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Now that we are in the dark time of year for those of us in the Northern tier of states, the shortcomings of the headlights in the MH are particularly noticeable, especially in rainy weather. There are times I swear the lights are not even on. I am wondering if there is a simple swap-out or upgrade of the Halogen bulbs that will improve this situation.

I did go back and read some of the threads in the general forum and noted that LED swap-outs may not work over the long haul and there was one fellow who did a complete HID conversion and you-tubed it, with an apparently good result. As some time has passed since those threads were active I would like to hear from others who have had success upgrading the MH headlights. In particular has anyone had a dealer do a mod and at what cost.
 

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Use the Advanced Search and look for "SNGL" and "V4" or "V-4". There are several members who have gotten LED bulbs and really like them. You should even be able to do the swap yourself since all it mostly entails is changing bulbs.
 

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I did a HID conversion in my '15 that has projector housings. Zero issues and I would suspect no issues in a Gen 9 either.
 

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I have little doubt that a properly chosen H.I.D. conversion will out perform an L.E.D. swap in the Malibu's projector headlights. H.I.D.s have a "singularity" light source that more closely matches the geometry of the halogen bulb that the Malibu's projectors were designed for. No L.E.D. can truly match that geometry. Having said that, I am thoroughly pleased with the L.E.D. swap that I chose for my MH. I just couldn't face the cutting/drilling/hacking on my brand new MH that an H.I.D. conversion would have entailed. The below-linked L.E.D.s, by comparison, are a simple bulb swap...no hacking required. If you do succeed in finding those two other rather long threads on this subject, you'll find quite a few of us chose these:

https://www.amazon.com/SNGL-Super-Bright-Headlight-Conversion/dp/B01M26NCW5/ref=yo_ii_pd_dx_gr_2/146-6323128-8873164?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01M26NCW5&pd_rd_r=4b8d945e-d6a8-46d0-b088-183efc2dfd5d&pd_rd_w=XFllP&pd_rd_wg=ue2fK&psc=1&refRID=0PQ3FP9P8JA0ANGXR1QE

and are still quite happy with them. I went through an (unknowingly) unnecessary song and dance with SNGL's unreliable (at least, when used on the Malibu Hybrid) anti-flicker harnesses on my MH (turns out that the MH does not require anti-flicker harnesses anyway). Since I removed those harnesses, my L.E.D.s have been "stone axe" reliable. The anti-flicker harnesses are rated for a maximum operating voltage of 14. The MH's "12V" system sometimes runs at as much as 15.5V, and the anti-flicker harnesses just aren't up to that.

The massive improvement of these L.E.D.s over the stock halogens comes from the L.E.D.s' far whiter light output of 6000K . They're not really all that much brighter than the halogens (which do throw an adequate amount of light)...they're just so much whiter that they eliminate eye strain in these 65-year-old peepers. I have no trouble seeing clearly in the dark now...even when it's raining.

If you choose to use this link, be sure you pick the correct bulb number. These L.E.D.s have been so reliable, and it's been so long since I installed them, that I'm no longer sure (without looking in my owner's manual) which bulb number is correct. I know these things aren't cheap, but they converted my MH into a 24-hour-useable highway star, when I had been avoiding driving it at night, so it was the best money I've spent on the car, no question.

BTW, there is a special, newer version of the L.E.D.s that I linked above that has been "optimized for projector housings". Test photos posted by members who have tried these newer versions indicate that they may well do a slightly better job...but only on low beam. They appear to fall down a bit on high beam when compared to the above-linked bulbs, though. This is endemic of the unavoidable physical L.E.D. geometry deficiency that I mentioned earlier. If the L.E.D. chip is placed in an optimum position for low beam, then its position will not be favorable for high beam use. Since I do use my high beams fairly often, I stuck with the above-linked bulbs and have been very happy with them...on both low and high beams. YMMV...

And btw, here's a link to one of the shorter threads on this subject:

https://www.chevymalibuforum.com/threads/led-headlights-not-good-for-projection-beams.110225/
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bob, Thank you for your astute ruminations and recommendations on the MH headlight problems. I plan to go with the plug and play LEDs. At least now I will see the deer in my headlights before he crumples my front end.
 

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I tried a couple different LED bulbs before I finally caved and did an HID conversion. I used a high quality kit made by Phillips. I ended up using a relay harness and resisters to fake out the control module so it wouldn't throw a code. I came to the conclusion that LEDs were a waste of time. They just don't project a concentrated light by design. The idea of an LED bulb designed for projector beam lenses sounds like it could work, but it would have to make a huge difference to compare to HIDs. I'll see if I can find my old post about it.
 

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I tried a couple different LED bulbs before I finally caved and did an HID conversion. I used a high quality kit made by Phillips. I ended up using a relay harness and resisters to fake out the control module so it wouldn't throw a code. I came to the conclusion that LEDs were a waste of time. They just don't project a concentrated light by design. The idea of an LED bulb designed for projector beam lenses sounds like it could work, but it would have to make a huge difference to compare to HIDs. I'll see if I can find my old post about it.
That would be great as I have not yet pulled the trigger.
 

