"Warmer" CCT LED Car Headlights

I remember reading a forum post saying no one will pay for warm white LED headlights. I just want to say, that I will pay more for warm CCT LED headlights. For a 30,000$ car, I’m willing to pay up to 1,000$ more to not have glaring cool white lights. I read of some discussions of “mod’ing” integrated assemblies with warmer emitters, but that isn’t possible as the precision required in the reflow is too tight for any casual enthusiast.

I understand that cars have a nearly 7 year development cycle, so I’m hoping that warmer color temperatures <3500K might be an option somewhere sometime in the near future. There is far too little choice in the electric vehicle market. I want an EV like the Tesla as my next car, but I don’t want nasty blue LED headlights. I can’t stand the blue light induced glare these lights cause me. I also dislike how they’re making our cities at night look. I hate it when I’m walking down a historic old town street lit in soft 2200K-2700K light, and this Acura coming over the hill burns my retinas in its ghoulish light. I don’t want to ruin city nightscapes or glare into others eyes.

This is the disgrace of Leds
Ordinary people hear the word LED automatically believe they are better than the $1 halogen bulbs on their current cars…and they are willing and happy to pay more $$ for a purplish and irritating light.
I risked fall off the road several times because some idiots on the opposite lane hold high these ice cold LED car lights that shines on my face.
Even worse when are installed orrible unknow DIY Led kit that have also flickering!
That’s the power of marketing and the regress…

Unfortunately many people with LED headlights don’t have a choice. They come standard on most new vehicles now and are seemingly only available in cool white. Worse still, the factory LED headlight assemblies are often sealed requiring the entire assembly to be replaced if the LED ever fails. I’d love to have some 3500K LED headlights but it seems that there’s just not enough demand at the moment.

It might get better though. There’s already a push for more natural CCT LED lighting. My city recently removed some of the nasty cool white streetlights they installed a few years ago and replaced them with something that looks closer to 4000K. It’s a start.

I want 1800K headlights :sunglasses:

I got a set of HIR2 9012 globes in 4300k tint it looks very similar to the tint of performance halogens i have seen them in 3000k tint. I think car headlight are very overlooked all together, how does a car company like Toyota think its okay to sell a car without secondary high beams?. The stock globes HIR2 globes barely do maybe 1300-1500 lumens each then loose more light through the projector and are single filament.

Allegedly these new automotive light assembles are constructed with self-leveling tech… which means they should never end up askew or purposefully modified to project higher. But it’s clear that some companies don’t even do sufficient glare testing. Certainly a more neutral white or even warm leaning LED array will help. Frankly, you should not only see better but have less eye fatigue.

But what really gets me are these add-ons. Doesn’t the NHTSA have regulations about this? I’ve seen some guys with their tall pickup trucks feature an LED bank in the front of their grilles or affixed to the top of their bumpers. This produces more like a wall of light, tons of glare. It should be off-road use only, but I see some trucks use them as a sole source of illumination—main headlights off. Police just don’t seem to enforce the laws governing this, at least in my area.

Exactly, for most cars you simply don’t have a choice. I’m surrounded by nice flashlights with boutique high CRI LEDs, while the most expensive item I own has cool white, low CRI headlamps. I could probably figure out a way to disassemble the units even though they’re sealed, but many LEDs designed for automotive projector housings only come in cool white (looking at you, Osram). And each unit costs $550 USD.

Same thing when you try to buy lights for heavy equipment. I run a logging skidder and work for 2 hours in the dark to start every day. Working on steep ground, you want all the light you can get. I’ve added a couple led lights to my machine recently but had to settle for 6500K. No local equipment dealers sell anything else. The cool lights work ok under ideal conditions but when it’s rainy, snowy or foggy, I hate them.

Most new cars (even the most expensive ) came with Cri 70 cool white :confounded: Leds
I don’t want spend a capital for a new car and have them.
Until the brands doesn’t change this situation, better buy a good used car with the old Halogen lamps.
They have also less electronics on board,mean are more reliable and less expensive to repair

I agree.

I think the lights on my newer Honda are probably about 6500K. On the plus side, the reds and browns are not completely washed out…perhaps they’re 80 CRI? I don’t know, as I don’t have a way to verify.

I can force myself to ignore the cool white when it’s just me, and I have the low beams on (the high beams are harsh enough that even the reflection of road signs is obnoxious), but whenever I crest a small rise when there is oncoming traffic in the other lane, I’m painfully aware of how the upper cutoff of my beams is high enough to be in the oncoming driver’s eyes.

I would like to try swapping better emitters into mine, but I don’t even know what LED’s are in them to know if I could find something compatible. One of the downsides of Honda is their mentality of designing for reliability seems to be approached with an attitude that this excuses them from designing for maintainability. I suspect I could spend the better part of a weekend just removing a headlight assembly, disassembling it to ID the emitters, and re-installing it in order to continue using the car while I order emitters.

So my next thought was to buy spare headlights to prepare ahead of time. But the list price for each headlight is over $1000!

