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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK, so I bought a 2016 Mazda 3 iTouring a few months ago, and I wanted to see if I could improve the headlights. My objective was simply to replace the stock bulbs with ones that were brighter and threw more light on the road... so I could see where I was going better.

I did *NOT* want to replace my headlights with one of those wire-melting HID kits. I did *NOT* want to get those annoying blue-tinted bulbs that are actually dimmer than stock bulbs. And I did *NOT* want to do anything that had the initials "LED" in it. I simply wanted brighter headlights. Also, I didn't want to mess with using different spec bulbs. For example, I didn't want to modify the tabs on an H9 bulb so it would fit in the H11 socket.

After doing some research -- which included asking here, on this wonderful site -- I came to the conclusion that the general consensus was that the Philips X-treme Vision bulbs were the brightest. So I bought two X-treme Vision 9005's for the high beams, two H11's for the low beams, and two H11's for the fog lights. After poking around the engine, I realized that I didn't have the skill and dexterity to replace all six bulbs, so I took my car to my local mechanic.

As you can see in the four-part photo I've attached, my bulb-replacement project was a total failure. The biggest difference is between the low-beam and high-beam photos. The tree stump in the low-beam photos is revealed to be a full tree in the high-beam photos, which also reveals the two poles on each side of the road. Also, the road beyond the poles is better illuminated in the high-beam photos.

But the difference between the stock bulbs and the X-treme Visions is virtually non-existent. If you compare all four photos, you can see that the grass on the left shoulder is ever-so slightly better lit by the new bulbs. It also appears that the pavement right in front of the car is slightly more brightly lit by the new bulbs.

But if you look in the far distance of the photos, you'll see that the reflectors are actually better illuminated by the stock bulbs than the new ones, by both the high and low beams. It's not much of a difference, but if you click on the photo twice to view it at full size (2000 x 1050 pixels), it *IS* noticeable. This means that the old bulbs were throwing MORE light down the road than the new ones!! Damn!

So what conclusion can we draw from all this? When Philips claims that their X-treme Vision bulbs produce "+100% more light"… DON'T BELIEVE IT!
 

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I've learned from an early age that no direct swap halogen bulbs will give you better light output. The only way to go is HID kits. However, with HID kits, you are best going with a well known brand. You might have to spend a little more but it's well worth it. Bought my first HID kit back in early 2000's and it was $650 for a philips 9006 4300k HID kit and it was rare back then to see HID kits around. Now everybody and their grandma has it and you can get HID kits for cheaper than some halogen bulbs lol I've been running HID kits on all my cars that did not come with HID kits and none has every melted any wiring. I did use OEM ones tho since I had projector retrofits on those cars. But yeah, if you want to improve your light output, HID is the way but stay away from cheap kits.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've learned from an early age that no direct swap halogen bulbs will give you better light output. The only way to go is HID kits. However, with HID kits, you are best going with a well known brand. [ETC ETC].
Well, I just learned the hard way! :crying2:

You're right... search on "HID kits" and you get lots of hits. Are there any brands you could recommend? Do you need one kit for hi beam and another for low?

Also... I read somewhere that HID conversion kits are illegal. Did I hallucinate that... or is it true?
 

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I would love to get HID kits, but theyr illegal in my country and I really cant be arsed to remove those every year for yearly vehicle inspection :[
 

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Why are you against swapping H11 and H9 bulbs?

An extremely simple way to increase light output is swap out your H11 halogens, and replace with slightly modified H9 bulbs. Takes minutes to modify, it's one of the best things I did to my Mazda, I can see again at night!

I installed a set of Philips H9 halogen bulbs for the low beams. The H9's are indeed brighter; the stock 55 watt H11 bulbs put out about 1350 lumens, while the 65 watt H9 produces 2100 lumens.
 
