OEM and even aftermarket HID replacement bulbs are expensive, but I found a set of bulbs so cheap it's almost unbelievable.
The other night the passenger side bulb on project Lexus turned a nice shade of purple. The next time I turned on the lights, the passenger bulb was dead.
I priced the OEM bulbs at about $90 each bulb! ouch! $180 to replace bulbs? There are full HID conversion kits for less. Aftermarket bulbs varied around $40-80, each bulb, still in the $80-160 range for a pair.
I wanted to keep the standard 4300k temperature rating as I don't care for the "blue" or "purple" lights and my understanding is that the closer to sunlight (around 4300-4500k) you are the better your actual visibility. 6000k and beyond actually have less visibility than the typical OEM color which is around 4300k. The number has nothing to do with how bright it is, everything to do with the color.
Anyway, I found a "generic" bulb on Amazon from Maxlux that I thought I'd give a shot. It was $36.99 for a PAIR which is so stinkin' cheap that even if they sucked, it was worth a try at least. Maxlux seems to offer other HID bulb sizes too (D4R, D2S,=, etc) as well as some kits which I can't say anything about as I've never used them. None the less, worth looking into if you're looking for HID bulbs.
The bulbs are slightly shorter than the factory bulbs and the base is slightly different but fitment was perfect. I replaced the passenger side bulb first and drove around with one factory and one Maxlux bulb for about a week. There was no significant color difference and if anything the new bulb was brighter (probably more due to being new than anything) and closer to white than the factory one (also probably due to age).
Today I replaced the driver's side bulb because I like to have a matched pair and the driver bulb is likely to burn out soon anyway.
TIP: I saved the driver's side bulb as I like to keep a spare bulb for "mission critical" lights in the trunk in case I need it and I'm unable to get to a store for some reason (which has happened before).
I'll update this page in a while if I come across any premature burnout issues, but everything so far seems great. For nearly $140 less than factory replacements, if you're replacing your factory HID bulbs (D2R or D2C), you should take a look at these. Even if they last half as long, they're still significantly cheaper and I highly doubt they will. There are almost 4 sets of these before you buy a set of OEM bulbs, food for thought.
Update: Lasted well over 4 years, sold the car before they burned out.
Note For IS300 Owners Only: There is no need to remove the bumper to change low beam bulbs. Just twist off the cover and work carefully. It's tight, but even with large hands you should be able to do it in 5-10 minutes per side, easily. Wear nitrile or latex gloves.
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