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Terrible Headlights Need Replacement - 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited July 2015 in Dodge
imageTerrible Headlights Need Replacement - 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 Long-Term Road Test

The Edmunds long-term 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 has lousy headlights. We suggest replacing them ASAP.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • 7driver7driver Posts: 145
    First, are the lenses still in good shape? If not, can they be polished/restored? Do you want to upgrade the entire assembly or just swap in some new bulbs, possibly with higher output and/or different color such as the Sylvania SilverStar series?
  • agentorangeagentorange Posts: 893
    You cannot just slap LEDs or HID capsules in a light housing designed for a halogen bulb. The beam pattern goes to rats. First off, check that the alternator is producing its rated voltage. That will dim your lights if you are a volt or more short. After that, try new bulbs like the Sylvanias. After that you are into aftermarket headlight territory, and that can be hit or miss. Even if they work well, are they permitted in CA? Maybe the simple explanation is that Dodge fits DoT compliant, but crap lights. They are hardly the first in the US to do so.
  • saskman02saskman02 Posts: 3
    You'll upgrade these headlights but you won't upgrade the bias ply tires on the Vette? They both represent important safety equipment that would improve the driving experience on each respective vehicle. You stated that you want to experience the Vette as it was presented in 1966 so why the different attitude with this car?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,638
    I like the idea of installing some SilverStars or similar. They are cheap, but the next logical upgrade.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • allthingshondaallthingshonda Posts: 878
    edited July 2015
    The Charger's headlight bulbs might be original and the light output will dim over time. Buy a new set of bulbs and you'll notice a difference. Also it doesn't have the highly focused lights of projectors and newer reflector lenses so the light is not as controlled and focused but more scattered. The benefit of the older design is that it doesn't have the sharp cutoff like projectors so they reach farther out and make seeing on hilly roads and reading road signs better.
  • yellowbalyellowbal Posts: 234
    HIDs and LEDs would throw nasty glare in that reflector type headlight, also illegal. The headlamp enclosure can use modified 9012 HIR bulbs and get almost 2000 lumens compared with stock 1000. That's illegal too but less noticeable.

    Polish the headlamps with Plast-X or similar and check the aim.
  • hank39hank39 Tallahassee, FLPosts: 144
    I would go with a retrofit with a set H1 Mini Projectors (The Retrofit Source). It's a pretty straightforward and simple process. You can go with the b-stock or generic ones for about $40 from Amazon; and then a cheap H1 HID kit for $40.
  • s197gts197gt Posts: 486
    edited August 2015
    yellowbal said:


    and check the aim.

    THIS...

    recently i have changed the aim on a 2011 crown vic, 2000 z3, 2006 mustang gt, 2005 grand cherokee.

    minutes of work and each time visibility improved dramatically and no one flashes their brights at me.

    the vic and mustang have been driven since new so i know for a fact they came from the factory improperly aimed. the mustang has been lowered so that may have affected it a bit.


  • quadricyclequadricycle Posts: 827
    edited August 2015
    Boy it's nice to see how many people actually care about not turning this car into a glare machine. Made my day.

    Edmunds,

    Please do NOT put in an HID kit or LED "bulb". The quality is trash, light won't go where you need it (poor performance), and everybody gets a face full of glare.

    Do NOT get aftermarket headlight assemblies. All, and I do mean all, of them are trash. Build quality is extremely poor, and there's no photometric testing done to ensure compliance (and decent performance). Yes, I know that some say that they are legal, but they aren't.

    Do NOT try a headlight "retrofit" from the retrofit source (especially the retrofit source) or any other. The quality is bad, and you're/they're trying to graft part of another headlight into yours. How do you know if anythings even? Well, it just get eyeballed which is extremely inaccurate when we're talking about controlling light. Plus, it is all illegal.

    IF you polish the headlights, realize that you are taking off the UV coating too. This means that they'll start deteriorating again but faster than before, especially in California where there's a lot of sun. If the headlights are really that bad, just replace them with the actual parts from Dodge.

    Here's what you should do: Replace the headlight bulbs, which is the cheapest and easiest thing to do right now, and then see how you feel then. Avoid the Sylvania Silverstar Ultra, try to get a good quality bulb from Phillips or GE. If the headlight assemblies are bad, get some new ones from Dodge. If you still have problems, measure the voltage at the headlights, and install better wiring if need be to raise to rated voltage. All of these things will deliver performance results, and all are legal.
  • dgcamerodgcamero Posts: 148
    Use your parking garage and some blue painters tape to mark the headlight output of the vehicle with the best headlights in your fleet. It is best to try with a vehicle of similar width and height (Kia maybe?) Replace the bulbs in the Charger with decent quality bulbs. Re-aim the headlights using the marks from the car with the good headlights. After you are done, have a friend drive in front of you, and meet you in oncoming traffic to make sure you are not blinding anyone. That should significantly improve your light output!
  • throwbackthrowback Posts: 445
    I would go with either replacement lenses with silvania bulbs, or xenons. Did this gen Charger ever come with xenins?
  • wtgkb8wtgkb8 Posts: 18
    I say replace the bulbs first. I have had great luck with Sylvania SilverStar zXe bulbs in my last 3 vehicles.
  • wtgkb8 said:

    I have had great luck with Sylvania SilverStar zXe bulbs in my last 3 vehicles.

    Unfortunately, you haven't. These bulbs have a coating to make them give off a slightly different color. This coating, or filter, blocks all other light but the one you're trying to get. As such, you've actually got less light to see with.

    Here's an article that explains it well:

    http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/blue/good/good.html
  • wtgkb8wtgkb8 Posts: 18
    edited August 2015

    wtgkb8 said:

    I have had great luck with Sylvania SilverStar zXe bulbs in my last 3 vehicles.

    Unfortunately, you haven't. These bulbs have a coating to make them give off a slightly different color. This coating, or filter, blocks all other light but the one you're trying to get. As such, you've actually got less light to see with.

    Here's an article that explains it well:

    http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/blue/good/good.html
    That's strange because in my experience they are much brighter than my all my stock halogen bulbs in my 2007 Maxima...high beams and fogs in my 2012 Maxima (both replaced within a year due to crappy light output)...and all bulbs in my 2003 Jeep GC. They were pathetic before I installed those zXe bulbs. The very bright white light (verses the more yellow light of the factory bulbs) was such an improvement in all driving conditions...especially during precip (rain and snow). I have before and after photos that show the drastic improvements on the 2007. It was a much safer experience afterwards. Maybe the factory installed halogens were very crappy from the start.

    The 2012 has HID low beams...and the zXe's were still a cooler color temp than the HID (4300K I believe). I suspect they were 3700-4200K temp for the zXe...so these halogens were less white/blue than the factory HIDs. I'm on my 3rd year with those bulbs in the Jeep...had over 4 yrs on those bulbs in the 2007 before I traded it. So, I have had no issues with the lifespan either.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,026
    You've got some great answers and a chance to show the readers the right thing to do. As some have stated the HID or LED bulbs are illegal without going to full projector lenses so that's out. So how about use a restore kit on one, and replace the other one with original O.E. then step back and watch what happens.
  • jfa1177jfa1177 Posts: 52

    The Charger's headlight bulbs might be original and the light output will dim over time. Buy a new set of bulbs and you'll notice a difference. Also it doesn't have the highly focused lights of projectors and newer reflector lenses so the light is not as controlled and focused but more scattered. The benefit of the older design is that it doesn't have the sharp cutoff like projectors so they reach farther out and make seeing on hilly roads and reading road signs better.

    That's not really true about projectors. They have better down range performance and are able to put light right where it needs to be unlike complex reflector headlights which for lack of a better turn 'puke' light down range giving the impression of better performance when actually its less focused. There are remedies to illuminating road signs and such; look at the bottom of the projector beam lens on a Peterbilt 389. There is a little notch that redirects light up to illuminate road signs. These lights were designed in conjunction with HELLA who knows a few things about forward lighting.

  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    This is the problem since they went away from the Glass Headlights. The plastic turns yellow and cracks. When the car was brand new, I bet it was great. Now, a few years down the line, and the headlights are dim and yellow. Your options are going to be go with an over-priced Factory replacement, or get the aftermarket units that will leak and may not fit right, but you might get a year's worth of use out of them.
  • quadricyclequadricycle Posts: 827
    edited August 2015
    @wtgkb8,

    I'm not surprised that the zXe may be better than the original bulbs, since unfortunately many manufacturers spec low quality long life bulbs on many vehicles as original equipment. That being said, the zXe is not going to be better than a similar high performance bulb without that coating to make the light whiter. By the way, Sylvania was fined semi-recently for shoddy technical literature and B.S. marketing tactics, such as comparing their bulbs to used ones of another type instead of new ones, etc. Not my first choice to be buying bulbs from.

    Also, don't confuse "whiter" and "better". If you prefer a whiter light, great; but it won't help you see better. Many like to harp the "closer to daylight" line, but that's 1% true and 99% marketing crap. No discernible safety benefits have been found.
  • csubowtiecsubowtie Posts: 143
    I've used the Sylvania Silverstars (Silverstars in the S-10, ultras in the WRX) in my two cars for the last several years. I found them to be noticeably better than the stockers. I've heard lots of complaints about these bulbs, but my personal experience has been great. I say Edmonds does a bit of consumer research. Start with one of those headlight polishing kits that has become so popular, then move on to Silverstars. If you still have unsat lighting, you could move on to the next step, but I doubt you'll need to.
  • <
    That's not really true about projectors. They have better down range performance and are able to put light right where it needs to be unlike complex reflector headlights which for lack of a better turn 'puke' light down range giving the impression of better performance when actually its less focused.



    So you're saying projectors don't have a sharp cutoff? I agree and also said they are more focused than reflector lenses therefore put more light where you want rather than scattered out like reflectors. But all projectors halogen or xenon have a distinct cutoff of light and dark. No gradual fading of light like older reflector lights. You can actually see how the driver's headlight light pattern doesn't reach as far as the passenger side for glare reduction due to the brighter lights of xenon combined with the sharp projector cutoff on certain down hill roads.
  • jfa1177jfa1177 Posts: 52

    <
    That's not really true about projectors. They have better down range performance and are able to put light right where it needs to be unlike complex reflector headlights which for lack of a better turn 'puke' light down range giving the impression of better performance when actually its less focused.

    So you're saying projectors don't have a sharp cutoff? I agree and also said they are more focused than reflector lenses therefore put more light where you want rather than scattered out like reflectors. But all projectors halogen or xenon have a distinct cutoff of light and dark. No gradual fading of light like older reflector lights. You can actually see how the driver's headlight light pattern doesn't reach as far as the passenger side for glare reduction due to the brighter lights of xenon combined with the sharp projector cutoff on certain down hill roads.

    Not at all. Projectors have a sharp cut off due to an internal shield directly behind the projector lens. The difference between a passenger-side light vs. a driver side light comes down to the 'prescription'. Each light has a different lens shape to help put light where it needs to be. There are ways to reduce this sharp cut-off but it seems most manufacturers bypass these to cut costs. Projector headlights cost quite a bit more than typical complex reflector headlights.
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