2009 Touring HID headlights: does anyone else find them dim?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by RebL, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. RebL

    RebL Junior Member

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    I bought my Prius new, and have complained about how dim the bulbs are since purchase. They are HIDs (at least, I can see a little blue rod next to the bulb). One was replaced by a body shop 15 months ago due to fender-bender, and is exactly as (not) bright as its fellow. The invoice says "halogen" but I can see that rod.
    Is there ANYTHING I can do to make these better? The parts guy at a different dealership says he has the exact same car, and his headlights are great. All I can say is my teens would rather drive the 2004 stick shift Forester with 22 mpg, a mild off odor and a very stiff clutch than drive the Prius, all because of the headlights.
    Am I the only one with this issue? What can I do about it? Can I trim back the cone covering the bulb so that more of the bulb shows/gets reflected?

    Thanks...
     
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  2. llmhillman

    llmhillman Junior Member

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    I have always since new thought mine were not great or dim. It's a 2008 Touring Prius. Nothing like the 1992 352I BMW I traded in. They were great! I digress. I now have my Prius HID's going out on me at 68000 miles. That's why I'm on this chat.
     
  3. nh7o

    nh7o Off grid since 1980

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    I would agree that the HID's are not bright. Just adequate for my purposes. I would also say that I find those cars with the very strong lights to be annoying in the specific driving conditions here. Bright lights can lead to less visibility in some situations.

    As far as I know, no one has any obvious way to improve the situation. One could swap out the whole assembly and fit the halogen units as I believe they are the same shape. Or, perhaps there is an easier option for fitting something better for the fog lights, which are likewise mediocre.
     
  4. RebL

    RebL Junior Member

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    Aw. When they went, did they just stop working, or did they just get dimmer? Any noticeable improvement in brightness with the replacements? Also, was it "just" the bulb or was it the whole assembly, ballast and all, that went?
     
  5. RebL

    RebL Junior Member

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    Thx. Misery loves company...and at least I know I'm not as crazy as the dealership seems to think I am. Well. Maybe I am, but the brightness thing is real.

    And another thing I just noticed this week: when I first turn the lights on, they start out brighter then fade after one second or less.My husband thought it was because the light was reflecting back and the car was auto-adjusting. Do they really do that?
     
  6. nh7o

    nh7o Off grid since 1980

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    Not auto adjusting. If this dimming is occurring with the car off, it is due to the 12V battery voltage falling. If it happens with the car in ready mode, then it is not clear why. No one has mentioned that.
     
  7. RebL

    RebL Junior Member

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    Hmm. Brand new 12v battery. Well okay, it's almost a month old now.
     
  8. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    HID lamps start at high brightness as the arc is struck within the bulb at around 24,000 volts.
    Once lit the bulb dims until the metals contained within the bulb are vaporized loading the voltage down to around 80 volts, and re gaining full brightness.
    The 12 volt supply battery voltage "within reason" does not matter as the inverter that supplies the bulb regulates it's output voltage to the correct level. If the battery voltage falls "again within limits" the inverter draws more current to keep the output voltage constant.
    Halogen bulbs dim as the voltage falls since they have no voltage regulation "and are a resistive load" other than the cars alternator or in the case of the Prius the DC to DC converter.

    John (Britprius)
     
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  9. Supergirl

    Supergirl Junior Member

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    Thank you for finally explaining this!! I've always wondered why they turn on super bright then get dimmer.
     
  10. Supergirl

    Supergirl Junior Member

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    I totally agree with you! The fog lights are essentially useless, just there for looks. I see so many Prius drivers use them in clear weather conditions!! I also had one light replaced after some lady crashed into me last November. The new light is SUPER bright!! So of course it makes the older one (4 years old) look very dim which is annoying. Thankfully it's been turning off a lot so time to get a new bulb! Now both will be bright! The new Prius's have very bright lights of course... Lol!
     
  11. rigormortis

    rigormortis Active Member

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    consumers reports tested the HID lights. they hated them. according to them people are paying a premium for lights that are worse then halogen. then you got the whole secret toyota warranty and all the lights failing prematurely and dealers wanting $350 for each bulb. the dealers were NOT informing the customers that there was a secret warranty on those bulbs. if the car came with them fine. but don't go out specifically looking for a prius just because it has the HIDS.

    get the touring for its european tuned suspension and its larger spoiler. but don't go shopping around looking for Hid.
     
  12. Beachbum

    Beachbum Junior Member

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    I too have the dreaded HID's on my 2007 Package 6 and absolutely HATE them. They simply do not light up the road adequately. And forget about driving at night in the rain...scary! My wife even refuses to drive the car at night. I also find that the high beams are only SLIGHTLY brighter than the low beams. Not much difference at all. Compared to the halogens on my other cars where I can see waaaayyy down the road, these seem like worn out flashlights!

    I did replace both bulbs (myself) and had the auto-leveling device checked and headlights aimed at the dealer...all to no avail.

    Does anyone have a solution?
     
  13. adamdreier

    adamdreier Junior Member

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    I was having the same problem in my 2010 Prius II. Dim headlights on the low beam, with halogen bulbs. Here's how I fixed mine: It turns out the bulb wasn't properly installed. Because the bulb wasn't properly seated in the housing, the optics in the headlight casing weren't amplifying and shining the light properly. All I had to do was play with it until it was installed properly. Don't try to install it with the wiring harness connected, this makes it more difficult. Instead, install the H11 bulb first, get it fully inserted and seated, and then connect the wiring harness. If your bulbs are dim right after they've been replaced, this is your problem. The bulb was not fully seated/installed properly.
     
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