2012 Prius v Headlights (Halogen)

Discussion in 'Prius v Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by mwynne, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. mwynne

    mwynne New Member

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    My wife and I just recently bought a used 2012 Prius v wagon (the base Canadian model), and the low-beam headlights are just so unnervingly dim. I've tried to do my due diligence reviewing existing posts, so I know that swapping in a different kind of unit (HID, LED) is not an option. I also know that running a non-OEM bulb will likely result in a much shorter bulb lifespan. That all being said, does anyone have recommendations for running a brighter halogen bulb with the knowledge that we'll need to replace them more often? (or really *any* recommendations to get bettor low-beam lighting).

    Thanks!
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I've had success with powerbulbs.com



    Try the OSRAM Night Breaker Unlimited (the original one, not the Laser or Silver model) or Phillips Vision H11. They're about $27-$34 CAD each (so double that for a pair). They do ship to Canada.

    Yes they don't last as long (on my 2005 Prius where the headlights were run as DRLs, the older models of these lasted 10 and 11 months for each of those bulbs). Given that the Prius v uses the high beam at reduced intensity as the DRLs, these bulbs for low beams should last longer.
     
  3. Air_Boss

    Air_Boss Senior Member

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    On the v Five, which has excellent low beam LED headlamps, I use VLED Triton LEDs in the high beams (replacing OEM halogens) and they perform very well in the OEM housings.

    They may also perform in the non-LED low beams.

    Coincidentally, they are having a sale (Reg FD: I have no financial or other interest in VLEDs): V6 Triton
     
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  4. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    I use these in my original halogen 2012 Prius v, and they are bright, white and wonderful.

     
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  5. mwynne

    mwynne New Member

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    [/QUOTE]

    Any recommendations within the Phillips Vision range (Vision, VisionPLus, Xtreme Vision)?
     
  6. mwynne

    mwynne New Member

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    The media came through a bit funky for me - these kind of things? (ah, I can't post links yet, but this is the Amazon item name "H11 H8 H9 LED Headlight Bulbs CREE-Chips MINI Size 12,000Lm 6000k AUHDER All-in-One Super Bright Conversion Kit White Pack of 2")

    I've heard really negative things about retrofitting LED/HID bulbs into a halogen unit (combination of power issues and the light emission just not playing well with the halogen reflector (bad angling, blinding folks, etc). Your experience was different though?
     
  7. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    I was very skeptical until recently. They have really improved. I still these 9005's for the high beams, since I seldom use high beams in my driving.



    I have used the H11 low beams in the past, but have switched to the LED's. I am amazed at the results, knowing that the have improved in just a couple of years.

    The low beams are projectors. I am amazed on how good the pattern is flat and well aimed.

    I'm sold.
     
    #7 Georgina Rudkus, Jan 22, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
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  8. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Any recommendations within the Phillips Vision range (Vision, VisionPLus, Xtreme Vision)?[/QUOTE]

    Just note that the hotter (brighter) the bulb runs, the shorter the life. So while 30% doesn't sound like much, the Vision seems like the compromise choice. I can't find the Vision Plus (for your car) and I assume the Xtreme Vision is the LED bulb? There weren't many LED options 10 years ago when I was looking for bulbs for our 2005. (I ended up using HIDs for our 2010 which lasted 6 years before the passenger side colour shifted)
     
  9. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    H11 is correct for the low beams on the 2012 Prius v.



    9005 bulbs are correct for the high beams.
     
  10. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Not for V or any other PRIUS, but I recently changed my son's Honda head light (halogen) to reterofit LED lump. It is super blight, and pattern is very good. We did both hi and lo beam. We do live in rural country side with no street lights meaning the blighter headlight is much safer. I know there are some poorly designed LED replacement bulbs or bad implementation of LED lamps on cars out there. I have encountered quite few of those "blinding" headlight from others on the road myself. But I think many of newer replacement bulbs are getting much safer not to have glare or to blind oncoming traffic. I was careful in selecting a replacement bulb for my son's car. The Sealight LED bulb is one of such safer replacement bulb that comes with DOT compliant specs. I confirmed after installation that low beam is no more glaring or blinding than the original halogen bulb. Of course leaving the high beam on with oncoming car or car front of it is totally different story. Even dim halogen bulb can annoy most drivers.

