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Registered 2012 SLK350
97 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thought that I would post my experience of trying to replace my halogen headlight bulbs with LED ones.

This is something that had worked very well on a Fiesta (also with projector type headlights), giving a brighter & whiter main (dipped) beam whilst still having a very good cut-off so it didn't dazzle anyone.

The LED lamps were relatively straightforward to fit, by turning the front wheels as appropriate, removing the panel in the wheel well and twisting off the cover at the back of the headlight unit. The LED lamps fitted fine behind the cover (I deliberately got ones that had a smaller fan unit on the back than most that were available on the market, but there is a reasonable amount of room available anyway).

WORD OF WARNING, be careful that the flimsy wire clip that locates the bulb does not come off the back of the headlight unit as it is a pig to re-fit if it is not lost in the back of the headlight unit itself! This is the thing that took the time, not the act of replacing the bulbs themselves. I ended up jacking up the car to get better access to sort the clip out.

The reason that the clip came off was that I was trying to get the LED bulb to locate securely, and ended up pushing the wire clip too hard and it popped off. The construction of the LED bulb is in aluminium and the part that locates into the headlight unit was thicker that the original (steel?) of the halogen bulb, and it did not fit as well in the headlight unit. Also note that you can rotate the LED lamps to orient them correctly, as they do not produce light through the full 360 degrees like a halogen bulb; more vertical or horizontal.

Anyway, both LED lamps fitted, and initially all was good with a nice white light compared to the 'yellow' of the halogen bulbs. The lights also still had a good cut-off. Then I got bulb warning errors … even though in all of the reviews that I read this did not appear to be a problem on other cars that have detection of bulb failures.

I then took the car out for a drive at night, and the beam pattern in front of the car was very patchy, bright in some areas and dim in others. Biggest problem was the lack of throw of light onto the side of the kerb making it difficult to place the car on the road. I have a attached a photo the LED lamps and the halogen ones to try to illustrate this (they are not the best as they do not show the light in front of the car, but show the patchy nature of the beam pattern). LED lamps in the first picture, halogens in the second.



Anyway, long story short, the LED lamps came out and I now have a set of Philips X-treme Vision halogens fitted which are definitely an improvement over standard, but still have a reasonably long life compared to some of the other brighter halogen bulbs on the market.
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