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Replacing headlights with brighter non-LED ones?

Where I live we have no streetlights and the cops will ticket you for using your brights, but I see alot of cars that pass me using lights that are brighter than standard. Rather than going to all the time and expense of upgrading to LED lights, is it possible to just install higher wattage bulbs in the existing socket? If so what model # bulb should I buy for my 2011 honda accord SE?

You can look up the proper bulb to use but several of us here use the Sylvania Silver Star Ultra bulb. My Pontiac takes the H11 bulb and you just pop out the old one and put in the new ones, just like replacing a bulb. They are not cheap and are about $50 for two of them at Walmart. Plus they are only good for about 1000 hours which for me was about one year, but they are about the brightest of the white lights (not those idiot blue bulbs) you’ll get with standard bulbs. Still nothing like the daytime light you get with HID or LEDs but quite an improvement anyway.

There are about four different grades of the Sylvania bulb from regular halogen to the Ultra just to confuse people but the Ultra are the ones I use.

When my headlight went out on my Camry, I went to Walmart and with the same bulb number there was one option that was the brighter one. It was a bit expensive but not much ($40 for the pair). I bought it and actually just for giggles I first changed only the burnt one and compared it with the older one next to the garage door. The difference was impressive and I was actually miffed that I hadn’t done this earlier.

Should be #9005 for high beam & #9006 for low beam. Check your owners manual to be sure. Be aware that the brighter the bulb the shorter the life.

For HID lights is installation the same as halogen or do you have to retrofit them like you have to for LED?

HID lights are a whole different lighting system. That’s not what we were talking about with the Ultra Brights. HIDs require an expensive transformer to provide the 20,000 volts to arc the lights. LEDs are also a different type of lighting device.

The Sylvania bulbs have four different brightness bulbs available from halogen to the Ultra Bright. The all have the same plug in replacement bulb such as the H11 for all four or the 9006 (although I have no experience with that bulb). Whatever bulb your car takes-check the owners manual or the chart at Walmart, and buy the grade you want. Forget converting to HID or LED. Buy a new car instead.

Over and out. Take a trip to Walmart and take a look and all will be clear.

I’m assuming this is the bulb your talking about? Is that bulb for the regular headlights, the brights, or both?

I just use low beam. Very seldom can use high beam. But The Same Mountainbike is the lighting expert. He’ll prolly be around soon.

Rather than temporarily blinding other drivers by using brighter bulbs, will you please considering checking your headlight alignment and making sure they’re properly adjusted first?

There are several brands of hotter bulbs that compete with the Sylvania Silver Star Ultra. All of them put out only a little more light. The manufacturer claims of how much more light such lights produce are greatly exaggerated. If you pay four times as much for a bulb that lasts 1/4 as long, you are paying 16 times as much per hour of light. Is it worth it? Hard to say. I have been paying that premium for years, but I may be foolish…

With any incandescent bulb, whether conventional or halogen, a new bulb will always be brighter than an old bulb. If you replace only one bulb and compare it to the old one, it will always look brighter, regardless of what type of bulb it is. Folks often write good reviews on their new bulbs when all they are really comparing is new to old.

Be careful of LED headlights. They are plug-and-play except for possible problems with bulb failure warning systems on some cars. The pattern will not be as uniform as the pattern from halogen bulbs. More importantly, some of them are incredibly bright and I know of none that are DOT approved. If someone claims that an accident was caused by your headlight glare, and your lights are not legal, you are responsible.

HIDs are nice, but should be installed only with new projectors that are made for HID lights. HID projectors are available to fit many common cars, but they are not cheap, so that makes the conversion very expensive. HID bulbs are available that are made to fit in stock headlight reflectors with the light source in the proper location, but even those tend to have poor patterns and may have a tiny blinding point of light visible from the front. Also, read reviews because some of the cheap HID kits tend to turn off at random intervals. HID kits are available for as little as $30, but for good quality projectors and name brand HIDs and ballasts, and the circuit to make the kit play nice with your car’s bulb-out sensor, you can easily spend $1000 to convert your HID.

I’m one who does, and I’ve found that they really do make a huge difference. You can buy four or five different levels op Silver Star bulbs, the Ultras being the brightest.
Be aware that nothing is free… they’re a lot more expensive and have a shorter operating life. But to me it’s well worth it. They’re one heck of a lot less expensive than the accident they might prevent.

Your car is old enough that the headlights might have gotten a bit cloudy on the outside. If so, cleaning them with one of those headlight restoration kits will help a bit. I’ve used one from Meguiar’s in the past that’s worked well.

I looked into using LED headlights a few years ago and installation seemed more complicated, but LED’s have come a long way since then. Do they have LED headlights you can just plug into the existing socket now for easy installation?

They might, but I wouldn’t use them. LED bulbs really require a complete redesign of the housing to correctly focus the light.

The low beams on my 2011 are so bad you have to light a match to see if they are on. Consumer Reports noted a sharp low beam cutoff point on many cars they tested about the time my 2011 Sienna was built. Our 2003 4RUNNER has much better low beams. I had much better headlights on my earlier cars that had sealed beam units.

Sylvania Ultras are cheaper on Amazon, $35 a pair.

Even with modern LED’s?

watch it !
When you start upping the wattage . . you start melting wires.

@matt357 - Yes, the configuration of the non-OEM LEDs is almost certainly different than the configuration of the tungsten element in the original light bulb.

Let me clarify my original post. Each headlamp assembly has two bulbs for a total of four bulbs. For the high beams you’ll need two 9005 (five) and for the low beam you’ll need two 9006 (six) bulbs.