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Hi, I just this month took delivery of a nice 2011 Camry LE, low miles, very good condition. This is my first Camry, and I'm just starting to learn about it ...

The headlights on this car seem a bit weak. My friend's 2011 XLE has totally different looking lights that are much brighter. What options are there to improve my car's light output? Aftermarket light assemblies? Brighter bulbs? An option from the Toyota parts bin that will helpful? Can the XLE lights be installed on the LE?

I'm in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. Any recommendations for a truly top notch Camry tech?

Thanks,

Shel
 

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Also, and not that this will be what causes the entire difference, but what is the condition of your headlight covers versus his. If yours are yellowed and/or clouded while his are clear that can make a huge difference in the amount of light that gets thrown on the road ahead of you and how it's thrown.

Even slightly clouded lenses (whether scratches or plastic degrading on the exposed surface) turns them into a light diffuser that scatters light in all directions, and "softens" it, rather than letting it be aimed as the designers intended.

For myself, I absolutely despise, with a burning passion, HID headlights. And there are jurisdictions that have made same illegal as they tend to blind oncoming motorists (even on low beam). Provided you have clear plastic lenses on the front of the car, Sylvania's Silverstar series of headlights do tend to give a noticeable bump in light output without requiring anything beyond changing bulbs.
 
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08 Toyota Camry 2AZ-FE R9K Tuned
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Also, and not that this will be what causes the entire difference, but what is the condition of your headlight covers versus his. If yours are yellowed and/or clouded while his are clear that can make a huge difference in the amount of light that gets thrown on the road ahead of you and how it's thrown.

Even slightly clouded lenses (whether scratches or plastic degrading on the exposed surface) turns them into a light diffuser that scatters light in all directions, and "softens" it, rather than letting it be aimed as the designers intended.

For myself, I absolutely despise, with a burning passion, HID headlights. And there are jurisdictions that have made same illegal as they tend to blind oncoming motorists (even on low beam). Provided you have clear plastic lenses on the front of the car, Sylvania's Silverstar series of headlights do tend to give a noticeable bump in light output without requiring anything beyond changing bulbs.
HID's, LED's, take a pick. At the very least, the Gen 6 Camry's have projectors so they handle HID's better compared to reflectors.
 

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Camry Freak
Camry & Accord
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The 2011 Base, LE and XLE use the same headlight assemblies from the factory. If your friend has different-looking lights- it's either because one of your cars have had the headlights modified/replaced or that yours are just really cloudy or damaged from exposure to the sun.

Does your car have factory-installed headlamps? The part number for OEM headlights for the Base, LE and XLE are:

USA-Made:
Left: 81150-06500
Right: 81110-06500

Japanese-Made:
Left: 81170-33700
Right: 81130-33700

More than likely your car is a US-made model. I think that they stopped importing Camrys by 2011.

Toyota used different headlights for the SE that are darkened. Toyota also used a different pair for the hybrid models that have a slight blue tint.

The number one thing you can do to improve the performance of your headlights is to remove any haziness or cloudiness. Many cars this age- if they have been parked in the sun a lot- suffer from sun-damaged headlights and that can really impact how well they illuminate the road.

If yours are cloudy- clean them or replace them. That will significantly improve their performance. Even the best bulbs won't do much if your housings aren't clear.

Like I said- if your housings look significantly different from your friend's XLE (other than any cloudiness), that likely means that someone swapped out the headlights on one of them. There have been several posts of people who decide to replace their cloudy headlamps with cheap headlights from Ebay. Most of those are Chinese-made junk that either don't last long before getting hazy or just don't project the light correctly.

This is what the factory headlights on your LE should look like:
306213


Here are the same headlights on the XLE trim:
306214


If your car's headlights (or your friend's lights) look like this- that means that they have the blackened SE headlights installed:
306217

These are the hybrid's headlights- they have a slightly blue tint:
306216
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to all for your responses, they've been very helpful. I've got a good idea of what to do about my lighting concerns now, (y)(y)
 

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Official PITA
Solara 'Vert & ES350
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If the headlight assemblies are "projector" types, they should easily handle conversion to LED or HID bulbs.
LEDs are cheaper, and run cooler. Don't go nutty and replace the original (say) 1,000 lumen bulbs with (say) 20,000 lumen LED bulbs. If you limit yourself to a 50% - 60% increase in light output, and LED conversion is an inexpensive upgrade that won't blind other drivers. Do some research on automotive lighting on the Web.
Good Luck !!

BTW - from my experience, and that of others, if you go for the (pricey) Sylvania or Phillips, etc, "Silverstar" or other "premium" high-output halogen bulbs, at up to $50-$70 a pair, you'll find out that they burn-out quickly, 12-18months and poof.
 
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