New Owner of a 2015. Headlight Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Prius v Main Forum' started by spammy, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. spammy

    spammy New Member

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    We just picked up a well taken care of 2015 Prius V Four model. I haven't driven it much, but my wife said the headlights looked "low". I was thinking they needed to be aligned, but after reading here it seems that headlights are a problem on 2015 Prius V Four models.

    The standard halogen headlights on the 2015-up Prius v are rated "Poor" by the Institute for Highway Safety. "Poor" usually means really bad. Also surprised these don't have DRLs.

    I read that LED upgrades are not worth it. The Japan headlights look cool, but run about $1k. Silvia headlights burn quickly.

    What is the best way to quickly get a little more light out of these headlights? I'm willing to spend maybe up to $300 for good lights.

    Any other notable upgrades? I'm just thinking weathertech or I saw one more brand floor mats here. Might add some window shades for the kids.
     
  2. Offline

    Offline Active Member

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    I find it disturbing that Toyota and other car makers continue to knowingly sell vehicles with unsafe headlights but they keep on doing it. I thought the 2019 RAV4 might be a candidate for replacing my wife's 2012 Prius v until I saw that the two versions of its headlights tested by the IIHS received "Poor" and "Marginal" ratings.

    I don't think there is anything you can do to improve your Prius v Four headlights. Automotive lighting has been a primary interest of mine since the 1960's. The headlight problem in your Prius is due to the poor optics. There are no magic, different bulbs that will fix the problem. The only solution I ever found to work has been replacing entire headlight units with better ones - sometimes sourced from from other countries. In theory you could replace your headlights with the bi-LED headlights from the Prius v Five but doing that is very far from plug-and-play.

    Maybe the best you can do is to chalk it up to a learning experience, be especially careful when driving your Prius at night and to check the IIHS headlight ratings before your next vehicle purchase. I for one will never buy another vehicle that hasn't received a favorable and preferably the highest headlight rating from the IIHS. I've learned not to accept rental vehicles without checking its IIHS headlight ratings first. I made the mistake of accepting a Kia Sedona van rental in January without checking its IIHS headlight rating and seeing that its headlights were rated Poor ... I could barely see to drive in heavy Seattle rain at night. When I took the Kia back to exchange it for a vehicle with better headlights, the rental company employee offered me many replacement vehicles with Poor and Marginal headlight ratings before one came up (2019 Toyota Camry) that had an "Acceptable" IIHS headlight rating.
     
    #2 Offline, Jul 1, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  3. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    PIAA replacement bulbs seem to have better life than silver star.
    Try a google search for: "What is the brightest h11 headlight bulb?"
    (Even if yours aren't H11 this should lead you to the right places.)
     
  4. Offline

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  5. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member

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  6. Air_Boss

    Air_Boss Senior Member

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    I realize it's too late in the game but the LED low beam lamps standard on on the 2012 v Five are superb. And contrary to reports, replacing the high beams with high quality LED modules worked well, to the point that it is no longer possible to out-drive the lights at highway speeds, at night.
     
  7. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    Both the 2019 Rav4's headlights rated by IIHS do not have the adaptive headlights. I'll be driving mine at night on Monday so I'll be able to comment then. The adaptive feature is said to directly address the to the side issues noted in the two versions IIHS rated.
     
  8. Offline

    Offline Active Member

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    We're going to wait for the IIHS to evaluate the RAV4 adaptive headlights before considering buying a RAV4 Hybrid Limited. I don't trust a "seat of the pants" evaluation of headlights - even my own. I'm a scientist and want statistical data from repeatable tests. My wife continues to really like her 2012 Prius v Five/ATP but I want her to have more safety features besides just improved crash survivability - the better PCS, all-speed cruise control, lane keeping, auto high beam and rain sensing wipers. I particularly want the memory power driver seat for the rare times I drive her car as I'm unable to get comfortable in her Prius. Her 2012 Prius v could probably last the rest of her life if we wanted it to and it didn't get crashed. It has just over 40K miles on it now and is driven only around 2K miles/year since she retired in 2016. At this rate, it theoretically wouldn't reach 80K miles until after 2038 in which she would be 90!