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In my current CX5 and before that my IX35/Tuscon I was very happy with the results of swapping the standard low beam bulbs with Osram Nightbreakers. Maybe give one set of these a try before going the HID route. HID was disappointing in the MX5 NC I had in my opinion, compared to three non-Mazda cars with HID I had before. Taking delivery next week of a Mazda3 2015 with HID, so curious whether I will like this better than in the NC. All HID factory installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I installed a set of Philips H9 halogen bulbs for the low beams. The H9's are indeed brighter; the stock 55 watt H11 bulbs put out about 1350 lumens, while the 65 watt H9 produces 2100 lumens.
With all that extra light, is there any issue with blinding oncoming drivers?
 

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With all that extra light, is there any issue with blinding oncoming drivers?
No issues I'm aware of, the light beams horizontal cut off line hasn't changed, and I have never been flashed by oncoming drivers.

The bulb life won't be as long as the original halogen H11, but I believe the tradeoff is worth it. Purchased mine online from Bonanza for under $10/ bulb (including shipping)

http://www.bonanza.com/listings/Philips-H9-Standard-Headlight-Bulb-Pack-of-1-Automotive-/251775892?gpid=18283950120&gpkwd=&goog_pla=1&gclid=CIeSsazr1MsCFVJgfgod8GcGPQ
 

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The H9 conversion is the best way to add light without changing the way the light is distributed.
The focal point is in the exact same position as the H11 bulb and the projectors are made to focus the halogen bulbs.

I had done the H9 conversion on my old 2014 accord with projectors and the light output was significantly better.

it may arguably be better than just sticking HID's in there because HID's may throw more of the light in the foreground rather than in the distance.
Of course if you do a true retrofit and put HID projectors that would be the best way to go.

I just stuck HID's in there and I'm happy with the results.

H9's are great but you're still stuck with regular yellow light
 
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While your subjective opinion may not agree with facts, philips x-treme vision bulbs are truly brighter and near the legal maximum for most bulb sizes. They are in no way a rip off or a scam. It just wasnt a big enough different for you to tell with your naked eyes. There is no horrible "truth".

Like everyone else has suggested, do a h9 swap. 60% brighter with the same optics. For your high beams swap a 9011 (hir) bulb. Same deal, much brighter but with the same optics.
 

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OK, so I bought a 2016 Mazda 3 iTouring a few months ago, and I wanted to see if I could improve the headlights. My objective was simply to replace the stock bulbs with ones that were brighter and threw more light on the road... so I could see where I was going better.

I did *NOT* want to replace my headlights with one of those wire-melting HID kits.
Wire-melting HID kits are a thing of the past, unless you end up buying some no name HID kit from some no name seller.

There's ONLY ONE WAY to increase your light output when compared to the OEM Halogen bulbs... install an HID kit.

Below is my 2014 Mazda 3. It's been what, two years now and 35k miles and nothing has melted. Still using the original bulbs and ballast that I installed using a cheap, $25 HID kit from China. Ne er been flashed at or harassed by po'po. Lights look stock because I'm using 4,300k bulb color.

 

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Wire-melting HID kits are a thing of the past, unless you end up buying some no name HID kit from some no name seller.

There's ONLY ONE WAY to increase your light output when compared to the OEM Halogen bulbs... install an HID kit.

Below is my 2014 Mazda 3. It's been what, two years now and 35k miles and nothing has melted. Still using the original bulbs and ballast that I installed using a cheap, $25 HID kit from China. Ne er been flashed at or harassed by po'po. Lights look stock because I'm using 4,300k bulb color.

H9 is one way to get a lot more light out of the stock lights. I guarantee you that your projector bowls are burning inside, especially with a cheap kit. Halogen bowls cannot handle the UV light from hid bulbs. It can take months or years but they will burn and you'll lose output drastically.
 

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Wire-melting HID kits are a thing of the past, unless you end up buying some no name HID kit from some no name seller.

There's ONLY ONE WAY to increase your light output when compared to the OEM Halogen bulbs... install an HID kit.

