How to Convert Your Headlight Bulbs to LED

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Introduction: How to Convert Your Headlight Bulbs to LED

About: I've been into cars and bikes since I was a kid. Not sure if I like getting my hands dirty, but I always seem to be doing it

All vehicles fitted with halogen headlight bulbs from the factory are suitable for LED conversion.

The main advantage is a massive increase in road illumination and therefore improved safety when driving at night. The kit I used features CREE LED bulbs that have an output of 3,200 lumens. Typically, factory halogen bulbs have an output of just 1,000 lumens.

Step 1: Find Your Headlight Bulb Type

The easiest way to find your headlight bulb type is to search for it in the Sylvania online database.

The two possible results are as follows:

1) Single Beam Bulb - the high and low beams use two separate bulbs

2) Dual Beam Bulb - the high and low beams are combined in one bulb

If your vehicle is not listed on the Sylvania site you could try these other methods to find your bulb type:

  • Check your vehicle owner's manual
  • Contact the vehicle manufacturer via your local dealer
  • Remove a headlight bulb and read the bulb information

*Make note of your bulb type*

Step 2: Purchase an LED Conversion Kit

Now that you know your bulb type you need to purchase an LED headlight conversion kit. A variety of online stores sell these. The kit I used for this instructable is a CREE LED type that was purchased from MotorFiend.com for $119 including shipping.

Step 3: Unboxing Your LED Conversion Kit

Once you receive your LED headlight kit check that you have all the correct components. There should be two LED bulbs, two ballasts and wiring.

Step 4: Take Some Photos

Take some photos of your halogen headlights before you install the LED headlights, so you can compare the difference later

Step 5: Locate Your Headlight Bulbs

First ensure your vehicle is secured. Engine off, keys removed from ignition, parking brake on.

Pop the hood and locate your headlight bulbs

Unplug the plastic wiring connector from the bulb.

Tip: If you haven't ever replaced a headlight bulb the plastic clip might need some gentle assistance with a flat screw driver.

Step 6: Remove Your Halogen Bulbs

Depending on the bulb type you may need to remove a metal clip first, then you simply twist anti-clockwise and pull out the bulb

Tip: Store your halogen bulbs in a safe spot. You may want them in the future.

Step 7: Install the LED Bulbs

Install the LED bulbs into the headlight socket while being careful not to touch the LED with your bare fingers

Gently twist the bulb in a clockwise direction to secure it

Step 8: Connect the LED Ballast

Connect the LED ballast wiring. One end goes to the new bulb, the other to the original wiring harness.

Step 9: Check the Cut Off

Power up your headlights and check the position of the cut off.

You don't want to be blinding other drivers with you bright new lights, so you may need to adjust the position of the headlights. You can do this by adjusting the headlight alignment screws. Check your owner's manual for more information

Step 10: Secure the Ballasts

Secure the ballasts using either double sided tape or plastic zip ties

Tip: You want to keep the ballasts away from excessive heat, vibration and moisture. I mounted mine on the back of the headlight housing

Step 11: Test Drive

Time to test out your new LED Headlights!

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    29 Discussions

    0
    ChrisS925
    ChrisS925

    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    What are ballasts? I have A 2012 Kia optima EX (h11b) came with halogen....why is upgrading to led such a hassle
    I got 4 bulbs, low beams with plugs on them, high beams with wires.

    0
    danielmiller4454
    danielmiller4454

    Answer 7 months ago

    A ballast basically changed the voltage etc. if I am remember correct they are easy to install they plug in on one side where the old halogen plugged in and the other end to the led the ballast are there to prevent flickering of bulbs error codes on some cars among other things they sound complicated but are not literally just two plugs to protect the bulbs but led do burn out faster due to heat and other things so really if you want bright lights but the leds but expect to replace them more and spend a lot more money they are over priced for what they are you want ones that are high quality and ones that can cool at a faster rate than cheap led bulbs it’s worth it to spend money one good ones as you get the safety of more light and they last longer as well as some led bulb manufacturers offer anywhere from 1-3 year warranty if they burn out best to find a company with a warranty as for the ballast once you connect it you should not have to ever replace the ballast again

    0
    DenverFirefighter
    DenverFirefighter

    Reply 21 days ago

    Bro, I think you made some good points, but I can't say for certain because you didn't use a single punctuation mark. I'm not sure where your sentences end and where the new ones start.

    0
    GeoffF18
    GeoffF18

    2 years ago on Introduction

    As an EET & LED Consultant for years, I have to warn you to be sure that the LED bulb replacement is DOT certified. Many LED bulb conversion kits and even LED Fixtures for buildings found on AMAZON & EBAY are not certified for the North America marketplace. If you are in a car accident resulting in a person(s) being injured, the injury lawyers are now checking to see if aftermarket LED bulbs were installed on the cars and if they were DOT CERTIFIED. If they are not properly certified, then you are screwed financially. The injured party will properly win a substantial amount of money, your car insurance will properly drop you because you didn't use a DOT approved product leaving you to dispose of your assets to pay your legal bills and settlement to the injured party. The news gets worst because your family will be either living with you parents, under a bridge or divorce all for a LED bulb. The good news is you may be able to sue the retail store or AMAZON/EBAY....no, you won't because you won't have any money....you will be broke.

    0
    ChrisS925
    ChrisS925

    Reply 1 year ago

    The ones I bought are certified and below max lumens.

    0
    DenverFirefighter
    DenverFirefighter

    Reply 21 days ago

    Wait. Are they certified or compliant? lol.

