One possible reason is arcing inside the lamp socket. Loose bulbs can arc inside the socket. One sure sign of arcing is if the light "flickers" when it is on. Take the bulb out of the fixture and examine the contacts on the base. If any part of the base appears burned, there is arcing inside the socket. Arcing can cause a bulb to blow prematurely. Make sure the bulb is tight when istalling a new one. The best cure is to replace either the socket if it's removable, or the whole fixture if it's not. Also if it's an enclosed fixture, the heat from the light bulb can get trapped inside, causing the bulb to overheat, thereby causing it to fail prematurely. This is likely if you have too large a light bulb in the fixture, i.e. using a 100 watt bulb in a fixture designed for a 60 watt bulb. Try a lower wattage bulb.
Yes, the rating of the fixture is the maximum size bulb that the fixture should take. The fixture is rated to dissipate a certain amount of heat that is generated by a bulb. By putting in a bigger bulb and thereby generating more heat than the fixture was designed for, could destroy the fixture. Some fires have been known to start this way.
Passport headlights have a bulb inside the fixture, which can be accessed by opening the hood and following the wires into the back of the fixture. If you turn the bulb socket a quarter turn (it only goes one way) it will slide out of the fixture. The bulb is held in the socket by a clip. The new one snaps into the socket, and the socket is re-insterted into the fixture. A quarter turn secures it. Don't handle the bulb with your bare fingers, they will leave oil on it which will shorten the bulb life.
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