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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all!
This might be discussed to death on this forum but I can't really find a clear answer, but I am wanting to change the lights to LEDs on my car to brighten the output up. However, I have heard that isn't doable or at least not efficient cause it was intended for halogen bulbs because of the reflector housing and retrofit is ideal? Or does that only apply to the headlights? What are the pros and cons of just swapping out for LEDs on the headlights instead of doing a complete retrofit? I reached out to Diode Dynamics and they said they don't have a page for the 2021 models yet, but that the bulbs for 2020 will all work and are completely plug and play with the exception of the tail lights and turn signal that require a resistor modification to prevent hyperflashing? I also would like to replace the interior lights to LEDs as well and know they have some bulbs for that as well. I also saw this kit 2018-2021 Subaru XV Crosstrek | LED Interior Lighting Package but don't know how it compares or how good the lights are. Will any lighting changes affect certain aspects of the car such as lights turning on automatically when you walk up to it or even the position and aim of lights I hear is important...?

Obviously, I know nothing about anything. So. Any info, recommendations, or links would be greatly appreciated as I don't want to waste money, but I want to make an informed decision.

Help my ignorance, please!
 

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2022 Canadian Sport trim (6MT // 2.0 )
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Welcome!
You will get a lot of answers just by searching in the forum, as you can imagine, the topic is quite popular. The bottom line that replacing your headlamp bulbs with LEDs is deemed illegal, simply due to the fact that the emission surface area doesn't precisely match the location of the halogen filament, and as such the headlamps are prone to generating a lot of glare blinding the incoming traffic.

That having been said, there are LED bulbs and LED bulbs. Some are just a piece of manure, projecting light everywhere and burning in no time, in other cases a substantial engineering effort was made to make (you contacted the right company) them as good as possible to maintain the original light distribution. I haven't seen shots of the beam pattern of their SL1s LEDs in halogen casings though, so can't vouch for them. I've put them in fogs though, and the result is excellent.

Your other option is to get "better" halogen bulbs, while avoiding blue-tinted ones. The latter might be aesthetically pleasing, but any tinted filter reduces the number of lumens, so you lose. Another possibility is to get Philips 9011 for hi beams (replacing 9005) , and H9 for low beams (replacing H11).There, your gains will be noticeable: For lows, 9011 have 2300 lumens vs. 9005 with 1700 lumens, and for the high beam H9s are 65W / 2100 lumens instead of H11s (55W,1450 lumens). The downside is a reduced lifetime for the bulbs, and you need to pry a plastic tab inside the bulb's socket to make them fit. It's been quite a popular upgrade in Imprezas as well.

As for interior/licence plate LEDs, this is what I got (superbrightleds):
2 x 194 LED, 34 lumens (194-WW3HP) - licence plate
4 x DE3022 CAN Bus LED, 18 SMD LED, 31 mm, 90 lumens (3110-CW18-CB), trunk + map + dome
2 x 7440, 18 SMD LED tower, 270 lumens, (7440-CW18-T-2PK) - reverse

Some useful links below.

Model Year 2018 and Newer - Upgrading from Halogen Headlights to LEDS? | Subaru Crosstrek and XV Forums (subaruxvforum.com)
Look for headlight upgrade | Subaru Crosstrek and XV Forums (subaruxvforum.com)
Model Year 2018 and Newer - I passed on the Subaru LED accessory | Subaru Crosstrek and XV Forums (subaruxvforum.com)
Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply
 

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Diode Dynamics makes good stuff. I use them in all my vehicles when I want LEDs & have for years.

Like Blue said about the headlights that some are junk & others aren’t is true of any of the lights you choose to replace. There is some isolated reports of people having problems swapping LEDs but it usually ends up being some off brand cheap stuff. One example of this is some LED reverse lights cause interference with the back up camera. another thing with LEDs is if you replace a bulb & it doesn’t work flip it around as some only work plug in one way.

I have DD LEDs for my dome, maps, reverse, and license plate. I also have the SL1s for my low/high beams & their SS3s for my fogs. zero problems I did swap my maps from white to red cause the white was to bright for me at night. All the lights still physically function the same with the exception of the DRL (daytime running light) which flicker cause the Trek uses the high beam for DRL at half voltage.

I might do brake lights in the future? but I won’t do turns cause I don’t want to deal with resistors as I have harnesses for my truck with them & they get stupid hot & are prone to burning out. there are some brands of LEDs that have a resistor built into the bulb but reviews seem really mixed on these. the turn signals would be the only bulbs you would need resistors for since they are the only bulb that flashes. LEDs use less power than halogens so if you don’t use a resistor that’s when you get the hyper flash.

I’m not going to comment on my headlights or whether you should swap yours but whatever bulbs you choose to swap for LEDs make sure you read the reviews for that bulb, the manufacturer, & the return policy/warranty from where you source them so you don’t get stuck with some junk.
 

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My only useful contribution here would be for the signal lights. I have switched them all to LED. In the front, I use Diode Dynamic's XP80's left over from my last vehicle. In the rear, I am using SIRIUS LEDs, as they have built in resistors. For the front, I installed VLED's VLR 6 Resistors. I chose these resistors simply because of their low profile and ease of installation. With resistors on the front and the built in resistors in the SIRIUS LEDs in the rear, I don't have hyper-flash and my signals are noticeably brighter than the stock bulbs.
 

