step 1) Check the Security Label on the Packaging for a 7-Digit Code
Since October 2015, all OSRAM Xenon HID bulbs feature a special 7-digit code which you can use on their Trust Program website to verify authenticity. If you can’t find a label on your packaging it’s possible the bulbs you’ve purchased were produced before the said date. So do take note that some vendors still stock genuine Osram products without security labels added. In this case, Osram recommends contacting them directly if you’re worried.
- The 7-digit code is located to the left-hand side of the sticker label – Then enter the code here
- The 3 digits in the bottom right-hand corner should be holographic
- A QR code that’s linked to the Trust verification process website
- The OSRAM logo with the following URL www.osram.com/trust
- A security strip featuring micro-sized text which you can read with a magnifying glass
Step 2) Check the Data on the Bulb Bases
After entering the 7-digit code which authenticates the packaging, you’ll see a display of data which includes the Osram order number, product designation and lamp numbers. The important one here is to check the lamp numbers displayed on the verification site match the numbers on the bulbs inside the packaging. The numbers are found in the locations as shown:
But There’s No Label on the Packaging of My Bulbs?
We mentioned before that some companies will still hold stock of older Osram products which don’t have a security label on them. In this case OSRAM states the following:
The OSRAM Trust system was introduced in fall 2015. Since then, the lamp packaging contains the two security features. However, it is still possible that several vendors have warehouse stock older than fall 2015 without the new labelling. Should you have doubts regarding your package, please get in touch with OSRAM.
So there you go, no security label doesn’t mean it’s a fake straight off the bat.
In the end we are proud to be part of something which is combating the issue and the two schemes are a great step in the right direction.
If you have any more questions, Osram have an FAQ section on their website located here.