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DWNSHFT
DWNSHFT Dork
3/4/20 12:49 p.m.

So does the NHTSA.

 

Ford Is Recalling a Bunch of F-150s Because Their Headlights Are Too Bright

The daytime running lights and normal headlights could stay at full brightness at the same time, temporarily blinding oncoming drivers.

 
image
Ford

Ford announced a safety recall last week for its F-150 pickup because its headlights may be too bright. Yes, you read that right. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some trucks may leave their daytime running lights fully activated when the headlights are manually turned on, which means they don't comply with federal safety standards.

The recall covers 217,185 F-150s in North America, built from 2018-2020 and optioned with the LED headlight system. When headlights are turned on, the daytime running lights are supposed to dim or turn off—but in the affected trucks, this doesn't happen. That means both the DRLs and the regular headlights are at full power, which could temporarily blind oncoming drivers. Ford's fix is a simple software upgrade, which could be installed at their dealerships.

If you think your F-150 could be affected, head over to the NHTSA's website and enter your VIN to find out.

 

[Yeah, it's from some magazine named street & circuit, or something...  Sorry.]

TopNoodles
TopNoodles Reader
3/4/20 12:59 p.m.

So many cars are now equipped with automatic lights that I've started questioning if the lights are actually that bright or if the car is automatically turning everything to 11. Apparently the latter is actually happening in some cases.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/4/20 1:06 p.m.

Those F150 headlights are made in Sandusky, OH on Tiffin Ave.  I have a friend there who is a Quality Lab guy.  He has been telling me for years that the amount of "scrap" or unusable manufactured assemblies is way out of control.  I'm not sure that "scrap" is the same as this issue but I'll try to see what he has to say.  

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/4/20 2:25 p.m.

Interesting.  Ford had a very similar issue in the 90s with fog lights staying on with the high beams.  In those preCAB bus days the fix involved an add-in harness with some relays.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
3/4/20 2:47 p.m.
John Welsh said:

Those F150 headlights are made in Sandusky, OH on Tiffin Ave.  I have a friend there who is a Quality Lab guy.  He has been telling me for years that the amount of "scrap" or unusable manufactured assemblies is way out of control.  I'm not sure that "scrap" is the same as this issue but I'll try to see what he has to say.  

Is that a Ford production facility? Or is that something that's outsourced? Is it a Ford design issue or a production issue? 

 

My problem with headlights in general is that it's often an oversight on the manufacturer when it comes to headlight performance. Subaru for instance has some of the worst headlights known to man. Ford and GM LED headlights are so bright to oncoming drivers that it creates a dazzling effect yet the headlight performance is still terrible (NHTSA testing and first hand experience). 

I still think projector HIDs are the best headlights out there. Sharp cutoffs, depth, resolution, etc. A lot of cars I've driven equipped with LED headlights suffer in some way shape or form. 

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
3/4/20 2:56 p.m.

I'm curious how to judge the amount of progress the automotive industry has made with headlights. My initial thought is that they haven't kept pace with most everything else on a car. I'm open to other opinions however 

TJL
TJL HalfDork
3/4/20 3:03 p.m.

I find pretty much ANY toyota car or newer chevy trucks far more blinding than the fords. But they should back off on all the projector beam lights.  Incandescent bulbs were fine for ever and weren't like laser beams eating my eyes. 

Grtechguy
Grtechguy MegaDork
3/4/20 3:15 p.m.

What I find funny, is the f150 forums are full of posts saying the halogen headlamps are too dim and suggest the H9 bulb hack

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
3/4/20 3:39 p.m.

Bright lights should get a lot better when all the cars are detecting oncoming traffic and using their multi-element LED arrays to create 'exclusion zones' where they turn off the lights that happen to be pointed directly at oncoming traffic. Of course, the real solution we're heading towards is for people to not have to look at the road anyway. Then the brightness of things peripheral to your phone screen will be of no concern at all. 

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
3/4/20 3:47 p.m.

I was behind some sort of Subaru yesterday, on a damp paved road at dusk, and his brake lights were so bright I had to just follow him around the corner and hope he was staying on the road.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
3/4/20 3:51 p.m.

It’s not just fords. No scientific way of backing that up, just my assessment based on my own temporary high beam blindness. 

 

My random thoughts on it:

1. People want the BEST visibility for themselves. Therefore it became an arms race, and now every vehicle has super bright lights. I feel like (again, personal experience and I could be completely wrong) the low beams on our ‘17 Kia are brighter than the high beams on the ‘01 Lexus, and definitely brighter than the ‘96 Miata that I had. 

 

2. Everything is tall now. The Miata put me at eye level with the bumpers of a new F150. Extreme example but my dad’s new stock GTI is similar. So a reasonable headlight height for most vehicles puts them right in the eyes of us with sedans/coupes/convertibles/etc. 

 

3. Automatic lights aren’t as automatic as they should be. We rented a car awhile back. Only way I knew I didn’t have my lights on and they weren’t automatic was I got pulled over for not having my lights on. The DRL were so berkeleying bright that they illuminated the road just fine, even on a street with no lights. But the rear lights weren’t on. The only way we really would have known was that the dashboard lights were too bright, but they weren’t ridiculously so. 

 

4. I wonder why they’re so bright anyways - if it is a dark road, a little light goes a long way. If it has streetlights you don’t need to illuminate the road too much anyways. I just don’t get it. 

No Time
No Time Dork
3/4/20 3:53 p.m.
TJL said:

I find pretty much ANY toyota car or newer chevy trucks far more blinding than the fords. But they should back off on all the projector beam lights.  Incandescent bulbs were fine for ever and weren't like laser beams eating my eyes. 

I like projector beam lights with halogen bulbs. It's a feature I would look for on the next vehicle, but may need to do more investigation based on what I've seen/read about recent vehicles.

The projector beams on our Sedona have a nice sharp cutoff, but still light up the road. you can even see that the cutoff is below the top of the trunk lid on a sedan when coming up to a stop behind one at night. 

I can't speak for all manufacturers, or the HID/xenon type, so my experience may be the exception. 

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
3/4/20 3:56 p.m.
mtn said:

 

4. I wonder why they’re so bright anyways - if it is a dark road, a little light goes a long way. If it has streetlights you don’t need to illuminate the road too much anyways. I just don’t get it. 

around here most people seem to drive with their high beams on in the towns and cities. I guess they need to actually see their own headlights to know they are on? I rarely get blinded out of town, but in the limits, 1 in 10 cars is running with their highs on

fidelity101
fidelity101 UltraDork
3/4/20 4:44 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

John Welsh said:

Those F150 headlights are made in Sandusky, OH on Tiffin Ave.  I have a friend there who is a Quality Lab guy.  He has been telling me for years that the amount of "scrap" or unusable manufactured assemblies is way out of control.  I'm not sure that "scrap" is the same as this issue but I'll try to see what he has to say.  

 

there are a lot of reasons for this. 

 

1. ford is a picky customer for this commodity

2. flex n gate is "new" to lighting in comparison

3. ford specification drives some xtreme brightness and then they bitch about cost. 

4. making lamps sucks because its a BOM of about 100 and 1 part causes you to throw the whole assembly away. 

fidelity101
fidelity101 UltraDork
3/4/20 4:49 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:
John Welsh said:

Those F150 headlights are made in Sandusky, OH on Tiffin Ave.  I have a friend there who is a Quality Lab guy.  He has been telling me for years that the amount of "scrap" or unusable manufactured assemblies is way out of control.  I'm not sure that "scrap" is the same as this issue but I'll try to see what he has to say.  

Is that a Ford production facility? Or is that something that's outsourced? Is it a Ford design issue or a production issue? 

 

My problem with headlights in general is that it's often an oversight on the manufacturer when it comes to headlight performance. Subaru for instance has some of the worst headlights known to man. Ford and GM LED headlights are so bright to oncoming drivers that it creates a dazzling effect yet the headlight performance is still terrible (NHTSA testing and first hand experience). 

I still think projector HIDs are the best headlights out there. Sharp cutoffs, depth, resolution, etc. A lot of cars I've driven equipped with LED headlights suffer in some way shape or form. 

Ford are vehicle assemblies, not vehicle designers - even they will tell you this. 

some of those subaru parts are in GM/Ford/VW vehicles, its all about vehicle position. Alot of those parts are the same, makes it easier for manufacturing. I've experiemced the same low beam module get two different scores in relatively the same platform. 

you are correct that HIDs are still the best but cost for performance is negligible now, and considering the current architecture of the vehicles wiring, they are more keen to low amperage LED setups and with some of the crazier functions it would not be achievable with a bulb. But most of that shutoff is driven by the technology, which is mechanical shade in the HID, and the other is market segment, they purposly blend the line for US based vehicles because thats what the market likes, the european spec lamps prefer the sharper line. go figure...