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Hey all!
This might be discussed to death on this forum but I can't really find a clear answer, but I am wanting to change the lights to LEDs on my car to brighten the output up. However, I have heard that isn't doable or at least not efficient cause it was intended for halogen bulbs because of the reflector housing and retrofit is ideal? Or does that only apply to the headlights? What are the pros and cons of just swapping out for LEDs on the headlights instead of doing a complete retrofit? I reached out to Diode Dynamics and they said they don't have a page for the 2021 models yet, but that the bulbs for 2020 will all work and are completely plug and play with the exception of the tail lights and turn signal that require a resistor modification to prevent hyperflashing? I also would like to replace the interior lights to LEDs as well and know they have some bulbs for that as well. I also saw this kit 2018-2021 Subaru XV Crosstrek | LED Interior Lighting Package but don't know how it compares or how good the lights are. Will any lighting changes affect certain aspects of the car such as lights turning on automatically when you walk up to it or even the position and aim of lights I hear is important...?

Obviously, I know nothing about anything. So. Any info, recommendations, or links would be greatly appreciated as I don't want to waste money, but I want to make an informed decision.

Help my ignorance, please!
The main con of putting aftermarket LEDs in your stock halogens is that you'll be one of those guys blinding everyone else on the street. It's also illegal. Don't be that guy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys. The main thing I care about right now is the amount of light. It just seems super dark to me. Sure I would like for it to look cool but not at the expense of other drivers, especially if it is illegal. Even if I can just upgrade to a halogen bulb that has more lumens I think would be an upgrade for me.
 

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Diode Dynamics makes good stuff. I use them in all my vehicles when I want LEDs & have for years.

I have DD LEDs for my dome, maps, reverse, and license plate. I also have the SL1s for my low/high beams & their SS3s for my fogs. zero problems I did swap my maps from white to red cause the white was to bright for me at night. All the lights still physically function the same with the exception of the DRL (daytime running light) which flicker cause the Trek uses the high beam for DRL at half voltage.

I might do brake lights in the future?
Did you ever take a snapshot of the beam pattern against the wall? (with clean headlights, as it distorts the beam).
 

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Thanks guys. The main thing I care about right now is the amount of light. It just seems super dark to me. Sure I would like for it to look cool but not at the expense of other drivers, especially if it is illegal. Even if I can just upgrade to a halogen bulb that has more lumens I think would be an upgrade for me.
No offense, as I don't know anything about you, but are you sure the problem is the light output and not your ability to see it?
There was a user on here before who claimed that the light output stock was just completely unsafe and he wasn't able to see the road, but I find it completely fine. It reminds me of an older coworker I used to have who would always complain about how everyone talks too quietly these days. He later started wearing hearing aids.
 

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no snap shot. when I swapped them I placed a large piece of cardboard 4’ in front of the Trek & marked the halogens cut off (low beams) with a marker then replaced them & adjusted the LEDs to match that line. I had to crank them down some & after a couple of test drives I cranked them down a little more to my liking. I also compared them before & after on the garage door outside 20’ away. there’s still a cut off with them but there is a small amount of scatter. In no way shape or form is it just throwing light all willy-nilly like some people would like you to believe...

I tried to take pics when I got home earlier tonight of them against my garage door but the photos don’t reflect what it actually looks like. I’ll try the cardboard trick next time I have it in the garage doing something to it.

I was going try & tape off the top of the housing & see if it would “improve” the cut off & if that worked I’d cut some black vinyl or dark tint “brows”. I kinda forgot about this till this thread so if I do it I’ll report back.
 

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but I won’t do turns cause I don’t want to deal with resistors as I have harnesses for my truck with them & they get stupid hot & are prone to burning out. there are some brands of LEDs that have a resistor built into the bulb but reviews seem really mixed on these. the turn signals would be the only bulbs you would need resistors for since they are the only bulb that flashes. LEDs use less power than halogens so if you don’t use a resistor that’s when you get the hyper flash.
I think there is a module you can add that (I believe) replaces the need for inline resistors. Some (like Valenti Euro Winker Relay) add the 3 blink mod for passing, etc... on my list of (hopefully) quick mods I’m planning to try once my 2021 gets delivered next month...

If anyone has experience with one of these, welcome any info/clarification from use.
 

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⬆ I know on the 1st gen Treks you can swap out the turn signal “flasher” for one that works with LEDs. the 2nd gen Subi eliminated the “flasher” & the flash signal is ran by the BCM. as far as I know or have seen anyway the only way to get around this is the resistors or to reprogram the BCM which I haven’t seen anyone doing for the Subis anyway unlike some of the domestic manufacturers there are companies that are doing it?
 

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Thanks for that info, was not aware of that change. Maybe I won’t get this one done then, as I’m not hot on the idea of resistors either...

If I do change to LEDs, does anyone have a good recommendation on where to put the resistors?
 

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For the front, I installed VLED's VLR 6 Resistors. I chose these resistors simply because of their low profile and ease of installation.
I found your post mentioning the VLED’s VLR-6 few weeks back. I had installed LED bulbs & got the infamous hyper-flashing. Purchased the VLR-6 modules & they work amazingly well. Install was simple. Just wanted to thank you for recommending them.
 

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I found your post mentioning the VLED’s VLR-6 few weeks back. I had installed LED bulbs & got the infamous hyper-flashing. Purchased the VLR-6 modules & they work amazingly well. Install was simple. Just wanted to thank you for recommending them.
Can you post a photo of the wires you tapped into? I just got the VLR-6s, but there are three wires..

Thanks!
 
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