    All that being said, when we did that LED bulb retrofitting on my son's car, I didn't check the legality of such modification. As it turned out, there are quite few sites advocating that such mod is illegal in most, if not all, states. You might have seen or read some of those comments in negative reviews you've read. So, my take is that if you go for this route, do it at your own risk.

    BTW, I know how you feel when you say "the low-beam headlights are just so unnervingly dim". The halogen lamp seems to be not even lit on dark road with no street light and no other cars around especially on wet or rainy night. I have been driving PRIME for the last 2.5 years. It came with OEM quad LED head light. Yeah, it is fantastic. Now I got so use to driving with blight LED head light, I can't drive any other car with halogen headlight at night in our dark country side roads. Oh, yes, my eyes are not as good as when I was younger, so I try to avoid night driving as much as I can manage.
     
    #10 Salamander_King, Jan 23, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  11. mwynne

    mwynne New Member

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    Ended up ordering a set of Philips X-tremeVision halogens.
    If the lifespan is frustratingly short or something I'll give something else a shot on the next go around - for $50 I think it's worth seeing how they work out.

    I appreciate all the information! And not gonna lie, also thinking about what else I can adjust to make things a bit nicer in the car...
     
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  12. Offline

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    The problem with the Prius v halogen headlights has nothing to do with bulb brightness. The problem is poorly designed optics in the headlight unit.

    Most aftermarket bulbs that are advertised to be "brighter" have a higher Kelvin (color) rating but no higher output. Higher output can be achieved by using bulbs with higher wattage but vehicle wiring and headlight units often can't handle the additional power draw and higher heat.

    As said previously in this thread, the low beams use an H11 bulb which emits 1,350 Lumens at 55 watts.

    A substitute bulb that has been found to often provide a modest improvement without stressing vehicle wiring or headlight units or increasing glare for oncoming drivers is the H9 which emits 2,100 Lumens at 65 watts.

    There are numerous websites and YouTube videos that show how to modify H9 bulbs so that they fit in headlight housings designed for H11 bulbs. If you do the conversion, get standard brand name H9 bulbs. Stay away from aftermarket "super white" and "cool blue" bulbs like Silverstars which won't last long. Phillips standard H9 bulbs are less than $7 each on Amazon Prime.

    Some of the websites and videos don't mention the importance of not touching glass bulb globes with bare hands. Body oil on globes shortens bulb life dramatically. If you touch the glass while modifying a bulb base, clean the glass with denatured alcohol before installing it.
     
  13. mwynne

    mwynne New Member

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    Thanks! If I don't get the results I want with these H11 bulbs I may give that a try next.
     
  14. LightCenterLength

    LightCenterLength New Member

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    What exactly is "poorly designed" about the optics? Specifics are appreciated.

    Kelvin has nothing to do with brightness.

    The Sylvania Silverstars are indeed trash. But there are better H11s out there. tAgFIAI.jpg View attachment 186929

    SM-G973U ?
     
  15. Offline

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    I have no idea how Toyota engineers screwed up the design of the Prius v halogen headlight units so badly that they could only achieve the lowest "Poor" rating from the IIHS. The IIHS ratings of many vehicle headlights have clearly confirmed what has long been known - that the light source (halogen, HID, LED) has nothing to do with how well headlights perform and that it is possible to design both excellent and poor performing headlights that use the same light source.

    Yes, Kelvin is about color. The problem is that the human eye seems to interpret higher Kelvin lights as being brighter even though they produce less light which is why "seat of the pants" comparisons are futile. A good example are HID bulbs. Mainstream manufactures produce HID bulbs that are usually rated at about 4100K which is sort of the sweet spot in terms of color and volume. Aftermarket bulbs that produce from 5000K to 10000K are often advertised as being higher performance when they actually produce less and less usable light as one progresses of the "K" scale.

    I agree that there are some H11 bulbs that can provide a modest improvement in headlights with well engineered optics without having an extremely short lifespan. One is the Sylvania Xtravision. The problem remains that more light from bulbs isn't going to help when the headlight units are not efficiently projecting the light.
     
  16. LightCenterLength

    LightCenterLength New Member

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    This is a common misinterpretation of the data. Below is complete data from the IIHS, obtained from the backend of their website geared toward industry specialists.

