Low Beams too dim

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Aug 6, 2013
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Either my lightbulbs suck or my headlights need to be adjusted. My high beams are great but I can't drive with those on with traffic around here. The low beams are incredibly dim. I kept veering out of my lane tonight because I couldn't see far enough ahead! This is a 2006 toyota corolla. Do you think the low beams just need to be adjusted up? or should I get some better bulbs?
 
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Do a voltage check at the back of the bulbs for both low and high beams. I think you have a wiring issue. Also could have flaky reflective stuff, selectively clouded lenses, off center filaments. You have halogen bulbs which should be as bright as they were new, until they conk out.
 

BrandonVA

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i doubt it's a wiring issue considering the condition of the car. but i will check. is there away to adjust the lights?
 
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Sure you can adjust them. What happens when you face a garage door up close? The light has to be going somewhere if you think it's mis-aimed. When you do the voltage check, back probe with the bulbs still in place, so they'll draw current and show problems.
 
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Polish the headlights and then install Philips 9012 from amazon. Some trimming is required, but should help with the brightness.
 
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Huge Huge Huge improvement going to the HIR2/9012 bulbs from Philips in our Olds Aurora (originally 9006 low beams). Much better, not even comparable than any other solution I tried including Philips XtremeVision as well as upgrading the bulb grounds. Be sure your lenses are clear, also.
 
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Probably the combination of a foggy lense with the aged bulb. I also would recommend the upgrade to the Phillips 9012 from Amazon. I am getting ready to do the mod myself. If you don't have low beam protection on the headlight assembly, i would try a different bulb like a Sylvania Xtravision and see if it helps.
 
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I just bought these for my 07 corolla:http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0080DLA9E/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?keywords=9012&pc_redir=1413949499&qid=1413949494&ref_=sr_ph&sr=1 They are phillips made in germany 9012's. Im very happy with them. Stock was terrible. I also sanded, compounded and polished the lenses. I gave up using the xtravision etc..they die too fast. You need to cut the tabs to fit but it was no trouble at all. Search wagner 9012LL on amazon.
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
You have halogen bulbs which should be as bright as they were new, until they conk out.
Not true at all! Halogen encourages the tungsten vapor to re-condense onto the tungsten filament instead of condensing on and coating the glass; which both extends the life of the filament and reduces the dimming due to age... After many hours and many on/off cycles halogen bulbs are nowhere near as bright as the first day they are installed (though they retain much more brightness than an equally used sealed beam).
Originally Posted By: Sylvania Website
...By providing up to 50% greater brightness*...Because headlights dim over time, by as much as 20%... *Compared to worn standard halogen
According to Sylvania's published specs their "Standard" 9006 bulb outputs 1,000 lumens and has a 1,000 hour lifespan. Their "50% brighter" bulb referenced above outputs 1,000 lumens and has a 300 hour lifespan. I quickly searched for 912 lumens and found Phillips 912 bulbs are rated at 1,875 lumens and 1,000 hour lifespan. Probably illegal, and potentially dangerous for oncoming traffic. I say if the lenses and reflectors aren't clouded or otherwise damaged throw in a pair of new standard bulbs. I can almost guarantee you will notice they are brighter.
 
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Originally Posted By: linksep
Originally Posted By: eljefino
You have halogen bulbs which should be as bright as they were new, until they conk out.
Not true at all! Halogen encourages the tungsten vapor to re-condense onto the tungsten filament instead of condensing on and coating the glass; which both extends the life of the filament and reduces the dimming due to age... After many hours and many on/off cycles halogen bulbs are nowhere near as bright as the first day they are installed (though they retain much more brightness than an equally used sealed beam).
Originally Posted By: Sylvania Website
...By providing up to 50% greater brightness*...Because headlights dim over time, by as much as 20%... *Compared to worn standard halogen
According to Sylvania's published specs their "Standard" 9006 bulb outputs 1,000 lumens and has a 1,000 hour lifespan. Their "50% brighter" bulb referenced above outputs 1,000 lumens and has a 300 hour lifespan. I quickly searched for 912 lumens and found Phillips 912 bulbs are rated at 1,875 lumens and 1,000 hour lifespan. Probably illegal, and potentially dangerous for oncoming traffic. I say if the lenses and reflectors aren't clouded or otherwise damaged throw in a pair of new standard bulbs. I can almost guarantee you will notice they are brighter.
I agree to the first part but not the second. They are not illegal and are not blinding at all. They are much brighter and on corollas the reflectors keep the light aimed lower towards the road. I have driven with them for some time now and can tell you with 100% certainty that they are not bright enough to blind oncoming drivers.
 