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I would recommend HID. Why ? The headlight housing design is for a halogen bulb which has a 360 deg. light output. LED replacement bulbs have a directional output usually sideways not 360 degree like a halogen bulb or a HID bulb which is also a 360 output. The LED will leave dim spots, some are adjustable to help that issue by rotating the bulb to redirect some of the beam. LED replacements look bright when viewing the light itself but IMO they don't put enough light down the road where you need it. You need light 80 ft. down the road not right in front of the car 30 ft. out. If you notice most cars with OEM LED lights have multiple LED's on each headlight aimed out directly and are not using a reflector or projector lens.
 

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I would recommend HID. Why ? The headlight housing design is for a halogen bulb which has a 360 deg. light output. LED replacement bulbs have a directional output usually sideways not 360 degree like a halogen bulb or a HID bulb which is also a 360 output. The LED will leave dim spots, some are adjustable to help that issue by rotating the bulb to redirect some of the beam. LED replacements look bright when viewing the light itself but IMO they don't put enough light down the road where you need it. You need light 80 ft. down the road not right in front of the car 30 ft. out. If you notice most cars with OEM LED lights have multiple LED's on each headlight aimed out directly and are not using a reflector or projector lens.
The first time driving my 2017 Malibu Hybrid at night on a winding road I thought I was losing my eyesight. My passenger reassured me it wasn’t me. I pulled off the road to read about lights in the manual and learned about the button. The high beams come on,(or so it seems,) and they revert to normal output when oncoming light is sensed.
Does this mean the normal low beam mode of lighting is inadequate? I know that an attempt to reduce power to save electric power consumption is a factor in low light for the hybrid or electric car. Do the headlights receive a variable voltage for normal operation or is a binary off-on?
 

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Auto dimming will drop high beams to low beam. Only variable voltage I've ever encountered is reduced voltage for daytime running lights that use high beams for the DRL . I've heard some Auto dimmers will falsely sense oncoming lights and drop to low beam when they shouldn't. Not sure if your cars sensitivity can be adjusted or disabled. I personally prefer to be in control of my own lighting systems.
 

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Auto dimming will drop high beams to low beam. Only variable voltage I've ever encountered is reduced voltage for daytime running lights that use high beams for the DRL . I've heard some Auto dimmers will falsely sense oncoming lights and drop to low beam when they shouldn't. Not sure if your cars sensitivity can be adjusted or disabled. I personally prefer to be in control of my own lighting systems.
Night driving on dark side roads is my issue. My windshield has an imaginary line about eye level which also moves up and down if my head goes up or down. For the passenger as well. I just hit button on blinker lever for automatic highs. It works great. It’s so unimportant that I haven’t asked the dealership about it. Maybe I will ask about it next oil change.
 

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The first time driving my 2017 Malibu Hybrid at night on a winding road I thought I was losing my eyesight. My passenger reassured me it wasn’t me. I pulled off the road to read about lights in the manual and learned about the button. The high beams come on,(or so it seems,) and they revert to normal output when oncoming light is sensed.
Does this mean the normal low beam mode of lighting is inadequate? I know that an attempt to reduce power to save electric power consumption is a factor in low light for the hybrid or electric car. Do the headlights receive a variable voltage for normal operation or is a binary off-on?
I have yet to experience an "auto high beam" system that worked properly in all situations, so I turned off my MH's system right away.

The Malibu's projector housing utilizes one single-filament bulb, running at constant voltage (square-wave DC), as a light source. The low/high beam function is accomplished by blocking half of the light output in front of the bulb with a movable shadow mask on low beam, and moving the mask out of the way on high beam. If you stand in front of the car while someone switches from low to high and back, you'll be able to hear the stepper motors inside the housings moving the masks up and down. As to the stock halogen light output, it's so incredibly yellow and dingy in nature that it gives a strong impression that it's really way too dim. The L.E.D.s that I linked to above are so much whiter that they literally bring day to night. The whole low beam field becomes an nice even blanket of white light, and though I expected to see dimmer shadow spots within this field, that has just not proven to be the case. The cutoff is, if anything, even sharper than it is with the stock bulbs. And, the high beams easily and brightly light up road signs, edges, etc. over a mile away.

Really, how much light do you need? I fully appreciate what others here are saying about the theoretical (and practical) performance superiority of H.I.D.s, but these L.E.D.s have worked out so well that I roundly dismissed the idea of cutting into and then satisfactorily weather sealing my wiring and housings, and then having to worry about where to mount ballasts/relays for proper cooling/waterproofing, etc., blah, blah, blah. I don't blame anyone for doing so, as theory suggests that their results will be better than what I've achieved with these L.E.D.s, but how much better could they be? I'm satisfied that another incremental 10 or even 20% improvement (at most) wouldn't be worth the hassle and damage inflicted on my car when I'm already thrilled with what I have now.

CMF Edit: Double-post removed per member, who was prevented from being able to edit by the system.
 
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