Should I replace frequent burning out H11 Halogens with LED?

I have HAD IT! My H11 Halogen headlights (regular beam) BOTH burned out 2 days apart. This is the 7th or 8th time I have replaced them since I bought this 12/2011 Prius.

The Sylvania replacements are rated for 150 hours, probably because of the problems the 2011 Prius has had with the regular beam headlights. – 55 Watts each

Sooo…today I noticed that there are these neat little LED headlamps with, of all things, a cooling fan built into the lamp socket. They are typically advertised for 30000 hours between burnouts…AND for some strange reason this appeals to me very much. – 40 Watts each

Here are my picks:

Toyota dealer says their is a fix in for faulty headlight harness and they will fix it for free. My problem with this is that the halogen lights at the parts stores are rated to last 150 hours, but the service agent at Toyota is trying to twist my arm to take this choice.

CHOICE 2 - order from Walmart:
“Krator LED H11 Headlight Conversion Bulbs 40W 4000LM Light Bulb Xtra Bright 6000K White with Built-In Turbo Cooling Fan for 2010-2011 Toyota Prius” about $20 dollars

Any experience with these choices? Is the second a safe bet? Any hidden gotchas in either of these choices?

Thanks, JS

Why would you even question that ( FREE ) if it does not work then you can try something else.


Gee, get a Toyota dealer to do a Toyota-approved fix at no charge, or pay for something unproven at WalMart…

You can do neither, or either, or both. If you choose both, which one to do first?

get harness fixed by Toyota, then stop buying SilveLIghts and go with something like ExtraVision

These are rated 450 hours or such, still better than “standard” or “long life”, the brightness is the same as SilveLight, but specter is not as shifted to bluish as in SilveLight.
If you are not concerned with brightness but with life time, go “long life” ones, they are rated around 1000 hrs.

Cheap LEDs will burn out earlier than you would be able to spell words “very fast”, plus they will get your beams out of the good focus and into the eyes of innocent motorists of the opposite road side.

Agree, forget going to LED unless your car came with it. I figure on replacing my xtra vision ones (or whatever they are called) about once a year at $50 a pop because I like to see at night. In fact I have new bulbs hanging on the wall waiting for one to burn out so I can replace them. They’re about two months behind schedule.

150 hour rated bulbs just aren’t going to last a long time. If you use them only 1 hour a day they’re expected to last barely 6 months. I’d be inclined to try out the LED version. That shouldn’t prevent you first getting the free harness fix from the dealership. who knows, the harness fix might make your currently non-working head start working. Before trying the LED, make sure they are compatible with the headlight system in your car of course.

In your case Toyota has offered to implement a fix to the problem for free. Why not try it? IMHO you’d be foolish not to.

I’ve used Silver Star lamps for years. Sylvania makes them in four or five different levels, the rated operating hours being up to (I think… relying on my memory now) 1,000 hours for “Standard” lamps. I use the “Silverstar Ultras” which are rated at much less, but have higher output. Check the Sylvania website for details. I consider the cost of a new pair of lamps once or twice a year as being dirt-cheap insurance against not seeing something that I would have otherwise wished I’d seen.

An added motivator for me is that I live in NH, where the days in the winter are short and I used to commute in darkness for half the year. Avoiding potholes all the while.

Would I switch to LEDs? Nope. But it’s a personal choice. I don’t like LEDs. I personally find their light to be harsh.

Sounds to me like a wiring harness problem combined with bulbs that have a short rated life to begin with…
The obvious choice for me is option 1. It’s free and may even improve bulb life.
My second choice for longer bulb life would be, drum roll please. Quit buying bulbs that have about the shortest rated life on the market. I mean really. You buy bulbs knowing the short rated life and then complain when they don’t last long.
The Wal-Mart cheapo LED’s would never ever be an option I would consider.

Yea, thanks for all the feedback. I’ve decided what I am going to do.

It turns out the conversion and the LED are integrated so they are easily swapped. It also turns out that the “Warranty Enhancement” is not a recall and is at Toyota’s discretion. I’m getting mixed messages, one saying they are out of stock and waiting for harness replacements which should fix some of the light bulb life problems, the other is saying that Toyota is currently exploring the problem and will be coming out some day soon with a better, free replacement harness.

So I made an appointment to get free new bulbs installed until the harness arrives, and got on the list to be contacted when they get the free harness replacement.

BUT I decided to buy the Conversion kit too which is to be shipped to me, and takes a while with the free shipping. That is only about 20 bucks and the LEDs would last about 200 times as long as the halogen bulbs.

So the LEDs

  1. use less power
  2. are brighter
  3. last much longer
  4. actually have a neat little build in cooling fan, which is good because since 2011 when I got the car, I have started using the headlights during the day when they will get hotter.

In any case, I can switch back and throw them away if for some reason they don’t work well…no problem since they don’t require any external modifications to the car.

Sounds like a good plan there JS, let us know how the LED’s work out.

Your headlight housings were designed to work with the light output pattern of halogen bulbs. Many LED conversions do not have this same pattern and therefore light is directed off the reflectors in undesired directions. So even though they may be brighter, you may actually have poorer illumination of the road and be blinding oncoming drivers. There is a reason that these conversion LEDs aren’t DOT certified.


