Headlamp bulb replacement / upgrade options?

j45

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Mazda 2016.5 CX5 GT
Greetings all, I have a 2016.5 CX-5 Grand Touring AWD (with only 22,000 miles on it) and find that the headlights are not quite adequate for me in all situations.

When I first became aware of halogen or whatever these newer lamps are compared to the old time headlights, they are brighter but the color temperature of the light is colder rather than warmer. I find that not all things in the headlights range are easy to see for this reason. I replaced my 2013 Civics bulbs with Sylvanias and it was aweful. I didnt think the brighter bulbs were worth it because I couldnt see detail as well mostly from the sides compared to the stock bulbs that were in there. But that was some time ago. I do remember when these new tech bulbs came out there was some controversy. Just don't know what today's bulbs are like.

Perhaps its my eyes but one night traveling not far from our house on a road with some street lamps my wife warned me about a deer in the opposite lane. I didnt even see it until the guy in the opposite lane lit it with his headlights (yeah he hit it but thats not the story here) I was looking straight ahead where she sees things on the side of the road I dont, but for that reason I need all the help I can get.

I just want to see better. the way the headlights are I sometimes am compelled to switch to high beams where others may not. They dont seem to reach much. I have fog lights but I understand its not legal to run them unless its actually foggy (at least in CT) not sure that's a remedy anyway

I need sources for information on this.

Sorry to be lengthy about this but I am not sure how to discuss my problem without going into this detail

Will a bulb (they are advertising the Silvania on TV like mad) that simply projects much farther give me what I need? (without blinding everyone in the opposite direction) I am not going to spend $30-$60- or so per bulb just to try out. I did that with the Honda Civic 6-10 years ago and it wasnt good.

Sorry to be lengthy. I need any info offered.
 

yrwei52

2016 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD w/Tech Pkg
Contributor
:
Plano, Texas, USA
Greetings all, I have a 2016.5 CX-5 Grand Touring AWD (with only 22,000 miles on it) and find that the headlights are not quite adequate for me in all situations.

When I first became aware of halogen or whatever these newer lamps are compared to the old time headlights, they are brighter but the color temperature of the light is colder rather than warmer. I find that not all things in the headlights range are easy to see for this reason. I replaced my 2013 Civics bulbs with Sylvanias and it was aweful. I didnt think the brighter bulbs were worth it because I couldnt see detail as well mostly from the sides compared to the stock bulbs that were in there. But that was some time ago. I do remember when these new tech bulbs came out there was some controversy. Just don't know what today's bulbs are like.

Perhaps its my eyes but one night traveling not far from our house on a road with some street lamps my wife warned me about a deer in the opposite lane. I didnt even see it until the guy in the opposite lane lit it with his headlights (yeah he hit it but thats not the story here) I was looking straight ahead where she sees things on the side of the road I dont, but for that reason I need all the help I can get.

I just want to see better. the way the headlights are I sometimes am compelled to switch to high beams where others may not. They dont seem to reach much. I have fog lights but I understand its not legal to run them unless its actually foggy (at least in CT) not sure that's a remedy anyway

I need sources for information on this.

Sorry to be lengthy about this but I am not sure how to discuss my problem without going into this detail

Will a bulb (they are advertising the Silvania on TV like mad) that simply projects much farther give me what I need? (without blinding everyone in the opposite direction) I am not going to spend $30-$60- or so per bulb just to try out. I did that with the Honda Civic 6-10 years ago and it wasnt good.

Sorry to be lengthy. I need any info offered.
If you’re an older aged driver the problem could be from your eyes. One of the cataract symptoms is having trouble to see in the dark during the night time driving.

