Toyota switch from LED vs. incandescent

RedShift42

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Question for the always-knowing automotive-insider mods...
Why do you think Toyota made a seemingly backward step, switching from LED taillights to incandescent in the mid 20-teens? Was this engineering or bean-counter driven? Or maybe something discovered about the LED performance in certain conditions that was problematic?

By no means am I in the LED-is-always-better camp, but I recently followed two similar Gen3 Toyota Siennas in inclement weather and was struck by the relative vividness of the slightly older van's LED taillights.
I now find myself considering a retrofit upgrade of those OE 2011-14 tails to my own 2016 Sienna.
 
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-Virgil-

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Totally cost-driven: if they wanted to do LED headlamps (for example), OK, but that meant cost had to be reduced elsewhere to stay within the program budget. Once lower-cost LED tail/stop/turn signal technology options became available, and as LED headlamp system costs dropped, it became less of an either-or situation.
 

RedShift42

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Totally cost-driven: if they wanted to do LED headlamps (for example), OK, but that meant cost had to be reduced elsewhere to stay within the program budget. Once lower-cost LED tail/stop/turn signal technology options became available, and as LED headlamp system costs dropped, it became less of an either-or situation.
Given your seeming access to engineering lighting studies, do you have an opinion on those '11–14 LED taillights versus the '15+ incandescents— six or 1/2dozen of the other? I'm aware they both check the same regulatory/standards boxes but that doesn't mean their performance is the same.
If it were your vehicle and you found a set of those OE LEDs and a fair price, would you bother?
(And FWIW, both styles use amber incandescent turn signals)
 

-Virgil-

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Assuming no hidden physical incompatibility, and no electrical difficulties (bulb outage/diagnostics?), I'd say you're on the right track putting on the pre-decontenting, factory LED tails.
 

TechGuru

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I dislike factory LED turn signals/brake lights because when one goes out you'll wind up with ten tickets by the time you can get it replaced since it will have to be special ordered from the dealer or somewhere online then is probably out of stock due to the current state of the world. I'd rather be able to replace it right away with a readily available bulb.

If you do have factory LED turns/brakes, I'd keep a set of magnetic towing lights in your emergency bag to slap on the vehicle if one goes out.
 

-Virgil-

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I dislike factory LED turn signals/brake lights because when one goes out you'll wind up with ten tickets by the time you can get it replaced since it will have to be special ordered from the dealer

Are you OK? You sound like you have a very, very high fever.
 

TechGuru

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Are you OK? You sound like you have a very, very high fever.
Must be COVID...
And the only prescription is more incandescence?
I never said incandescent. Just a readily available "bulb" of some sorts. If vehicle manufactures could come up with some kind of standardized LED modules that the end user can replace themselves and the parts stores can stock on the shelf it would solve the problem.

Just in the past few months I have been behind several vehicles with LED tail lights where one side or the other was totally dead.
 

Alaric Darconville

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If vehicle manufactures could come up with some kind of standardized LED modules that the end user can replace themselves and the parts stores can stock on the shelf it would solve the problem.
The way a great many stop/turn/tail assemblies are made, this would make them much more expensive to make and much more susceptible to the problems associated with replaceable light source lamps-- potential for vibration and moisture or dust incursion to cause problems for the lamp.

Not to mention the potential for tons of junk "upgrades" to start proliferating. The completely sealed assembly is largely tamper-proof (or at least made much more difficult to tamper with).

Just in the past few months I have been behind several vehicles with LED tail lights where one side or the other was totally dead.
Maybe it's just a feed or ground issue. It's much more common to see an LED assembly where individual emitters are out, not where the complete lamp assembly (or even an entire function of a multifunction lamp) is out.

It may be a matter of getting it covered under warranty (depending on age/mileage) as LEDs are not wear items like normal bulbs.
 

eggsalad

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I mean... I could make a similar argument about headlights. 35 years ago, you didn't see old cars with yellowed or fogged-over headlights, because every time you bought a new headlight bulb it came with a free, brand-new, reflector and lens. Were sealed beams objectively worse than modern composite headlights? Mostly. But a 10-year-old car with sealed beams probably has better headlights than a 10-year-old car does today.
 

