LED Headlight Bulbs

A few months ago, I noticed that the headlights on one of my cars looked very dim compared to when they were installed just a few months earlier. Regular halogen bulbs dim over time, but these had dimmed very quickly, very likely because I installed a wiring harness / relays to increase the voltage and output (bulb life and output over time is inverse to voltage).

So I decided to revisit LED headlight bulbs. In many forums, you will find doomsayers who say they won't work properly, and for many years, I deferred to such opinions. But there were always a few people who said their ones worked fine and more people seemed to be not listening to the naysayers.

So I decided to look into it more deeply and found some excellent resources including serious testing. Bulbs in the range of $100 to $200 were considered excellent both in construction and output.

But there were a handful of cheaper options that were comparable in output to the more expensive ones.

After some research and sleuthing, I figured out that some recommended models that sold for $50 to $100 seemed to be sold as other brands for far less. I took a chance and ordered a set that were just $20.

Fast forward 4 months, they are still working perfectly. The output is comparable to the factory bi-xenons on one of my other cars. Testing measured it as 2.5 times more light than halogen and visibility at night is pretty much a non issue. It is literally like night and day.

So if you're suffering from dim halogen headlights, I highly recommend LED Headlight Bulbs!!!

Thanks for your enlightening post! :slight_smile: Glad your new headlights are working well for you.

That's interesting. The three main points against that I had seen were:

  1. If you aren't careful about what you buy, you might end up with bulbs that are not actually considered legal for road use. (The packaging will generally tell you.)
  2. In certain applications without the right hardware, LED bulbs may make your car think they are about to go out (for example, if you put LED turn signal bulbs in a car that doesn't expect them, your turn signals may blink super fast to warn you). I think there are kits you can get that avoid this potential issue.
  3. If you put LED headlamps in a vehicle that wasn't designed for them without professional adjustment (or possibly replacement) of the reflectors, it is possible that they will no longer be aimed correctly and you will join the ranks of people half-blinding the traffic in front of them and perpetuating the hatred for LED bulbs.

It sounds like you managed to avoid all three pitfalls. Also, the last time I looked into it was a few years ago, so I don't even know how applicable the caveats are anymore.

LED headlight bulbs are not street legal replacements for halogen headlight bulbs in reflector housings. Reflectors are designed for a 360 degree halogen bulb which will have it's filament in a particular location, regardless of brand.

But some LED bulbs get closer than others in replicating the halogen bulb. Apart from placing the diodes in the same location as the halogen's filament, the LED bulb should only have 2 sides and be as thin as possible to replicate the 360 degree output of halogen.

There are still bulbs being sold that give a poor pattern and poor output. Apart from glare, a poor design also means that some will put less light onto the road than the halogen they replaced, despite them having far higher lumen ratings.

So you will see reviews and opinions ranging from LED being a huge improvement to them being worse.

The other thing to watch out for is a design that doesn't dissipate heat well enough leading to a short life. Ideally, you want a design with as large a heatsink as can fit in your housing, a fan and external drivers. If space is at a premium or you want the easiest possible install, there are now LED bulbs that are the same exterior design and size as halogen bulbs. Some even integrate a fan. Many bulbs now also deal with any compatibility issues with the car's electronics / warning systems.