That’s why I always get the best available headlights whenever I was purchasing a new vehicle in recent years due to my poor vision in night time driving. Factory fog lights also are a must for wider light coverage. I special ordered my 2000 BMW 528i with factory Xenon headlights because none of the new 5 Series in dealer’s lot (or in whole state) was having this option. And at the time the salesman didn’t even know what are they as nobody had ever ordered the HID option. I replaced the halogen headlight and fog light bulbs to high-powered bulbs on my 1998 Honda CR-V and 2001.5 VW Passat even though people thought they’re not necessary. Of course I special ordered my latest 2016 Mazda CX-5 GT with optional Tech Package mainly for LED headlights、LED fog lights、and adaptive front-light system (AFS). When a friend who took my advice getting a 2016.5 CX-5 GT new at the time, he declined my suggestion paying extra for the Tech Package as he has excellent eyesights and has no problem driving in the night with standard halogen headlights on CX-5 GT.

From my experience the factory HID headlights on my 528i are the best with 4100K color temperature. CX-5’s LED headlights are too white by the natural and are bad for reaching far. The easiest mod to improve the lighting for you is getting a good pair of high-powered “xenon” halogen bulbs with good reviews. I prefer lower color temperature such as 4000K ~ 5000K range not to be blueish. Your low-beams use HB-3 / 9005 and high-beams use H11. You only need better halogen bulbs to “upgrade” low-beams. Philips and Osram are the brands I like to use. Of course the drawback of those halogen upgrade bulbs is shorter service life. Newer LED upgrade bulbs should last a bit longer. But IMO the higher color temperature may not help the older aged driver too much. And the multiple LED light sources on the LED bulb is not suitable for the factory headlight projector or reflector which is designed for a single point light source from the halogen or xenon bulb.
 
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j45

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Mazda 2016.5 CX5 GT
Thank you for this info. This will help. I had my cataracts done. I think I have the tech package will have to check. something about LED rings a bell. Not on main roads I will kick in the fog lamps. Good stuff on the color temp.
 
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yrwei52

2016 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD w/Tech Pkg
Contributor
:
Plano, Texas, USA
Thank you for this info. THis will help. I had my cataracts done. I think I have the tech package will have to check. something about LED rings a bell. Not on main roads I will kick in the fog lamps. Good stuff on the color temp.
If your 2016.5 CX-5 GT does have optional Tech Package, your option for headlight “improvement” will be very limited. Check to see if the DRLs of your CX-5 are on the high-beams (non-LED headlights) or have LED signature accent strips.
 
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2016.5 CX-5 GT AWD titanium/black 2016 Miata Club ST MT white
I have the same CX as you do j45, no tech package though.

I have no issues with visibility at night, although my wife does. But she has that problem no matter what car she's in.

I keep my 'fog light' switch in the on position all the time and my headlights are set to auto. So when the headlights come on so do the 'fog lights'.

I put the 'fog lights' in quotations because I wouldn't really consider them to be true fog lights, more like driving lights since they are a bit wimpy as far as light output goes. That said, they do help me see the side of the road a bit better than without.

I'm in Illinois and I do not know what my state's laws are concerning the use of fog lights when it's not foggy but I've never had a issue with using them.

Do your fog lights help you out at all?

My advice would be to do as I do and leave them on all the time when using the headlights. It would be much preferable for you to see what's in front of you, and to the sides, and risk getting pulled over because of using them when it's not foggy than it would be to hit something because you can't see it.

I don't know for sure about your state but I doubt that you would get pulled over just because you were using these wimpy fog lights when it's not foggy.

YMMV
 
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2019 CX5 Reserve AWD
Thank you for this info. This will help. I had my cataracts done. I think I have the tech package will have to check. something about LED rings a bell. Not on main roads I will kick in the fog lamps. Good stuff on the color temp.
I had cataract surgery in both eyes and my vision is better than 20/20. That said, the headlights in my 2016 Touring suck. They do a bad job at illuminating dark roads. The headlights in our 2019 Reserve are awesome. They illuminate the back roads like it's daylight. Now if only I could find decent bulbs for the 16. I know they're not LED probably Halogen.
 
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Virginia
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2021 CX-5 White
I am not sure I can easily find the specification deck on the 2016.5 CX5. My guess is this is the last version of the first generation KE CX-5's if you can believe the Wikipedia entry. The 2017 seems to be the start of the present 2nd generation KF CX-5s
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_CX-5
2016.5 North American update
At the end of 2015, Mazda increased the level of standard equipment offered in the United States and Canada, labelling the upgraded vehicles as 2016.5 models.

