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I realize this may be a "should I run to the car in the rain or just walk which will keep me drier" question, but will keeping my headlights off during the day prolong their life or is it the on/off cycle that burns them out?
 

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Ohhh boyyy. You may have poked a hornet's nest.

There are at least two different DRL setups and I'm not even sure if the US cars all had DRL. The original setup (2008) simply turns all lights on all the time (low beam headlights only). Taillights are on, too. Mine is like this. Somewhere near 2011, a second setup became available that uses low-mounted white LED DRL's and the regular headlamps are no longer needed as DRL. I am not sure if this setup completely replaced the old one, though.

If you have the LED DRL arrangement you need not concern yourself with it; they are likely to outlast the car. If you have the low-beam-headlamp-as-DRL setup, the original 2008 design operated the headlamps at full voltage - and read all the complaints about frequent headlamp bulbs burning out. Sometime later, they installed a resistor somewhere in the system to cut down voltage to the bulbs a smidge when in DRL mode. They will put out a bit less light but this extends bulb life tremendously.

All cars and light trucks sold in Canada have had DRL since 1990 and I am a believer in their use. All lights on all the time is fine with me in the interest of visibility and safety. So turning them off completely is a non-starter for me.

Mine had the original, full-voltage, low-beam-bulb-as-DRL setup which burns out low beam bulbs frequently. Having seen that this was an issue ... I replaced the low beams with HID, which ought to last longer. The smart uses projector headlamps which work OK with HID bulbs. I'm sure the beam pattern won't be "perfect" with regards to legality, but it's a lot better than with a lot of other standard reflector housings in other cars.
 

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If you think it's about to begin raining harder, run. If it's a steady rain, walk.

I don't use my headlights unless they're necessary since I haven't got the resistor installed. When overcast & in rain I use LED parking lights and LED fog lights.
Obviously, even without the on/off cycling, running the headlights consumes part of their life. Otherwise, they would last indefinitely if never turned off ... which is not the case.

Sorry for those who disagree with me not running my short lived H7s when they're not necessary. I don't see you offering to change my headlights for me.

I've been on the fence on the HID idea for years. The longevity is appealing, and is the sole reason I would consider them. But, blinding oncoming drivers is not at all appealing.
 

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Ohhh boyyy. You may have poked a hornet's nest.

There are at least two different DRL setups and I'm not even sure if the US cars all had DRL. The original setup (2008) simply turns all lights on all the time (low beam headlights only). Taillights are on, too. Mine is like this. Somewhere near 2011, a second setup became available that uses low-mounted white LED DRL's and the regular headlamps are no longer needed as DRL. I am not sure if this setup completely replaced the old one, though.

Mine had the original, full-voltage, low-beam-bulb-as-DRL setup which burns out low beam bulbs frequently. Having seen that this was an issue ... I replaced the low beams with HID, which ought to last longer. The smart uses projector headlamps which work OK with HID bulbs. I'm sure the beam pattern won't be "perfect" with regards to legality, but it's a lot better than with a lot of other standard reflector housings in other cars.
Not all US smarts have DRLs. :)

The early DRLs you speak of (that your car has) had to be activated at the dealer for them to work. Otherwise, no DRL.

Some dealerships did this as part of their PDI, so whoever bought the car had the DRLs activated before they even took possession.

The 2011 and on cars have the option for LED DRLs that are on all the time until at least the low beams are activated.

My 2012 doesn't have DRLs. However, I did wire a new LED kit to my fog lamp blanks (they're brighter than the factory ones). The LEDs come on with the ignition and stay on until shutdown...so I guess you could call them DRLs!

I've been on the fence on the HID idea for years. The longevity is appealing, and is the sole reason I would consider them. But, blinding oncoming drivers is not at all appealing.
Regarding HIDs, they're easy to get right, even easier to get wrong.

If you buy projector HIDs and aim them correctly, you should be just fine and not blind a single person. You'll look no different than those running factory HIDs and you'll be infinitely less blinding than any recent Acura.
 

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cars are safer with DRL. Especially in the early morning or at dusk, when people tend not to turn on their lights, they make your car easier to spot. When there is serious rain, you should DEFINITELY have your headlights on. It doesn't help you see, but it does help others see you!
 

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KRA, that's why I have everything except my headlights on under those conditions, visibility. 'nuff said.

I'm always on the lookout for inattentive drivers anyway, regardless of the conditions.
 

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KRA, that's why I have everything except my headlights on under those conditions, visibility. 'nuff said.

I'm always on the lookout for inattentive drivers anyway, regardless of the conditions.
That's good, but my guess is it would still give you more visibility to have your headlights on at dusk, dawn, and heavy rain, and the cost in terms of both energy used, and bulb life is negligible. Just my opinion.:wink:
 

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Just one data point but our 2011 has the low beam DRLs and the first headlight bulb just went out - after three years of continuous use. :)
 

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I'll leave out the ***** about how motorcycles have always-on headlights purely because cars don't, and that increases biker safety... so for every car that has always-on lights, you make bikes that much less noticeable.

But I have a question for the ohmmasters.

I have the LED running lights. As stated above, they're always on unless the low beams are on. OR you can switch the parking lights on via the column stick, and the LEDs go off.

While sitting in the parking lot with the key switched on to use the cigarette lighter to charge a cellphone, which would drain the battery the slowest? LEDs on, or the parking lights?
 

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In theory, LED's take much less current to run so I would guess they would make the battery last longer. That being said, it would depend on if you were running 4 bulbs vs a bank of 20 LED's.. I'd still go with running the LD's
 

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You may as well ask whether you should walk to work or take your lunch. In the grand scheme of things it makes very little difference and bulbs are relatively cheap.
 

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I just bought but haven't picked up a '13 that has the DRLs. There is no switch on the panel to turn them on or off so I assume they are automatically on when the low beams are off and off when the low beams are on. I want to put the Carlsson fog lights in that area and don't know if they will work the same way as the DRLs. Has anyone put fogs in where the DRLs came standard?
Mick
 

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Any smart without led's just looks like its missing them (because they are!)


They improve the overall look of the car/makes it look cool and makes it standout.


LED DRL's are a must.


and the Model S has by far the coolest led lights







 

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You may as well ask whether you should walk to work or take your lunch. In the grand scheme of things it makes very little difference and bulbs are relatively cheap.
My concern isn't with how long the bulbs last, it's a question of which is better for battery life when I'm slacking in the parking lot charging my phone :D
 

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Unless you're going to be sitting in that parking lot for several hours, I doubt it'll make any difference. :)
 
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