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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2014 Forester and I drive with my headlamps on for extra safety. But I find that I'm replacing them a couple of times a year and the procedure is time consuming and it's also inconvenient and compromises my safety if a headlamp burns out on a long drive far from home in the winter at night in a snowstorm, etc.

I've been using Sylvania H11 Ultra Silverstar headlamps because I like their brightness. Is there any alternative that will give me just as much brightness but won't require such frequent replacement?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@bbottomley,

There no corrosion - the rated life of the bulb is only 200 hours, according to Sylvania. SYLVANIA H11 SilverStar ULTRA Halogen Headlight Bulb, 2 Pack

I'm looking for a longer-lasting alternative.

DRL's are not bright enough and there are some roads that I drives on regularly, that actually require-by-law full headlights during the day, And because of fog, mist, 43 inches of rain a year, lots of snow, winding mountain roads and short days during the winter full headlights are a good idea much of the time, so I don't want to constantly have to remember to switch between full headlamps and DRLs. I just want a longer-lasting headlamp.
 

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Since your car is equipped with DRLs, you should probably just leave your headlights off and let the DRLs do their intended job.

And no, you're not going to find standard incandescent bulbs that are brighter without sacrificing life. It's a basic trade-off of electrical systems.

As @bbottomley suggests, adding aftermarket DRLs is also a good option.
 

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@plnelson I have a 2001 that uses H4 bulbs. I moved to the US from Canada where DRL were mandated years ago. And if you did not have DRL, you just drove with headlights on. I took advantage of the Subaru's headlight system when I moved down to the US and just left the headlights on. I have found the quality of the bulbs are important and the other issue is ground points/voltage fluctuation of the vehicle electrical system. However, about 3 years ago I bought some Philips LED strips from Amazon and installed them on the 2001, it came with a special relay that automatically turned the LED's on when there was voltage detected and these LED's are now my DRL. They are bright like any of the new vehicles on the road. However Amazon no longer sells these Philips LED DRL anymore. But you could build something like that of your own: LED Strip, and 12V Relay.
 

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... there are some roads that I drives on regularly, that actually require-by-law full headlights during the day,
That puts a whole new light on the discussion. :rolleyes:

Where are these roads and what's behind this requirement? I grew up in Massachusetts and now live in New Hampshire, and I've never heard of this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That puts a whole new light on the discussion. :rolleyes:

Where are these roads and what's behind this requirement? I grew up in Massachusetts and now live in New Hampshire, and I've never heard of this.
Route 6 on Cape Cod.

It's also a Massachusetts state law to have headlights on whenever windshield wipers are on.
 

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How come Route 6?

One big drawback of DRLs is that people sometimes forget that they don't turn on the taillights, and those are awfully helpful in reduced visibility situations. Especially if you have a gray or silver car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And no, you're not going to find standard incandescent bulbs that are brighter without sacrificing life. It's a basic trade-off of electrical systems.
Some brands (e.g., OSRAM) claim to last longer. False advertising? Several people here have suggested electrical problems but as I mentioned above, the rated life of these Sylvania bulbs is only 200 hours. If you drive an hour-and-a-half a day that's less than six months, which is about what I'm getting, so I don't think there's a technical problem.

What about an aftermarket LED headlamp? It's more money upfront but a huge reduction in hassle if they work. I'm tired of headlights burning out at 9 o'clock at night and having to pull over and change a bulb on the side of the road given what a hassle it is to to change bulbs on a Forester.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
There's the issue. Those have some of the shortest lifespan
I know. That's why I asked if there's anything with comparable brightness but longer lifespan. I see a whole bunch of places advertising LED headlamps. Is there known to be one that work well with Foresters?
 

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Aftermarket LED headlight bulbs might not get you through state inspection. Federal standards have recently been tightened, since many of them just don't align well with stock reflectors and produce glare.
 

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Wow, I have never seen bulbs rated at such a short life expectancy but then again I guess there could be applications out there where thats expected.

I roll like @bman400 does and just leave my lights on all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Aftermarket LED headlight bulbs might not get you through state inspection. Federal standards have recently been tightened, since many of them just don't align well with stock reflectors.
Some LED lamps have special heatsinks or fans that complicate their installation so If I went that route I'd probably have my mechanic install it and adjust the reflector. His station does state inspections so he could adjust the reflectors to make sure they're in-spec. Also I've noticed that some aftermarket LED headlamp makers sell entire kits with reflectors and everything. So I'd definitely have the mechanic handle it if I went that route.

But given all the LED product I see on the market, has anyone on this forum tried them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wow, I have never seen bulbs rated at such a short life expectancy but then again I guess there could be applications out there where thats expected.

I only found out about the short lifespan on the H11's because the Sylvania rep posted it on their website discussion forum in the link I posted earlier. But is there anyplace on the web where I can see the rated specs of lots of different bulbs so I can compare them side-by-side?

I roll like @bman400 does and just leave my lights on all the time.
There are too many situations where headlights are required by law, or just plain better, so I leave them on all the time.
 

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How come Route 6?

One big drawback of DRLs is that people sometimes forget that they don't turn on the taillights, and those are awfully helpful in reduced visibility situations. Especially if you have a gray or silver car.
This concerns the last 15 "limited-access" miles of US 6 near Brewster. This odd section was never widened beyond the original one lane in each direction. There are signs suggesting use of headlights at all times:
Google Maps
 

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Some LED lamps have special heatsinks or fans that complicate their installation so If I went that route I'd probably have my mechanic install it and adjust the reflector. His station does state inspections so he could adjust the reflectors to make sure they're in-spec.
The problem isn't with the adjustment, it's with the design of the reflectors themselves. Many aftermarket LED headlight bulbs don't output the light at the same place as the halogen bulbs do. If that's the case, you'll never get the focus and aim that you need from adjusting.

I spent a bunch of $$ trying different designs of aftermarket H4 headlights in my motorcycle until I came upon a design that worked well in both high and low beam. And one design that didn't work well in the motorcycle worked quite well in a 98 Forester.

Since you don't really need the extra light except at night, consider adding driving lights. The SJ generation is practically designed to have a hidden light bar at the bottom of the grill. Around $100 in parts from Amazon.
Tire Automotive side marker light Wheel Car Land vehicle
Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Automotive side marker light
 
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