FYI, the 7 year development cycle is for a complete redesign of a new generation. Manufacturers can change single parts much more quickly. I worked a few years in engineering for an industrial vehicle manufacturing, developing and conducting tests for individual components. I would say mid-generation replacement component qualification typically ranged from 6-18 months, depending on complexity, for design engineering, prototype fabrication, prototype testing (my part), sourcing contract, and release to manufacturing. If replacing a system comprising multiple components, it could be longer, but that shouldn’t be necessary here.

The catch is they have to want to change a part. If they don’t understand why anyone would want neutral or warm white and high CRI, they aren’t going to make the change.

I know my state specifies on-road lighting requirements in state law. It is not illegal to install auxiliary light bars, but it is definitely illegal in my state to use them on the road.

There’s a job where you’re surrounded by lots of brown (dirt, logs, slash), and probably a decent amount of yellow and red when the foliage is changing color. High CRI actually would help.

The Tesla Model S uses 65 CRI 6500K LEDs in its headlights. I wouldn’t even call them 70 CRI. It seems to be customary for lighting manufacturers to at least slightly over deliver on the CRI by at least a couple of points, probably to help with margins of error when measuring. The R9 is minus 19.

Tesla is interesting in my eyes. I believe they also made a mid-generational change from cool white to warm white for their interior lighting after complaints of how harsh the cool white lights were. They look a lot easier to my eyes. I like the warm atmosphere, but then you get to the exterior lights and it’s still harsh cool white. Maybe it’s one of those things that we need to experience on ourselves more? There were supposedly enough complaints and requests for warmer interior lighting that Tesla ,of all companies, moved to warm white mid-generation, almost like a roadmap towards warmer CCT LED. It makes me think of all the harsh cool white moving into car interior lighting to. I thought it was a neat years and years ago to have cool white interior lighting in a rental car, but now that novelty has worn off on me.

I also want to mention reversing lights. These are becoming more annoying with their attendant increase in color temperature and decreasing optic size.

This CCT (and to a much less extent CRI) is what keeps me from spending the money on LEDs for our trucks. Well, I eventually caved on the 2018 because the factory halogens are terrible- much worse than the 9008 in my 2011. I mean much worse. The ’11 isn’t so bad with good bulbs and my 12awg relay harness but its not amazing either. Ended up caving on the ’18 and stuck some LED bulbs in. They aren’t perfect but at least I can see now. Terrible tint, though.

Anybody know what emitters Morimoto uses and the CCT?

yes, I forgot say that these harsh junk LEDs are also inside the car compartment
as courtesy light,when turned on they are dangerous because distract driving more.
Are them usually sealed or easier to change than the headlights?
The old incandescent was perfect,soft diffuse light not too much bright.
and if compared on LED at same CCT, by eye you will notice that the light is more yellow and cold due to greater emission of Blue light and less presence of deep Reds

That’s one reason I like older cars with halogen lights. I’m not worried about efficiency of the light in a car, so give up 100 CRI? Not much luck finding warm white 9007 bulbs, but at least I can have neutral white, and the 100 CRI is big. If I were to add driving lights, which I should, since my last car was totaled in a caribou collision, I’d get Lightforce Striker halogens, which are 3300K.

I swapped all my interior lights with WW 194s, stacked 5050s. No idea of the CRI, but they’re a quite nice warm color, not piss-yellow or anything.

I swapped all the lights in the rear, but left the front lights as-is for now. Might replace the turn/markers after a while, but haven’t done so yet, as I need to parallel some resistance, just enough to keep it from thinking there’s a bulb out.

No way am I replacing the hotwire bulbs in the low/high slots. I don’t want to do without the dust-covers, and with a LED swap, you pretty much NEED to do that for the fans, heatsinks, braids, whatever.

Where’d you source your WW 194 LED’s? There’s so many sellers of these on eBay, many with low feedback ratings and questionable junk. Always appreciate knowing of a seller that delivers as promised.

Amazon, mainly, but a few odd ones from Fasttech. The usual stacked 5050s come in 5, 9, and 13 LEDs.

Goggled some orders, various on Amazon like uxcell, GRV-LED, Summer-Online, and autocarstore. Most of these are probably generic enough that they get binned in common, so it’s still a crapshoot, but hey…

I can’t stand ice blue light. On a couple of car forums I used to frequent, there were guys “showing off” their 6500k flooded cabins using LED 194 bulbs, with comparison shots of the “horrible old incan bulbs”! I was like yuck… on the LED’s. Such harsh lighting, not good on the eyes. I couldn’t find any company making neutral or even warm leaning LED 194’s, so I gave up. Last I’d looked was about 2 years ago. I’m pretty stoked to hear they’ve finally arrived. I wonder if they’re available in festoon format as well. Will check out.

For my old car’s dome-light, I made my own LED replacement out of perfboard and a bunch of 5mm LEDs.

Diffused cover, so it didn’t much matter that the LEDs were directional.

I ordered warm white 194s from here and they are pleasantly warm:


I also ordered a few different warm white festoons, but none were as warm or the right tint I was hoping for (kind of an ugly yellow/orange). Currently I have a warm white 48 SMD led panel with a festoon adapter in my dome light. Much brighter than any festoon, but it gets quite hot and the tint is not as nice as the 194s: