1996 Lexus ES 300: New Headlight Bulb Impressions
December 21, 2012
We installed new headlight bulbs in our long-term 1996 Lexus ES 300 last month. The photo above shows the previous bulbs. I have a few impressions and photos of the new bulbs after the jump.
The package of the Philips X-Treme Power bulbs we bought advertised "80 percent more light." After driving the Lexus a few nights, I'm afraid that it doesn't quite deliver on that promise.
It's hardly breaking news when a product doesn't perform as advertised. But still, the lights are an improvement over what they used to be -- just not "80 percent" better. I'd guess they are about 25 percent better than the bulbs that came with the car.
Part of the problem is the hazy plastic on the lens. The plastic has oxidized over the years and while we used a Meguiars cleaning kit earlier this year, we may have only slowed down the process.
Some of our readers have suggested taking the headlight apart to give the housing and projector a thorough cleaning. This may be an effective alternative to buying a brand new headlight, but it is far beyond what my DIY skills are capable of. Plus, we're lucky enough to live in a city with plenty of street lights, which can make up for any lighting deficiencies our Lexus may have.
Below are a couple of photos that actually make the light look better than it was in person -- most likely because I took the photos from an over the hood perspective. The first image is with the low beams on. The second image is with the low beams and fog lights on, big improvement.
I don't like being that guy that drives around with his fog lights on all the time, but in the Lexus, I may just make an exception.
Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 152,045 miles