Technology has come a long way since the advent of a light bulb in 1879 and modern-day bulbs are way more efficient and better than their older counterparts. The same is true for bulbs fitted in cars, cars used to come with pair of bulbs that produced an inadequate amount of glow and created problems for the drivers in the dark.
The misery further aggravated when the climate conditions were not friendly, for instance, a great number of road accidents in foggy conditions are caused when a driver is unable to see a vehicle in front even when its rear lights are on.
This is primarily because of the poor performance of some standard bulbs, however, there are several good quality car bulbs available in the market nowadays and you can get them at an affordable.
The two most commonly used and available bulbs for cars are 3057 and 3157, both are used in the rear light assembly as a brake, indicator, and reverse light bulbs.
However there some fundamental differences between the two kinds which set them apart and here we will discuss both the difference and details of these bulbs.
3157 bulb Overview
The 3157 bulb has its benefits even though it has the same applications as the 3057 bulb apart from the fact that it can be used as a daytime running light.
The main reason for this lies in its ability to glow brighter than its competitor, you see the 3157 is one step ahead in this regard with its peak brightness rating at 32/3 candle power (the unit for measuring brightness is candle power abbreviated as cp or CP).
One drawback of this bulb is that it draws a bit more current than the 3057 bulbs, however, the difference is negligible, and it doesn’t even matter most of the time.
Another significant advantage of this bulb is that it lasts much longer than the 3057 bulbs and has an average lifespan of 3000 to 10,000 hours. This is long enough to last a couple of years and you’ll not have to worry about your rear lights going out now and then.
3057 bulb overview
The numbering sequence or the name of this bulb may make it sound like an inferior option, but it has its advantages. The 3057 bulbs can be used in all kinds of rear lights, however, one area where they cannot be used are the DRLs (daytime running lights) because of their lower brightness.
The candle power rating for this bulb is rated at 32/2 which is not much of a difference and you may not notice this when comparing it with a 3157 bulb on a bright sunny day
. The 3057 though consumes a tad less current than the 3157 bulb though it is not such a big difference. The life expectancy of this bulb is rather shorter, and it is expected to last approximately 4500 hours.
Are both the bulbs interchangeable?
This is one of the most frequently asked question and the answer is YES but there is a catch, the base, and diameter of both the bulbs is identical however you’ll notice that one is longer than the other one.
The 3157’s length is 1.25-inches which is considerably shorter than 3057’s 2-inch length. Therefore, you should look out for the amount of space available in your rear light housing.
As mentioned earlier, the amount of current 3157 bulb draws is a bit more than the 3057 bulbs but it is negligible and it makes up for it by providing more brightness which is mostly the reason why people decide to go for aftermarket bulbs.
Another important thing that should be kept in mind that the 3057 should NEVER be interchanged with a 3157 bulb in case of a daytime running light because they have lower brightness and therefore are not a good fit for such use.
The K or LL versions:
There is a possibility that you may come across the K and LL versions of both of these bulbs. The K stands for Krypton which is an inert gas that is added to enhance the life of a bulb. The LL stands for a long life which is basically the same thing as the K version, the only difference is the wording which is only a marketing strategy.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.