Below is my 2014 Mazda 3. It's been what, two years now and 35k miles and nothing has melted. Still using the original bulbs and ballast that I installed using a cheap, $25 HID kit from China. Ne er been flashed at or harassed by po'po. Lights look stock because I'm using 4,300k bulb color.


Yup you just gotta aim them right.

Make sure they are AC ballasts or you will be changing the bulb quite often.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
While your subjective opinion may not agree with facts, philips x-treme vision bulbs are truly brighter and near the legal maximum for most bulb sizes. They are in no way a rip off or a scam. It just wasnt a big enough different for you to tell with your naked eyes. There is no horrible "truth".

Like everyone else has suggested, do a h9 swap. 60% brighter with the same optics. For your high beams swap a 9011 (hir) bulb. Same deal, much brighter but with the same optics.
Thanks for the bulb-swap suggestion. I'm planning to do the H9 --> H11 and possibly 9011 --> 9005 swaps, but not right away. After wasting about $100 on those six X-treme Vision bulbs, I think I'll wait for them to burn out before doing the swap.

rdiggett, I would like to take issue with your description of my comparison of the Philips bulbs with the stocks ones. My observation was NOT subjective. The photo I attached was an accurate, *objective* representation of what I saw from the driver's seat, at the same spot in the road, with the two sets of bulbs. I even made a point of making the photo fairly large (2000 x 1050 pixels) in order to show everyone a high level of detail.

I'm sure you'll agree with me that, objectively speaking, the Philips-vs-stock images are virtually identical. And if, as you correctly say, there wasn't a big enough difference for me to tell with my naked eyes, that's really all that matters. After all, when we drive we all view the road with our "naked eyes," not with a sophisticated photometer that's capable of measuring minute differences in luminance.

I suspect that if you had been sitting in the driver's seat instead of me, you would have seen exactly what I saw and what my camera saw: no perceptible difference in illumination between the stock and Philips bulbs. But let's say, for argument's sake, we generously give Philips the benefit of the doubt and say there is, what, a 2% difference... a 5% difference? That's not even anywhere close to the "+100% more light" that Philips promises for these bulbs. The bottom line is that Philips promised a certain level of performance for their "top of the line" bulbs, and the bulbs didn't even come close to delivering on that promise.

Yes, I was being hyperbolic and a bit whimsical by describing what I learned about the bulbs as "the horrible truth." Perhaps I simply should have said "the really, really disappointing truth." The bottom line, rdiggett, is that Philip's advertising and product packaging claim a certain level of performance... I bought the product based on those claims... and the product failed miserably to deliver on those claims. As far as I'm concerned, this is a clear case of deceptive advertising, it's wrong and probably illegal, and I'm pissed off for having been fooled by their false claims.

But, hey, what the hell. I've been fooled before, and I know I'll be fooled again. That's the way life is. I can only imagine how I would be feeling right about now if I'd bought one of VW's "clean diesel" cars just before the scandal broke. By comparison, my "Philips Fiasco" is *very* small potatoes.
 

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H9 is one way to get a lot more light out of the stock lights. I guarantee you that your projector bowls are burning inside, especially with a cheap kit. Halogen bowls cannot handle the UV light from hid bulbs. It can take months or years but they will burn and you'll lose output drastically.
4500k 55w HID kit on since the car had like 2k miles. Currently 36k on the clock. We are constantly driving at night to avoid rush hour traffic. We have family 400 miles away and always do the 6 hour drive at night both ways (that's how the miles rack up quick for us) perfect light output after all this time. I can't tell any difference. I call BS on your guarantee that the projector bowls are burning up inside. I'll update in another couple of years.
 

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OP, why not go and return the freakin $100 worth of bulbs you bought because you're not happy with them and go another route with those funds instead.

I remember reading a review about similar claims (not sure if it was the same manufacturer or not) and the claim was based on OLD bulbs, which they claim get worse with age and after 10 years, these new bulbs will offer x amount of better light output vs the POS old stock ones and hence the claim. M

As you proved, comparing your fresh OEM bulbs to these saw no improvement.
 
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