    I simply don't understand why all the vehicles Toyota produces can't be engineered to have excellent headlights. Putting good headlights on only the most expensive versions of models seems like a Darwinian approach. Don't have enough money to buy an expensive car with decent headlights? Off with your head.
     
  9. Air_Boss

    Air_Boss Senior Member

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    OTOH, I have experienced supposedly ‘better’ lighting that was far inferior to systems ‘experts’ pan. There is a lot of subjectivity in ‘best’ from any individual’s perspective.

    We all drive using and emphasizing different cues. This is one thing that contributes to making autonomous so difficult — trusting it to work as someone else intended.
     
  10. Offline

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    "
    Which is why the IIHS headlight test methodology is so useful it's based on measurements using light sensors. I suppose subjectivity and judgement is involved in establishing what scientifically derived results constitutes the Poor, Marginal, Acceptable and Good categories. Maybe it would be helpful if the IIHS provided more information on where on the scale a vehicle fell, e.g. if a vehicle fell in the Poor category range, was it a "low Poor", a "medium Poor", or a "high Poor" that just fell short of earning a Marginal rating.

    As I think I mentioned in a previous post in this thread, I've learned the importance of checking the IIHS headlight ratings before accepting a rental car. For example, I accepted the rental Kia Sedona I mentioned after declining a Chrysler minivan that I knew had headlights that had a "Poor" IIHS rating thinking that the Kia's headlights couldn't be as bad - but they awful and I later found that they also had a "Poor" IIHS rating. I'm more concerned these days with the vehicles I rent than the ones I buy. When we buy a vehicle, I have time to check out all aspects of it including headlight performance but sometimes choices are few when we arrive at a destination and are standing at a car rental agency counter.

    I'm thrilled with what the IIHS is doing to hold auto makers accountable.
     
  11. Air_Boss

    Air_Boss Senior Member

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    My point is the IIHS light sensor-based judgment, while objective for what it is, may not match an individual's preferences, possibly due to IIHS' sensor placement and/or sensitivity.

    Go to a night race some time and see how differently drivers prefer to aim their headlights and driving lights. It's not so much the intensity as the aim.
     
  12. Offline

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    Racers are going the same direction and don't have to be concerned about their forward facing lights blinding oncoming drivers. Headlights on vehicles driven on public roads have to be a balance between providing adequate lighting for the driver while not blinding oncoming drivers. Mix in manual, automatic and sometimes dynamic beam leveling and steerable headlights and you get headlights that no longer can be adjusted by a vehicle owner.

    It will get even more interesting in a year or two when adaptive headlights with beam masking start showing up on U.S. market vehicles. These headlights allow driving with high beams essentially always on with sensors that cause portions of the beam to dim to keep from blinding oncoming drivers. In some systems, there are no longer separate high and low beam units - only large arrays of LED's or lasers After being in lockstep with U.S. headlight regulations for many decades, Canada approved beam masking last year and will allow all headlights of this type that are approved for use in Europe.

    Here's a YouTube video about the beam array headlights that Toyota has implemented in some non-U.S. markets:


    And a NY Times article about this technology: Smart Headlights Inch Closer to American Roads - The New York Times
     
  13. Air_Boss

    Air_Boss Senior Member

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    Great stuff. Remarkable we ever survived without it.

    Regarding night racing, some of the same issues prevail -- maximizing both straight ahead and peripheral acuity (picking out trackside objects delineating braking and apex marks, and mimicking steerable lamps), while trying not to blind corner workers and traffic ahead.
     
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    Edit on 8/1/2019: Hallelujah! The IIHS has tested the Adaptive Front Headlight System package available on the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid Limited and awarded it their highest "Good" rating. This is the vehicle we will buy for my wife to drive but will wait for the 2020 version to get Android Auto - assuming I can get her to turn loose of her Prius v. She just trashed her front bumper cover (again) so I think she is ready for a RAV4 with parking sensors and a Birdseye camera.
     
  15. ozjimjam

    ozjimjam Junior Member

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    hi , you mentioned "In theory you could replace your headlights with the bi-LED headlights from the Prius v Five but doing that is very far from plug-and-play."

    I understand the wirings/plugs is different between the halogen headlight and OEM led headlight , apart from modding the plug, what else is required to install a OEM LED headlight in a non-led headlight prius v ? thanks
     
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