I've probably spent at least a day researching this, trying to figure out what's going on. My car is a 2007 Buick LaCrosse CXS (3.6L DOHC), low-beams are H11, high-beams are H9, both in the same assembly along with the turn signal but different reflector housings. This issue is with my low-beams, I've never replaced my high-beams and they look fine when I flash them against a flat surface. Anyway, I have stock multi-faceted halogen reflector with bulb shields (glare shields, whatever) in both my low and high beam reflector housings. One of my original lamps burned out last week so I went ahead and replaced both lamps with some Sylvania SilverStar H11ST bulbs that I picked up a while ago but never installed because I didn't feel like taking apart the front end of my car. This time, my hand was forced. Installing new bulbs is not as easy as the owner's manual makes it sound. I didn't loosen the fascia when I installed the SilverStars so it took me 20+ minutes of all sorts of stuff to get the assemblies back in and flush with the fender(s), bumper cover, and getting the assembly to line up with the retainers. I did not touch the bulb itself when I installed the SilverStars or the XtraVisions. Needless to say, I really manhandled both assemblies I don't believe I damaged anything because both headlights are doing the exact same thing. After installation, I did not check the alignment and just assumed that it was correct. Never checked the pattern either. Took my car out for a spin and when I pulled back in my garage, I saw focused light (pattern) and then just a mess of diffused light. I know next to nothing about headlamps (now I do) so I figured bad bulbs, they'd been in my trunk for the better part of two years. Went and picked up a pair of Sylvania XtraVision H11XVs, put them in, waited until dark, exact same problem. Spent like six hours Googling that day (and the next day, and the next day, etc) trying to find a solution, coming up empty. The best I could find is that the pattern I'm getting is practically identical to that of an HID bulb in a reflector housing, although I do not have HIDs, nor will I ever. The first thing that came out of the Buick tech's mouth was "you put a HID light in a reflector housing?" This is making me seriously consider replacing both headlight assemblies because it's such a PITA and I won't be driving myself nuts trying to fix this. I commute 100 miles every day and, while it doesn't get dark until around 8 p.m. now, I'd LOVE to have this fixed by the time sunset is around 5 p.m. or earlier. All of the embedded pictures are of the XtraVisions.
Before vertical adjustment:
I took it in to the dealer two days ago, the tech says "Oh your headlights were just adjusted too low. I checked the assembly and I don't see any problems." He said he jiggled the front-end up my car and nothing was loose, reflector seems to be in the right place. He and everyone else I've talked to doesn't seem to understand the purpose of the bulb shield, even when I explain it. After the vertical alignment, problem still persists but it's actually worse because the beams are higher, scattering light literally 15+ feet ABOVE my car. It lights up the siding above my garage when the car is level and my jaw dropped when I saw that it lit up the underside of a bridge that's about 15 feet off the ground. It's scattering halos and ring patterns to the side as well. I'm EXTREMELY frustrated as no one has any idea what's wrong and I'm just taking shots in the dark. I'll come up with an idea, then refute it. Another idea, refute it. My latest and best explanation is that light is leaking or bending around the bulb shield and hitting the reflector in spots it's not supposed to. Why it would do that, I have no idea. The reflector on the driver's side is a little pitted, but neither reflector is melted or showing any signs of giving out like rippling around the bulb socket. Could I have twisted the bulbs in incorrectly? It is seemingly impossible to do as one of the tabs is larger than the rest so there's really only one way to do it or that the bulbs are crooked, which is also hard to believe but who knows. Another possible explanation I got is that the assembly can't handle the increased light output. Finally, could the headlights be out of alignment horizontally so bad that it causes this? Hoping someone here can shed light on the problem, no pun intended. Here's a few more pictures (I have a ton, but hopefully these are enough). ANY insight, advice, help, or solution would be appreciated as I'm just making educated guesses here.
Notice the rings projected onto the top of the garage door, then the ones a bit lower with that weird shape. The closer I get to a flat surface they diverge and converge the farther away I am. The glare/diffusion/scatter/whatever is going on looks a lot worse when I'm on the road.
Poor quality picture (phone camera). I had to park the car at an angle to get the effect to show itself. Notice the light on the soffiits, gutters, and siding above the garage. I whited out my street address so that's why there's the giant white blob on the lower left.