    0
    johnny_54321
    johnny_54321

    Reply 10 months ago

    As an LED consultant you should know that DOT (US Dept of Transportation) does not certify, it only issues requirements that automotive manufacturers need to follow and when they do, their products are certified as "DOT COMPLIANT". Certification, if any, is claimed by the manufacturer.
    That error makes me wonder about the rest of your post.

    0
    ChrisS925
    ChrisS925

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks

    0
    Mrcutfolks
    Mrcutfolks

    Question 7 weeks ago

    I have 2009 BMW 328xi and I just bought the Lux Angel Eyes and I wanna concert my bulbs from Halogen to LEDs to match the Angel Eyes Halos. I’m having trouble figuring out if I need to get 2 High Beam and 2 Low Beam or the Dual High/Low beam? I do have daytime running lamps so I’m not sure what ones I need? Anyone know or can recommend a certain Brand?

    8BF57370-D1F3-43C9-9881-5CC7D0912DD0.jpeg441A086A-A66B-4048-A8AD-A5FF96FBC188.jpeg
    0
    vinz3nt
    vinz3nt

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I never imagined that the development of LEDs would go that fast! Great instructable.

    How are the LEDs doing on the road? Can you post some images of that maybe??

    0
    danielmiller4454
    danielmiller4454

    Reply 7 months ago

    Some states you can’t convert to lED and you do usually from my experience and people I know have to replace LEDS a lot more often the produce a lot of heat fans can fail you can run one with no ballast and have issues best to consult local laws office or somthing as well as talk to mechanic about what to use and how to go about it or have one do it for you sure you got labor cost but atleast it will get done better than someone’s first time trying it lol but led is nice for when it’s real dark and hard too see but expect to replace them a lot more often and to have to pay a lot more for them

    1
    auto_lights
    auto_lights

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Vinz, here's some before and after photos. I probably should have included these in the instructable. Both shots are taken with the high beam on - hence the reason you can see the reflective sign glowing in the distance. The 'before' shot shows very little illumination near to the vehicle (from the low beam halogen bulbs). In the 'after' shot you can see a massive difference in the area lit up by the low beam. There was a little fog around, so not ideal conditions for photography, but you can see how much better the LED lights are. They have a very slight blue tone at 5,000 kelvin color temperature.

    BEFORE-PIC.jpgAFTER-PIC.jpg
    0
    SunilP16
    SunilP16

    2 years ago

    I am planning to change the LED headlight instead of halogen bulb. But I am confused coz I read somewhere that using aftermarket LED bulb is illegal in some states. is that right? I even don't know what is the law in my state (Michigan). Can somebody advice. Appreciate your help.

    0
    danielmiller4454
    danielmiller4454

    Reply 7 months ago

    Best to call your local BMV but yes some states it’s illegal to do they consider it modification just like a lot of states you can’t have smoked head light lenses or different colored lights other than a white light or yellow light if you are using halogens check with bmv or someone in your state who can answer that for you I wouldn’t rely on someone Telling you it’s ok in your state and then you end up getting pulled over and getting a ticket best to ask someone who works for the state and knows those laws for a fact

    0
    MelvinA16
    MelvinA16

    Question 1 year ago on Step 1

    Hi there. I just bought an H7 led bulb... Is it normal on the metal covering the fan to become too hot just after few seconds the bulb was switch on? Also do I need to put back the plastic cover?

    P_20190216_191327_vHDR_Auto-800x450.jpgP_20190216_191527_vHDR_Auto-800x450.jpg
    0
    Hoorain30
    Hoorain30

    3 years ago

    Hi I have Peugeot 107 and my car headlights light is to low can I change them led would be good for visibility on road at night specially on moterway

    0
    ChrisS925
    ChrisS925

    Reply 1 year ago

    This must be worldwide because I don't know what a to show 107 is because I live in America or the United States. What if your car is old and your lenses are also all Haze Dover you need to clean those up with products like Wipe New. So fix the outside lens first then put new bulbs in it because converting an old car to new LED standards is difficult and will stick out like a sore thumb to the police who may pull you over for having the wrong amount of output on your headlights I don't know where you live or if the 107 is a newer Peugeot but if it came with halogens you're going to still have to get a can bus system too fool your car's electrical system into thinking it's still has halogens and specifically the draw halogens have on your alternator it will show as a head light burned out on your dash forever if you don't put them in right I don't mean forever as in you know forever forever just as long as you have the LEDs in incorrectly on your dashboard it will say you have a headlight out because they do not pull as much amperage and ohms as halogens

    0
    PeteC40
    PeteC40

    Reply 3 years ago

    If you have halogen light LED lights will make a big difference. However they are expensive. Another option would be to get an HID light kit. You can find HID kits for under $40.00. LED should not cost more than HID as they are less complex.

    0
    ChrisS925
    ChrisS925

    1 year ago

    I hope the kid I bought is just as good they have Korean standard Electronics inside and they're just made in China but they are designed in Korea with the part that fails which is the LED that is made in Korea because it's a specialty type thing and you don't want your new LEDs failing after all the work it takes to install them I recommend a shop that will just do it and take care of it hell it's the middle of summer here in 2018 and there's no way I'm going to go out in a hundred and two degree heat and 100% humidity here in August and turn screws I just can't stand it and I really respect mechanics who do it everyday

    0
    awalton31
    awalton31

    4 years ago

    are there any types of 9012 led replacements that don't require drilling out the dust cover on a 2013 ram projector lights?