Replacement Bulbs for 2013 Subaru WRX 5 door Non HID

sachin528

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May 6, 2014
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Hello.

I was recommended to the forum from a fellow Subaru owner.

My goal was (and is) to replace the factory bulbs (they have not burned out yet (car is 18 mos old)) but I'd like more light.

The car is leased, so swapping out housings is out of the question (higher end WRX/STi have the same housing but have the ballasts, etc. for HIDs.

I started researching and I found out the Subaru has H11 bulbs in the headlights and 9006 bulbs in the fog lights, which are uselss.

Initially, I thought it was a simple "brand vs brand" comparison but now I am confused with all the lingo.

Is H11 a socket/type of mounting? Or is it a type of bulb?

This leads to recommendation of bulbs.

Here is what I am looking for (and maybe my parameters are inconsistent, hence why I am here)

#1) Has to fit factory housing and wiring. No altering of the electrical system.

#2) Longevity/Durability. I realize with brighter lights, bulbs lifespan goes down. I would like to install bulbs that last 1-1.5 years.

#3) Cost - I would like to spend less than $100 for all four (Will replace the fogs as well). On that note, if the consensus is to get super bright headlights, will it even be smart to replace the fog lights or will they be washed away by the headlights?

I started with Osram Night Breakers vs Phillips ExtremeVision.

Any help, advice, recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

TIA.

Sachin
 

-Virgil-

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Mar 26, 2004
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7,802
Hello.

I was recommended to the forum from a fellow Subaru owner.

Welcome to the forum.

swapping out housings is out of the question (higher end WRX/STi have the same housing but have the ballasts, etc. for HIDs.

That's a common misunderstanding. It's not actually true. In fact, the low beam projector is optically very different. The reflector, the lens, and the bulb seat are all different. Usually if you trace the false same-housing claim back far enough, you'll find someone selling or bragging about "HID kits", which are illegal and dangerous.

I started researching and I found out the Subaru has H11 bulbs in the headlights and 9006 bulbs in the fog lights, which are uselss.

The low beam bulb is an H11. The high beam is an HB3 (9005). The fog lamp is an HB4 (9006). Fog lamps are generally useless, yes. Most people don't correctly understand fog lamps' actual purpose. They should almost never be lit, the one and only job they can potentially do is to help you creep along home in very bad weather at extremely low speeds. There's a big, reliable writeup on the subject here.

Is H11 a socket/type of mounting? Or is it a type of bulb?

H11 is a type of bulb. Like every other type of bulb, it has its physical, electrical, and optical properties. Usually you physically cannot swap in any but the specified type of bulb and have an effective/safe result, if you can even fit a non-specified type of bulb which you usually can't. There are a few cases where you can, though, including the H11 projectors in your car. You can swap in an H9 bulb that has had small, minor modifications made to it (file/grind away the ridge in the bulb's connector that prevents most H11 sockets from snapping into place). This is by no means a universal swap; it works safely on certain lamps. To get a good H9 bulb, just stick with a reputable brand (GE, Philips, Narva, Osram-Sylvania) and make sure to get just a regular H9 bulb, not one claiming to produce "whiter" light (those all have blue glass, which blocks light that would reach the road if the glass were not tinted). There are also high-output H11 bulbs; the best of these is the Philips Xtreme Vision. You can see a very good, realistic, evidence-based comparison of an original-equipment long-life H11, an H11 Xtreme Vision, and an H9 in a projector similar to the one on your car here.

The Philips Xtreme Vision 9006 would also be the top choice for your fog lamps, but it's probably not cost-effective to replace the bulbs in the fog lamps because really, they should almost never be turned on. Don't attempt to use anything other than an HB4 (9006) bulb in the fog lamps.

If you want to upgrade the high beam headlamps, get Philips HIR1 (9011) bulbs, and trim their widest base tab as shown here.

Higher-output bulbs have shorter life than lower-output bulbs. That is an unfortunate fact of life. Depending on how you use your lamps, you may or may not get your 1 to 1.5 years out of them. However, the recommended bulbs don't cost a lot, especially if you leave the fog lamps alone.
 

hokiefyd

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Sep 11, 2012
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Sachin, your research is good on the H11 bulbs. H11 is one type of bulb; there are many different bulbs with slightly different sizes and types of connections. The Philips Xtreme Vision is an excellent H11 bulb, and will probably be one of your best choices. There may be other options depending on the type of headlamp you have.

I would not recommend replacing the fog lamp bulbs. If they're used properly, they're used VERY infrequently, and then only to illuminate the edges of the road in heavy fog. Significantly increasing output here is a bit contrary to the mission...you don't want to wash the whole front of the car with light from the fog lamps...you just need to see the edges of the road. I'd leave the stock HB4 (9006) bulbs in place. Our 2005 Acura MDX still has the factory-installed HB4 (9006) bulbs in its fog lamp housings. They haven't burned out because we've never really used 'em.
 

sachin528

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May 6, 2014
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Thank you very much for your advice.

As for the fog light - as it stands right now, I must have my low beams on in order for the fog lights to come on. The low beams are so bright, that they over power the fogs. (I rarely, if ever, have the fog lights on (even in fog), as they are useless). I understand the concept of not having them on all the time - defeats the point of having them.

However, it would be nice if they were actually did what they were "designed" to do. :LOL. No worries though. We don't have much fog, and I am purchasing brighter low beams so it does not matter.

Thanks again for your assistance.
 

Kilroytheknifesnob

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Apr 20, 2014
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I recommend finding bulbs that use Halogen Infrared Reflective (HIR) technology. I use Orsam 65W ones in my 05 Subaru. Supposedly, H9 bulbs are easily trimmed to fit H11 sockets, so that may expand your range of options.
 

-Virgil-

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Mar 26, 2004
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The only HIR bulbs that will fit the original poster's car are the ones that can be made to fit in place of his HB3 high beams, already recommended in post #2 of this thread. There are no HIR bulbs that can be made to fit in place of H11 bulbs.
 
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