    The lamps on the tested vehicle were aimed much too far downward, with one lamp aimed 0.54° degrees below the horizontal. These are VOR (visual optical right) lamps so they should be aimed at 0.00°, or with the right portion of the cutoff resting on the horizontal axis with respect to the optical center of the headlamp. These lamps were checked with the aid of a laser-based headlamp alignment machine.

    upload_2020-2-22_19-38-20.png


    The level is misaim here--0.40° and 0.54°--is truly severe. It's among the worst of all the sample vehicles. This level of negative downward aim severely limits the range of the headlamps--hence the "Poor" rating. The poor rating, in this particular case, speaks little to nothing about the headlamp itself. It speaks volumes, however, to the importance of having headlamps aimed properly. The IIHS has itself said that many headlamps could have done better had they been aimed properly, and an independent study similarly stated that had all the headlamps been aimed properly, approximately half of the tested headlamps would be rated acceptable or good.

    upload_2020-2-22_19-41-14.png



    I think what you're trying to say is: At night, our mesopic vision system is the dominant visual system (as opposed to scopic or photopic). The spectral luminous efficiency function for mesopic vision has a peak around the wavelengths we call "blue." In other words, our eyes are very sensitive to the wavelengths we call "blue" and more sensitive to the light from HID or LED headlamps, since those have a large blue component.
     

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  17. LightCenterLength

    LightCenterLength New Member

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    I don't know who told you those bulbs were "DOT compliant" but that is a bald-faced lie. Those Sealight units are not, by any stretch of the mind, DOT compliant. It is not DOT compliant in either a technical sense or in a functional sense.

    Here are some actual results of a Sealight LED tested in a Honda Accord projector.

    The bulbs were all tested for how much light they project at 4 points:

    • 0.5U, 1.5L, or 0.5° degrees above the horizontal and 1.5° degrees left. Measures how much glare oncoming traffic sees. No issues here after the Sealights were aimed downward by 0.15° degrees. Without the -0.15° degree aim adjustment, the Sealights created excessive glare.
    • 0.86D, V. Think of this as 50 meters straight ahead, down the center of your lane.
    • 0.6D, 1.3R. Think of this as 75 meters down the right side of your lane.
    • 1.5D, 2R. Think of this as 50 meters down on the right shoulder of the road.
    Obviously, more light (taller bar) at every point except the glare point (0.5U, 1.5L) is better in the chart below.

    upload_2020-2-22_20-0-46.png

    upload_2020-2-22_20-1-39.png
     

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    #17 LightCenterLength, Feb 22, 2020 at 7:59 PM
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020 at 8:04 PM
  18. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I bought some Sealights that were represented as DOT compliant. Says so right on the heatsink.

    My understanding is that DOT compliance is a matter of self-certification; there isn't something like UL doing the testing and awarding the certification. So it could be a bald-faced lie. I'd like to think there are consequences eventually if a manufacturer self-certifies and is knowingly bald-faced-lying though.
     
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  19. LightCenterLength

    LightCenterLength New Member

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    There used to be consequences about 20 years ago, when everyone and their mother was enamored by HID kits.

    The printing of "DOT compliant" is nothing more than a ruse to fool gullible consumers and that one in a million cop who pulls you over and demands to see the "DOT" stamp on your lamps.

    It used to be "DOT approved" that got slapped on every lamp, regardless of it's legality, but the more informed quickly figured out that DOT approved is a meaningless statement: you are correct, it is a self-certification process. The DOT does not approve stuff, even if you send it to them and ask nicely for their approval.

    Nowadays, replace "HID kit" with "LED kit." LEDs are the cool thing to add to cars now. LEDs have supplanted fuzzy dice and HID kits but are no more worthy. NHTSA largely stopped enforcement action about 20 years ago, due to a lack of resources and the fact that enforcement is like playing whack-a-mole: shut down one "company," and another one pops up the never week. These "companies" such as "Hikari" and "Sealight" and "Cougarmotor" are little more than a person or two importing and rebranding stuff.
    View attachment 186963
     
  20. Offline

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    What is your point? Whether its a matter of poor design, improper aiming specifications or improper installation during vehicle assembly, the Prius v halogen headlights still fall far short of acceptability.
     
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