In the United States, a backup camera and touchscreen infotainment system were made standard on the base Sport trim level with the automatic transmission, leaving the manual-transmission Sport as the only model to lack these features. The navigation system became standard on the mid-level Touring and top-level Grand Touring trim levels, along with heated front seats on the Touring.

List prices remained the same or increased, although the Touring and Grand Touring price increases were less than the premiums previously charged for the optional navigation system.
[48]

Referring to the 2016 Mazda Owners Manual it would seem that LED headlights with AFS are available equipment and the IIHS does confirm the GT with Technology Package has LED headlights. The yellow "A" rating shown means "Acceptable". You can see the straight ahead throw of the headlights is not optimal, a little short of optimal, as is the left side.
The best IIHS rating is a green "G". Below "A" is an orange "M" for marginal, and a red "P" for Poor.

That being said replacement of the LED headlights is not likely or easy. These LED headlights are not, to my knowledge, user replaceable as halogen headlights are, and to a lesser extent HID headlights, both of which yrwei52 discusses. I would caution that the cited color temperature 41K should be 4100K.

Based on personal experiences, the low wide beam spread of fog lights would not help you identify deer far out ahead, and to the side of the road, and can be a distraction to oncoming traffic. The fog lights help illuminate close in, but not far out.

In addition, the LED headlights you have include the Adaptive Front-Lighting System (AFS) which swivel headlight beams as you steer the car giving you added visibility. You can see that the left swivel is not as effective as the right swivel, which I suspect is largely due to the purposely asymmetric headlight beam pattern (typically, for left hand drive vehicles, the left side beams do not throw as far as the right side beams, because the left side beams can impact oncoming traffic).

Automotive headlights can be a complex subject, and I am not aware of much that can be done with the LED headlights. You can ask the dealer to check/readjust them, but I am going to guess they will decline or say there is no adjustment.

You might be able to research how to do this yourself, and it would be an interesting thread for the forum. Be aware that you will likely void warranties, and *could* damage the unit, based on attempts to adjust HID headlamps I have read about in the past.

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2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport FWD Auto
If your bulbs are halogens, I highly recommend upgrading them with an HID kit. It was a huge difference for my ‘13. If you have LEDs stock though, I agree with other posters. You’re going to be very limited on what you can do there.
 

yrwei52

2016 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD w/Tech Pkg
Contributor
:
Plano, Texas, USA
These LED headlights are not, to my knowledge, user replaceable as halogen headlights are, and to a lesser extent HID headlights, both of which yrwei52 discusses. I would caution that the cited color temperature 41K should be 4100K.
Yes, thanks for the correction. And I edited the color temperatures in my previous post.
 

yrwei52

2016 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD w/Tech Pkg
Contributor
:
Plano, Texas, USA
If your bulbs are halogens, I highly recommend upgrading them with an HID kit. It was a huge difference for my ‘13. If you have LEDs stock though, I agree with other posters. You’re going to be very limited on what you can do there.
I prefer the HID than LED headlights on performance. The only problem on HID is it takes a little more time to reach the full brightness when you turn it on.
 
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GA prior 16 CX5 GT
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20 CX5 GT + Prem
Make sure your low beams are correctly adjusted. I found my 2016 GT to be too low and raised them a bit. If you find a level lot next to a building you can pull up close, look at the light cut line and back up and watch the line drop to the ground and adjust the distance that way...
 
If you do have halogens and want to try something different, I have been very happy with Philips X-treme Vision lamps. One problem with the high output halogens is a short life. But these Philips X-treme have been on my RAV4 for three years now.

I've gotten to the point where I would never by Sylvania bulbs of any kind. Whether headlights, brake lights, or side markers, they never seem to last more than a year. When OEM bulbs always seem to last at least 5 years, I have concluded that Sylvania deliberately sell short-life bulbs so we have to buy them more often.
 
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