-Virgil-

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I never said incandescent. Just a readily available "bulb" of some sorts. If vehicle manufactures could come up with some kind of standardized LED modules that the end user can replace themselves
These already exist. Osram, Stanley and others make them, and they're defined and standardized in UN Resolution RE5 (previously in UN Regulation 128, first published in 2013). They're used in an increasing number of cars; one example with a lot of them is the Toyota Corolla Sport. Before that, Osram had an earlier "Joule" family of replaceable LED light sources used primarily in the North American markets (Mercury Monterey, Chevrolet Malibu, etc).

Just in the past few months I have been behind several vehicles with LED tail lights where one side or the other was totally dead.
Out of...how many vehicles you've been in traffic with? And compared to...how many with dead incandescent lights? The problem isn't that LED lights on cars fail all the time and can't be fixed promptly; the problem is confirmation bias.

The failure rate of OE LED vehicle lights is extremely low. This advice of yours to carry around magnet-mount tow lights is just not warranted. Not even close.
 

-Virgil-

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I mean... I could make a similar argument about headlights. 35 years ago, you didn't see old cars with yellowed or fogged-over headlights, because every time you bought a new headlight bulb it came with a free, brand-new, reflector and lens. Were sealed beams objectively worse than modern composite headlights? Mostly. But a 10-year-old car with sealed beams probably has better headlights than a 10-year-old car does today.
Difference is, yours is a valid argument supportable by actual, objective reality. TechGuru's thing about failing LED brake lights isn't.
 

alpg88

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My 2005 accord had led tail lights, my 2009 accord had tail lights with bulbs. Same trim.
 

turbodog

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Question for the always-knowing automotive-insider mods...
Why do you think Toyota made a seemingly backward step, switching from LED taillights to incandescent in the mid 20-teens? Was this engineering or bean-counter driven? Or maybe something discovered about the LED performance in certain conditions that was problematic?

By no means am I in the LED-is-always-better camp, but I recently followed two similar Gen3 Toyota Siennas in inclement weather and was struck by the relative vividness of the slightly older van's LED taillights.
I now find myself considering a retrofit upgrade of those OE 2011-14 tails to my own 2016 Sienna.

Haven't they moved back to led now? On of my vehicles is a 19 Camry. It's got led on the back.

I like how the led turn on more quickly... increases stopping distance. I do NOT like how they turn off just as quickly.
 

hamhanded

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Haven't they moved back to led now? On of my vehicles is a 19 Camry. It's got led on the back.

I like how the led turn on more quickly... increases stopping distance. I do NOT like how they turn off just as quickly.
LED tails are nice as long as they don't have 10 Hz PWM or blink when the brake is first applied
 

LEDphile

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I like how the led turn on more quickly... increases stopping distance. I do NOT like how they turn off just as quickly.
Turn on and turn off times for LEDs are generally a design decision - the response times of the LEDs (and phosphors, if applicable) are essentially instantaneous on a timescale of visual perception. I know that there are some vendors that have asymmetric turn on and turn off times for turn signals, at least (e.g. ), although I haven't seen it for brake lights
 

-Virgil-

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My 2005 accord had led tail lights, my 2009 accord had tail lights with bulbs. Same trim.
The 2005 Accord had bulb-type tail lights. Either yours was a 2006-2007 model, or somebody put aftermarket LEDs on your car, or your recall is faulty.
 

-Virgil-

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I like how the led turn on more quickly... increases stopping distance.
That's the theory, and I want to believe, but research so far hasn't shown that this theoretical benefit translates into fewer crashes. See Effectiveness of LED Stop Lamps for Reducing Rear-End Crashes: Analyses of State Crash Data. It's worth noting an unfortunate design trend lately that might be dragging down the safety performance of vehicle stop lights: sure, some of them are big, but increasing numbers of them are very, very small.

I do NOT like how they turn off just as quickly.
As noted above, that's a decision made by the automaker, but...what disadvantage do you perceive to an instant-off stop light?
 

hamhanded

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As noted above, that's a decision made by the automaker, but...what disadvantage do you perceive to an instant-off stop light?
I had to think about it a bit, and it's probably not what turbodog was thinking of, but brake lights that were to delay 2 seconds before turning off would do nicely to smooth out the erratic blinking from the drivers that are neurotic about the brake pedal.
 

alpg88

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The 2005 Accord had bulb-type tail lights.
OOPS, my mistake, it was brand new 2006 accord that i got in Nov. 2005, you are correct 2005 had complete different tail lights much longer one, and had all bulbs.
I also remember my wife crashed it in a little over a month, with not even 1000 miles on it, and we had to wait for tail light, cuz it was new type and not widely available yet.
 
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