2004 Prius Light Upgrades

After having some pretty dark window tinting installed, I found that backing up was a bit more difficult. Thanks to the rotten design of the CHMSL on the spoiler - the CHMSL throws too much light onto the vertical hatch glass, and the red glare makes that pane useless for backing up (this was true before tinting. The dark tint has lessened the red glare, but I needed more white light to see well. I'm also considering taping over the bottom part of the spoiler light to see if it helps). I decided to see if brighter bulbs existed. They do, but they're expensive.

I got my bulbs from Options Auto Salon, as they had the cheapest RB-R112s, even after their steep shipping (which actually went down after adding more bulbs):

The RB-R103s should fit other places on the car (license plate, vanity, luggage compartment, door courtesy), once I have them, I'll try check that out and give feedback on them.

After installing them, I was disappointed in them (or impressed by the stock bulbs, I'm not sure which). They didn't seem any brighter. However, when I took pics of them, I could definitely see a difference, and when backing up the first time, I definitely had more of my driveway illuminated. So I'm pleased overall. Besides, now I don't have amber rear turn signals (I hate amber rear turn signals) ;-)

Update: I just bought some 7500K temp 9006 bulbs from Ebay for the foglights. The foglights have always looked really yellow compared to the factory HIDs, so I decided to give some whiter bulbs a try. Pics of how to access the foglights to change the bulbs are at the bottom, as well as a pic comparing the stock to the 7500K.

Click on the pics if you want to see the fullsize versions (you'll need to, to get the full effect).

    Upgraded bulbs on the left. It may not look a lot brighter, but notice the larger red/orange halo and more bumper illumination on the left lamp compared to the right. These are the RB-R103 running/parking lights.

    The PLG-M23 red turn-signal bulb on the left. This is between flashes. It is a bit dimmer than the stock amber on the right, but I'd rather have red.

    The PLG-M23 red turn-signal bulb on the left. This is during the flash.

    The RB-R112 backup bulb on the left. Again, it may not look a lot brighter, but notice the larger halo that almost obscures the rest of the taillight housing on the left lamp compared to the right.

    The backup bulbs, using a different f-stop to get rid of most of the glare. You can still see that the left is brighter than the right.

Foglight bulbs

    The 2 10mm bolts that need to be removed are circled. These really are the only bolts that need to be removed in order to access the back of the foglight, even if you have huge hands like mine.

    Once the 2 bolts are out of the way, pull the liner down as pictured. Put your hand in that cavity and find the foglight bulb, and turn it counterclockwise in relation to the rear of the foglight. So when facing the front of the car, you would turn it clockwise. Pull the harness down, depress the tab on the socket, and remove the bulb. Put the new bulb in place, taking care to not touch the bulb's glass surface. Replace the socket in the foglight, taking care to wiggle it around until it seats flat in the foglight before twisting it to lock it into place. Push the liner back into place and screw the bolts back into place.

    Here's a comparison of the stock bulb on the driver's side and the 7500K bulb on the passenger side. Note how the 7500K matches the factory HIDs very well, while the factory is yellow compared to the HIDs.

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Last modified: Jan 28, 2005
Copyright 2003-5, Tom Stangl