Things to consider when shopping for an LED kit.
There are many different LED kit series. When shopping for an LED kit you should know where you want to install it (low beam, high beam, or fogs), how much space you have behind the headlight, if you have dust caps on the back of the headlights, and the bulb style to fit the application. All Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler vehicles require use of canbus anti-flicker decoders with LED kits which prevent the LEDs from flickering in daytime running light mode (DRL) or shutting off after short time of use. Ford, GMC, Chevy, and most import vehicles are not affected. However there may be exceptions. For example, installing LEDs in a KIA Optima or Honda Accord requires that you use canbus decoders.
What kit is best LED kit for my vehicle?
LED bulbs vary in light output, wattage, physical size, cooling type, LED driver location, bulb style, and optional beam adjustment which is not available on the cheaper LED kits. Start by looking at how much space you have behind the headlight and if there is a dust cap. This will determine the LED Series you can use. If you have a lot of space and no dust caps, you can pretty much select any LED kit. If size is limited you will want to select the smallest possible LED body series like X9, U9 or X7 canbus or S7 canbus w/lens warming. If you're installing the LED kit under a dust cap with almost no room (Ex. Dodge RAM headlights) then select the G10, Z3 or Q3 LED series.
There are a few different types of cooling found on LED bulbs. These are copper ribbons, fans, and cooling fins. Generally speaking the more light output the LED has the more cooling it will need. Fanless LED bulbs are best suited for fog lamp installations where there might be water, snow, ice, and mud thrown at them.
How hot do LEDs get? Not as much as halogens or HIDs. In a short test, halogen and HID bulbs reached temperatures over 300C while LEDs hovered between 80C-100C. LEDs do get hot to touch but they will not melt a vehicles' headlight or fog light housing. However, if you touch an LED chip while it is ON, it will burn your fingers.
There are only 2 types of LED drivers, built-in LED drivers found in all-in-one LED bulbs, and external LED drivers, similar to HID ballasts but much smaller. Use of LEDs with external LED drivers limits the installations to headlights where there is room to mount the LED driver. Some headlights are large enough so the LED driver can fit inside them, and the dust caps can still be closed. Others are too small and require the use of an all-in-one bulb to fit under a dust caps.
Not all LED bulbs have an adjustable beam. What this means is that you can rotate the LED body in the headlight so the LED chips face 3 and 9 o'clock for best projection. Some vehicles may require the LEDs to be at 12 and 6 o'clock. Having adjustable beam gives you the ability to adjust the light so you get the best light pattern and reflection from the lens in your vehicle. LEDs designed specifically for projector headlights do not need to be adjusted at all (N2-P, R1, R1T Series).
LED SERIES TIMELINE:
2014 - L1 (1800lm), L2 (3200lm)
2015 - 2S, 6G, G5, P6, 8G, R3
2016 - 7G, NS, N1/S1
2017 - X3, Q7, M1, S2, S2 canbus, C6, G10 canbus
2018 - X5, V6, P7 Eccentric, M1, M1 BT canbus, M1D, GT, X7 canbus, J1D dual color, S1P
2019 - V10, M2, D1, S7 canbus w/lens warming, M3 wireless, X9, Z3 canbus, 5S Plus, MI2, X6, R1T Projector, V10P
2020 - V13, K3 Lime Green, V12X, V13S, X9S, U9, R4, Y9/Y10, F12 dual color w/emergency flashing, V1, X9 Black, F6 CARBON, X8, S1D, A5, Q3
2021 - X10i No Polarity, Q7, F10 fog lights, N2-P projector, S5
2022 - GTS PRO, F5, V10PS, H55
2023 - R8 MiNi, F8, F3S Pro, R8 Pro, X20, F30W, D5 (AC/DC capable for snowmobiles)