DIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs
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Thread: DIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs

  1. #1
    Shuttle Driver adamSX's Avatar
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    Lightbulb DIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs

    I ordered these amber LEDs (1156 11W Hi-Power LEDs) from DiodeDynamics.com for the rear turn signals on my SX. The rear turn signal bulbs are 1156 size in case you wanted to order a different one but I highly recommend these as they're perfect in my book.

    I wanted the instant on-off look that only LEDs can give you and I wanted them to be either as bright as or brighter than stock. I also had recently received the 57 SMD LED switchback bulbs from iJDMtoy.com and those look like a child's nightlight in comparison to the rear high powered LED bulbs. These LED rear turn signal bulbs weren't cheap as they retailed for $65 but I had $15 off in Diode points and various other percent off promotions but it really is a high quality product that produces the brightest amber light that I've ever seen in a LED bulb.

    My goal is to completely replace every filament bulb with LEDs (except the HIDs and high beams) as I can't stand the slow responding and cheap looking filament bulbs. And yes, I know that they are hyperflashing in the video. In order to avoid this phenomenon, you need to use a resistor for every bulb you change. It is very easy to add a resistor to the circuit but I have no experience with it. My friend will be helping me install resistors for all 4 turn signal bulbs that I've replaced.

    I will include some pictures and videos of my LED exploits below. Enjoy!

    1. In order to get to the bulbs, you first have to open your trunk and remove this little black panel. Just put your fingers in those grooves and pinch and it should just fall off into your hand.
    DIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs-trunkpanelon.jpgDIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs-trunkpaneloff.png

    2. For the next step you need to squeeze your fingers into that little compartment to unlock and pull out the bulb. You should press the little tab attached to the bulb in a down toward the ground or counterclockwise. You might want to find someone with small fingers/hand for this part.
    DIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs-rotatebulb.pngDIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs-bulbcompartment.png

    3. Once the bulb is unlocked, it can be gently wiggled out of the housing and toward you. Once you have the bulb out and you're able to handle the bulb itself, you just press down and turn counterclockwise to get it out of the brownish colored housing. Then you just insert the new bulb by lining the grooves on the bulb with the little holes on the housing. After it is inserted, you just press down and turn it clockwise to lock it in.

    4. Now that the bulb is in, make sure that it is inserted right and test it first before you secure it back in the housing. For me, I just pressed the lock or unlock button on the keyfob. If it didn't light up, try turning the bulb around. Once it lights up, it's ready to be shoved back in the housing. In order to do this, you can just wiggle it through the mess of wires and secure it into the hole and turn clockwise to lock it in the housing. In order to better do this, I had my hands working on the bulb while I had my head outside of the car and looking in the clear lens in order to guide the bulb in properly.

    Here are the results!
    DIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs-2012-09-20_16-58-31_572.jpgDIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs-2012-09-20_16-58-38_383.jpgDIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs-2012-09-20_17-36-49_343.jpgDIY: Bright LED Rear Turn Signal Bulbs-2012-09-20_17-39-24_463.jpg

    Here is my video demonstrating the difference between the stock and LED bulbs for the rear turn signals. I will have a night time one up later.

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  3. #2
    OptimaForums Veteran richysh's Avatar
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    Can you please take pictures when your friend is helping you with the install? I've been wanting to do the same but just like you, I'm not that great with these kinds of stuff.

    Thanks in advance!
    2012 Kia Optima SX Tech & Prem Touring Pkg. Satin Metal/Black 75k miles, purchased 01/07/2012
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  4. #3
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    I don't see a difference at all...
    2012 Kia Optima SX w/ Premium and Tech Package | Titanium Silver -- 20% back & 35% front tint, 2.0 K5 emblems, ARK springs, OEM DRL's, Rear-LED reflectors - SOLD
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  6. #4
    Shuttle Driver adamSX's Avatar
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    They're noticeably brighter in person. Here is the night time video.

  7. #5
    02/2013 ROTM black13sx's Avatar
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    these are great vids. it sucks how dim those front LEDs are

  8. #6
    Shuttle Driver adamSX's Avatar
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    Yeah, the front ones are from iJDMToy.com: Bi-Color 57 pcs Xenon White, 57 pcs Amber Yellow Switchback 1157

    They are significantly weaker in comparison to the new ones listed on this thread. I guess when you're going for LEDs, you should look specifically for either 5050 SMD chips as they are considerably bright or a low volume of LED emitters on a bulb but with a high wattage such as the one I got for the rear turn signal bulbs.

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    OptimaForums Veteran G4z808's Avatar
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    wow those front leds are really not bright enough .guess im not going with the 57 pc.
    nice rear bulbs though
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  10. #8
    Riding Lawn Mower
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    Before you knock yourself out with 4 resistors, try one per side. Usually the front and rear trun signals on the same side are on the same circuit which should just require one resistor.

  11. #9
    Shuttle Driver adamSX's Avatar
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    Sadly that's not the case with the Optima. It will need 4 separate resistors. One per LED bulb. Boo.

  12. #10
    Your K5 Optima Vendor K5 Optima Store's Avatar
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    Adam I have the front LED's in my turn signals and they are super bright! I also did the rear LED's and I have the same bulbs I believe as you do but I bought them from V-Leds.com. At this time there is nothing that is made LED wise and offered to the general public for our rear turn signals that anyone will ever notice over our stock halogen bulb. If you look at the new 6 series BMW for example you can tell immediately that the turn signals are LED, the housings were designed to reflect LED's. Our cars were not designed to reflect LED bulbs so we don't get the most out of swapping out the Halogen for the LED ones as far as brightness.


    Quote Originally Posted by adamSX View Post
    Sadly that's not the case with the Optima. It will need 4 separate resistors. One per LED bulb. Boo.
    Yep this is correct! Other cars are different but the Optimas need all 4.





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