One of my chief complaints about car manufacturers (with the exception of really expensive cars) is lousy lights. The plastic headlight lens fogging problem you see everywhere aside, the deficient of candlepower is really the biggest culprit. I’ve always replaced the bulbs with far more powerful ones … you’re less likely to hit something if you can see it. With new tech comes more options and that has come to headlights. The older halogen bulbs are going away as high-powered LED’s replace them. That means the “yellowness” of said bulbs are going away as well. The newer bulbs are more like natural daylight, which means better definition and thus, improved safety. My daily driver is an older car having headlights with so little output, that a couple tea candles in front would be an improvement. Driving at night with zero street lights had become a really iffy proposition. The first thing I did is replace the headlights themselves with an eBay purchase that was so cheap, it was shocking. I then put in the most powerful bulbs that they would accommodate without melting them. And it helped … but just a bit. I’d seen HID replacements for years but they’re expensive, run super hot and can require cutting the headlight cables and other rather unpleasant mods … so that was out. As a huge German car fan, I noticed that LED headlights are becoming the norm with the newer models. Like HID headlights when they first came out, were about a $1500 option. I did a little research & found eBay had aftermarket LED lights. So cheap, it defied logic … so a test was in order.    I ordered a couple of sets after specifying daylight temperatures (how color of lights are measured) around 65ooK. The first set was a cheap Chinese pair for less than 15 bucks. Literally it took five minutes to install … more on this later. At night, I hit the headlight switch and lo and behold … let there be light!!! For the first time I could actually see an improvement. Any brighter and they’d have to be illegal off-road lights. So, we have a super cheap fix for “driving while blind.”                              (with apologies to ZZ Top … if you know the song, this absolutely isn’t what they were talking about)

(Should want to try this, I needn’t warn you about careful aiming or you’ll fry the eyeballs of oncoming traffic.)











Now the flip side to this, is the pair I tried to put into a newer German car. Those cars very frequently have what is known as a CANBUS system that monitors everything in the car. So if you try to put in a pair of newer LED bulbs, either the computer will freak out or simply not allow the lights to work.     So … you’ve got to have a CANBUS adapter. German cars, being engineered to the nth degree, don’t make replacing bulbs a five minute fix. One of ours actually required taking off a wheel and pulling out the inner fender-well lining. Fortunately, I checked the bulbs before going to that extreme and found the CANBUS adapter didn’t work. Consider this story a caveat. When it works, it’s fantastic, and worth every penny and minute of your time to install. So paraphrasing President Reagan, trust, but verify before installing.


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