I would be really interested to hear your feedback few months down the road on these LEDs with “turbo fans”.

First of all, I would never consider buying them for “regular headlight design”, as they will be sending glare all around, and, the worst part, into the eyes of ongoing motorists, I consider it to be not a friendly practice. Still, if your Prius seem to use projector style, it is OK then.

So, for my wife’s Mazda 3 with “projector” lights, I’ve bought similar units, for $29 off Amazon, rated for 1500 lumens a light and “30000 hrs life time” and having the best ratings in “under $40” category I could find there.

Number one: they were NOT brighter than “Long Life” bulbs rated at 950 lumens or such (recalling from my head).

They burned out in mere 3 moths, one by one. I filed “warranty” for the first burn out, did not even bother once second one failed in 2 weeks (warranty light form China arrived a week after I trashed all this nonsense).

Next step was to go Sylvania XtraVision. These are rated 1000 lumens, $23 a pair at Walmart.

I had a luxury comparing LED light with an old style halogen one, and comparison was clearly not into LED favor: it was way out of focus and less brightness on the ground. Obviously, LEDs went to trash and I’m not playing “retrofit game” anymore.

I wanted also to make a comment on the misconception of SilveLight bulbs being “brighter” than others. If one carefully examines specs on Standard/LongLife/XtraVision/SilverLight, they all have the same RATED wattage, but slightly different REAL wattage, but importantly, the higher two tiers have the same 1000 lumens output, the lower ones have it in 900-ish range. The difference between XtraVision and SilvelLights is in specter: the former one is more “yellowish” tint, the later one is “whitish”. Whitish one is good when the weather is good, yellowish one helps more in foggy/rainy weather, which I consider to be more important than impressing bystanders with a “white lights”, not to mention longer life, so in my personal set of priorities XtraVision is a better combination. It is not “absolute truth” here like “more light”, it is more about priorities and preferences.

UPDATE: wanted to second @NYBo note above on both points, he wrote one as I was typing mine :slight_smile:


The electric fans cause a lot of radio frequency noise which completely wipes out KQED FM radio which is where I used to listen to the CarTalk show. SO CLEARLY THEY DO NOT MEET FEDERAL RADIATION REGULATORY STANDARDS.

I got the LED lights in the mail, and installed one. And immediately decided to return them. Guess I am bound to suffer the shorter lifetimes of the bulbs. I looked at my history and found they had to be replaced every 6 months like clockwork. If I get the longer life bulbs maybe they will last a year and a half or so.

One factor that has clearly caused them to burn out faster is that I used my high beams during the day thinking that this would save the low beams, but have recently noticed that both the high and low beams being on when high beams are used so it means more heat, plus using them in warm weather most likely burns them out faster. So from now on I will use only low beams during the day…as it was, I think it was no coincidence that they both burned out right when we went through several unusually warm days recently.

I’m going to generate a report to this effect as soon as I can figure out the right agency to send the report to.

The light is OK, but not as bright as the halogen.

The light pattern is great, being spread a little because of the convolution of the shape of the elements where are small squares positioned well to match the element of the halogen, but this removes the hot spot in the middle of the field and makes other portions slightly brighter.

Think of how the poor moths felt.
Sorry. Couldn’t resist. :grin:

Check the bulb pricing at rockauto. I’ve never priced them for headlight bulbs, but for certain auto bulbs they are often considerably less expensive there. If you find a deal, you can buy three years worth at a time to minimize shipping costs. And you’ll always have a new one ready to go.

wanna the best spell-checker ever invented?.. write to this forum :slight_smile:

I was having a great deal of stress constantly changing out the H11 bulbs and connectors on my Mazda CX9. I occasionally changed out burned out fuses too. BUT, no more. I learned that the issue was poor connector design. The metal contacts in the connector was loose and wiggling which caused it to lose contact with the headlight metal contacts. This continuous jolt to the headlight bulb was causing either the bulb to burn out quickly, or the connector to melt, or the fuse to burn out. The Fix: I placed a small plastic object (almost any small object will work) between the wires where they entered the H11 connector and then taped the object in place. The object caused the wires to spread which in turn causes the contacts in the connector to stay forced against the headlight contacts. No more loss of contact between the connector and the bulb contacts, no more little flickering of electricity causing flickering headlights, burned out bulbs, burned out connectors, nor burned out fuses. I have been extremely happy ever since figuring out this tiny fix! I was almost at the point where I thought I needed to change out the entire headlight assembly when I figured out this simple fix. Note: If you take a good look at the contacts in the H11 connectors, you will see that the design is weak and the connectors can move around easily or fall back into the connector easily due to the cheap plastic casing. Hope this saves you the headaches it has saved me. (I used a Tylenol pill in the pic to demonstrate how to place a “small” object between the wires.)


I can’t figure out how this bounced to the top of my list–despite the fact that the thread is more than 2 years old–but anyone who is new to this forum should be aware that thegreendrag0n was responding to a person who is now deceased.

May my friend, Mountainbike, rest in peace.

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I think this is another case of someone reviving an old thread with SPAM and our esteemed Moderator removed said Spam.


Very likely.