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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I’ve had a hard time getting a straight answer about the headlight bulb type that come stock on a 2013 Optima EX.

The headlight housings that came on my car have low beams projectors and the high beams have a reflector housings. I’m curious what comes stock on these cars when you buy them brand new regarding bulb type ? Does the car use halogens all around for the lows/highs/fogs ?

When I bought the car it had HIDs already installed in the low beams as well as the fog lights and had halogens installed for the high beams so I never got to see whats considered OEM. I recently changed the bulbs again since the headlights haven’t been as bright as they used to be so I figured they just needed replacement. I’m now running morimoto XB HIDs in the low beams ( same type as before just a new set ) , LEDs for the fogs , and halogens for the high beams. Just trying to make sure I’m running the correct setup for this car so I can rule things out that are causing the shitty light output. I assumed since it has projectors for the low beams it makes sense that you would run HIDs for the lows , halogens for the highs since it’s a reflector housing and LEDs or halogens for the fogs?

lately it seems like the low beams specifically just aren’t working well. Even with the new morimoto HIDs installed and 35w ballast light just isn’t being thrown that far down the road like it used to be when I first got the car years ago using the same type of hid bulb. The led fog lights are now brighter then then low beams. I’ve heard some people say HIDs aren’t meant to go into the projectors on this car and I could have burned them out , I’ve also heard people say the projectors are just low quality. Or that morimoto xb’s aren’t as good as they used to be - As well as that there’s a TSB for this car regarding the headlight housings having issues. So I’m not sure what the issue is exactly but I’m trying to narrow things down.

I’ve wondered if it’s possible to just replace and upgrade the low beam projectors with a higher quality one and maybe that will fix my issue ? Not sure what the process is for the TSB regarding the lights - anybody know ? If the car requires a halogen for the low and I show up with HIDs installed they probably wouldn’t honor it anyways - so I want to find out technically what should be installed in each light source.

Basically Just looking to get some more info from people that know what comes stock on this car , what works best for on the low beam / high beam / fogs ( HIDs , LEDs , halogens etc ) and if anyone that’s had issues with the low beams not working as good as they used to what did they do to fix it ? Can I just swap out the projectors to a set of new ones ? Maybe try a different HID bulb and upgrade the ballast to 55w ? There’s so many options and I don’t want to waste my time trying things that won’t work or help - I know a lot of you know these cars very well.

So with that said any help is appreciated !!
 

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Ahh the infamous K5 from 2011-2013 model year, if I’m not mistaken your EX does not come with stock HID but don’t quote me on that. You are correct on some of the things you mentioned about the projector doesn’t throw that much light and quite a few members including myself raise up the low beam. In regards to your HID, most likely it was an aftermarket set up so it cannot compare to actual HID that comes with D1S. I would leave the set up that you currently have with HID for low, halogen for high and go for LED for fog light. Also check to see if the TSB can do anything your headlight, you might get lucky and have it replace under warranty from Kia.


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Discussion Starter #3
Ahh the infamous K5 from 2011-2013 model year, if I’m not mistaken your EX does not come with stock HID but don’t quote me on that. You are correct on some of the things you mentioned about the projector doesn’t throw that much light and quite a few members including myself raise up the low beam. In regards to your HID, most likely it was an aftermarket set up so it cannot compare to actual HID that comes with D1S. I would leave the set up that you currently have with HID for low, halogen for high and go for LED for fog light. Also check to see if the TSB can do anything your headlight, you might get lucky and have it replace under warranty from Kia.


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Thanks for the quick response! I am currently using the LEDs in the fog lights but used to use HIDs. As for the highs I’m 99% positive those are suppose to use halogens. When it comes to the lows that’s where I’m really confused since like I said it does have a projector inside the headlight housing as seen in my pics I attached - so in my mind I thought it would come with HID low beams stock from the factory - unless maybe they use halogens for the lows as well and the projector is there more for just looks ? If that’s the case then maybe me running HIDs this whole time might have burned out the projector since there’s suppose to be halogens installed from the factory ? Hoping some others will pop up and let me know what they think - I do Appreciate the response !
 

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While HIDs are the better choice over the stock halogens, our projectors are not the best and are the limiting factor in this case. To make matters worse, Kia decided to use H11B bulbs in our particular model year and trim for the low beams. They are harder to find and make upgrade solutions more difficult to implement because of the type of connector it uses. I don't think using 35w ballasts would be strong enough to deteriorate the projectors but I could be wrong. If that really is the case then 55w ballasts would make matters worse.

My advice would be to make sure the Kelvin rating is no higher than 6,000 as the lumen count will dramatically drop off on anything above that. Realistically anything above ~4,500K would present a less than ideal projection of usable light on the road. But it's understandable to compromise for a cleaner, whiter look. Something else would be to Xpel the headlights to keep pitting to a minimum because even the plastic lenses they used are cheap. As a last resort I would say baking the headlights open and installing much better projectors will, while risky, provide the best results.