Fun fact HIDs are only white in appearance because the intensity of the light of each color is so high your eyes cant really comprehend it so it assumes that they are white. 

 

I'm glad I am out of lighting now so I can sit back and enjoy the popcorn of the drama that seems to be limitless now. 

fidelity101
fidelity101 UltraDork
3/4/20 4:58 p.m.

In reply to mtn :

these are all pretty spot on. end customer assumes something, OEM makes a specification to it for NHTSA or consumer reports and etc, supplier meets these requirements even though they are above the legal minimum, its about customer satisfaction and appearance. 

tailored lighting to meet things on paper to help sell cars but in the real world people are actually quite upset however the lamps themselves are legal passing. But usually the legal test is a hand picked group of lamps prior to production of the vehicle, there are different buckets or batches of LEDs within the same LED make/model so there are some variances out on the road that I question if they are legal or not...

makes you wonder about process capability in such a complex commodity...

 

more fun fact: 

to your #4 point. if you have a halogen bulb and an LED the same candela, the same lumen output: your brain will think the LED is brighter because the way you percieve the color, the more blueish the hue your brain treats it as brighter even though measureably they are the same. 

Error404
Error404 Reader
3/4/20 4:59 p.m.
Grtechguy said:

What I find funny, is the f150 forums are full of posts saying the halogen headlamps are too dim and suggest the H9 bulb hack

They could always have the old hack of not having their headlights 4-5 feet off the ground that they're trying to see...

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/4/20 6:03 p.m.
mtn said:

My random thoughts on it:

2. Everything is tall now. The Miata put me at eye level with the bumpers of a new F150. Extreme example but my dad’s new stock GTI is similar. So a reasonable headlight height for most vehicles puts them right in the eyes of us with sedans/coupes/convertibles/etc. 

As a sedan driver this is my main gripe about them.  That, and those trucks are just so tall in general, that if I'm next to one at an intersection or parked next to one in a lot that there's no way to see around them.

scottdownsouth
scottdownsouth HalfDork
3/4/20 7:46 p.m.

Dear Ford, 

 I see what you trying to do.

                           Yours Truely, Ray Charles

                          

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/4/20 8:23 p.m.
Grtechguy said:

What I find funny, is the f150 forums are full of posts saying the halogen headlamps are too dim and suggest the H9 bulb hack

They were dim, at least before they went to HIDs in 2013. My 2011 had terrible headlights.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
3/4/20 9:50 p.m.

I ride a 40 year old 6 volt motorcycle. EVERY light is blinding. I'm comforted by the fact a $5 thrift store baseball bat will quickly solve that particular problem the day I decide the consequences are worth it.

carczar_84
carczar_84 Reader
3/4/20 9:55 p.m.

I know that my 2018 w/ the stock halogen lights was awful.  Like "are the lights even on?" kinda bad.

Swapped them for diode dynamic led replacement bulbs, and with them correctly aimed (that's the big point), they light the road up, but don't seem to have a lot of cast off. 

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UberDork
3/4/20 10:34 p.m.

I've fully embraced the arms race due to the positively awful LED high beams on my Silverado. 

ChrisLS8
ChrisLS8 New Reader
3/4/20 11:30 p.m.

I've always hated this. This is why I spend alot of time retrofitting my lights with proper projectors, shrouds and d2s bulbs. Then even more time properly aiming and leveling them to not blind oncoming drivers at night

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
3/5/20 9:59 a.m.

The DRL were so berkeleying bright that they illuminated the road just fine, even on a street with no lights. But the rear lights weren’t on. The only way we really would have known was that the dashboard lights were too bright, but they weren’t ridiculously so. 

I see this particular problem on the roads a lot. What makes it worse is since so many instrument clusters are 'screens' anyway now, they're never off. In the old days you would still know your headlights were off because your gauges would be dark! Now they're just 'still bright', and so many people who do mostly urban driving don't ever drive in the 'actual dark' enough to realize that bright gauges wash out your night vision, so 'city folk' just keep their gauge brightness cranked to the max all the time anyway. One less way to notice you didn't turn your headlights on..  

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