JHZR2

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I know the horn on my friend's vibe was wired so poorly it couldn't maintain tone. The wiring is likely undersized.
 

BrandonVA

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Originally Posted By: buck91
Huge Huge Huge improvement going to the HIR2/9012 bulbs from Philips in our Olds Aurora (originally 9006 low beams). Much better, not even comparable than any other solution I tried including Philips XtremeVision as well as upgrading the bulb grounds. Be sure your lenses are clear, also.
any modifications needed?
 
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Headlight switch failure is common on these vehicles. They were originally equipped with Long Life bulbs. Like any bulbs, they lose brightness over time. If you are unlucky enough for them to live this long, they just need replacing. Other possibilities include: Bad DRL Relay/Module (If it has DRL) Bad headlight relay (swap relays around in fuse box and see if it helps) Bad ground That last one, bad ground, can affect just low's.
 

BrandonVA

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so i replaced them with nighthawk bulbs and they still suck! i even had them adjusted at the dealer today. in fact they were so bad i clipped a trashcan in the dark on the way home. my glass popped out of my mirror. i stopped to look for it but was in a rich private area in the woods (short cut gone wrong...thanks gps). some guy stopped in the dark and just idled next to me with his windows up the entire time I was there. I couldn't find it in the leaves so i just left. guy creeped me out. fortunately i ordered the new part for $19 on amazon. i'm going to try out the hir2 9012 bulbs. Do I need to file off a tab or something on the plug? have any pics?
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
Do a voltage check at the back of the bulbs for both low and high beams. I think you have a wiring issue.
Did you end up checking the voltage as suggested by eljefino? If you have a voltage drop before the bulb, then no replacement bulb will be bright enough.
 

BrandonVA

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no not yet, i'll look at it tomrrow evening. i have a multimeter. can you tell me how to check the voltage? Do i put the probes in the connector?
 
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Set the DMM to DC Voltage, measure the battery terminal voltage first. Should be around 12.4-12.6V for a healthy state of charge. Keep this number in mind, or write it down. Unplug one headlight bulb connector and leave the other headlight plugged in. Turn on headlight switch to low beams on. Connect black (COM) lead of DMM to battery negative. Using positive probe, gently probe the connector pins (don't shove it in!). Depending on your bulb, you will have 2 or 3 pins. One pin will show close to battery voltage, this the bulb hot wire. Record the voltage reading down. Switch off headlights. Set DMM to resistance measurement. Leave black (COM) lead on battery negative. Using positive probe, gently probe the remainder pin(s). One connector pin should show low resistance (ideally less than 10 ohms). This is your bulb ground, record this down. Repeat with other headlight. The idea is to have as your bulb hot voltage as close to battery voltage as possible, and the lowest resistance in your bulb ground back to the battery.
 
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I suggest running the engine to avoid having to account for dropping battery voltage under load. Also, you can check the voltage drop- negative meter lead on battery, positive on light (could be reversed- no harm if it is, all you will get is a negative value). You'll get a value like .2V or .5v. More than .5V and you have too much voltage drop. Do this for both the positive and negative wires. As an example- I had a customer come to me with an '84 Ford truck he bought for his boy. The lights were too dim for his liking, so he messed around with it and even bought some high fly lights- still too dim and didn't know what else to do. I checked voltage drop on the positive and found over a 1 volt drop (1.4v on the high beam)! Ground wasn't much better. So I wired in two relays off the battery and bypassed the headlight and dimmer switches, instead using them only for controlling the relays. Ran new 14ga wire with new grounds. The results? An amazing difference! Lights went from yellowish to nice crisp white. Customer was very happy. I quizzed him on it later and he said it was "At least 100% better".
 

mjk

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Wishin' I was in Wi
x2, what mod is needed to make these fit? Thanks.
Originally Posted By: BrandonVA
Originally Posted By: buck91
Huge Huge Huge improvement going to the HIR2/9012 bulbs from Philips in our Olds Aurora (originally 9006 low beams). Much better, not even comparable than any other solution I tried including Philips XtremeVision as well as upgrading the bulb grounds. Be sure your lenses are clear, also.
any modifications needed?
 
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