I'll make sure my next vehicle will have superior headlights from the factory and will verify before it's driven off the lot. I'm not interested in dealing with this mess again.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
While HIDs are the better choice over the stock halogens, our projectors are not the best and are the limiting factor in this case. To make matters worse, Kia decided to use H11B bulbs in our particular model year and trim for the low beams. They are harder to find and make upgrade solutions more difficult to implement because of the type of connector it uses. I don't think using 35w ballasts would be strong enough to deteriorate the projectors but I could be wrong. If that really is the case then 55w ballasts would make matters worse.

My advice would be to make sure the Kelvin rating is no higher than 6,000 as the lumen count will dramatically drop off on anything above that. Realistically anything above ~4,500K would present a less than ideal projection of usable light on the road. But it's understandable to comprise for a cleaner, whiter look. Something else would be to Xpel the headlights to keep pitting to a minimum because even the plastic lenses they used are cheap. As a last resort I would say baking the headlights open and installing much better projectors will, while risky, provide the best results.

I'll make sure my next vehicle will have superior headlights from the factory and will verify before it's driven off the lot. I'm not interested in dealing with this mess again.
Hey there , thanks for the info. See that’s where I’m confused is if this car comes stock with halogens for the lows and the projectors are more there just for “looks” can’t seem to find a clear answer. Also I’ve been told by more then one person including the optima store that these cars are suppose to use h11’s and not h11b due to the return wire casting a shadow. I’ve always ran H11b as that’s what I thought our car was suppose to take. So maybe that’s part of my issue I don’t know ? I’m hoping some others will comment and give some more insight. I’ve defiantly thought about replacing the projectors - I’ve been wondering if it’s as simple as just opening up the housing and swaping out the projector with an upgraded one or even a new OEM one. I’m wondering if it’s a straight forward process when swapping out the projector. So many questions but not enough answers lol , I’ve spent a lot of time looking around and haven’t came up with much. I know there’s a lot of members on here with knowledge so hoping they can set the record straight. Once again thanks for the response much appreciated!
 

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Hey there , thanks for the info. See that’s where I’m confused is if this car comes stock with halogens for the lows and the projectors are more there just for “looks” can’t seem to find a clear answer. Also I’ve been told by more then one person including the optima store that these cars are suppose to use h11’s and not h11b due to the return wire casting a shadow. I’ve always ran H11b as that’s what I thought our car was suppose to take. So maybe that’s part of my issue I don’t know ? I’m hoping some others will comment and give some more insight. I’ve defiantly thought about replacing the projectors - I’ve been wondering if it’s as simple as just opening up the housing and swaping out the projector with an upgraded one or even a new OEM one. I’m wondering if it’s a straight forward process when swapping out the projector. So many questions but not enough answers lol , I’ve spent a lot of time looking around and haven’t came up with much. I know there’s a lot of members on here with knowledge so hoping they can set the record straight. Once again thanks for the response much appreciated!
Yes this car comes stock with projector lows with halogen bulbs. You could say it's for looks and also for a better and more controllable pattern of light. While they gave it an effort, it was poorly executed as the performance is so low.

If you don't have a huge shadow of light at the bottom of your light pattern then H11b is the correct bulb. At least for stock halogen bulbs. You can verify that in the manual and at an auto parts store. Why the Morimoto Elite kit says we need H11a bulbs is beyond me, but that's what I ordered way back when and I have no shadows. Definitely look into that.

At least one member was able to install a certain model of Lexus projectors and the results, at least in the pictures they posted, were great.

Another option is to replace the entire headlight housings with aftermarket ones. I'm personally not a fan of that aftermarket look they give off but it may provide you with better results.
 

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I put Sylvania Silver Star Ultras in ours.......straight swap with a vast improvement!!!
 

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If you don't have a huge shadow of light at the bottom of your light pattern then H11b is the correct bulb. At least for stock halogen bulbs. Why the Morimoto Elite kit says we need H11a bulbs is beyond me, but that's what I ordered way back when and I have no shadows.
Here is why right here:

The whole reason they created the H11(A) bulb type was to avoid haveing shadows cast in the headlight pattern when customers convert over to HID from halogen.

This should clear up any confusion and inform anyone with doubts regarding this.


(P.S. The YouTube video was filmed several years ago, before the started calling the "standard H11" an "H11A" bulb)
 

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Here is why right here:

The whole reason they created the H11(A) bulb type was to avoid haveing shadows cast in the headlight pattern when customers convert over to HID from halogen.

This should clear up any confusion and inform anyone with doubts regarding this.


(P.S. The YouTube video was filmed several years ago, before the started calling the "standard H11" an "H11A" bulb)
I stopped caring as to the why a while back because these lights work well enough until I buy something new lol. But thanks for the clarification.
 

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I stopped caring as to the why a while back because these lights work well enough until I buy something new lol. But thanks for the clarification.
At the end of the day, that's all that matters, is that they work, and work well. :)

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Discussion Starter #11
Here is why right here:

The whole reason they created the H11(A) bulb type was to avoid haveing shadows cast in the headlight pattern when customers convert over to HID from halogen.

This should clear up any confusion and inform anyone with doubts regarding this.


(P.S. The YouTube video was filmed several years ago, before the started calling the "standard H11" an "H11A" bulb)
So just so I know when purchasing new HIDs - is h11 the same as h11a ?
 
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