How to Fix Toyota/Lexus LED DRL Flickering (Daytime Running Light)

How to Fix Toyota/Lexus LED DRL Flickering Daytime Running Light?

Over the past few years, LED DRL have grown in popularity, partly because manufacturers have learned to fix the problems that plagued earlier LED DRL such as DRL flickering. Even though DRL flickering is not as rampant as it was in the past, it still happens and can still cause problems.

Daytime running lights are lamps that are controlled automatically by the system of a car, and they run during the day and are shared with the same high beam bulb but at a lower intensity.  Some cars have dedicated daytime running lights that are different from the headlamp applications.

For people that have experienced a dreadful flicker on their Toyota or Lexus, this article may be geared towards your condition. First, you have to understand how a daytime running light system works. You probably know what it is, but how does it turn on?

Most cars are programmed to meet specific conditions so the DRL system can turn on. The headlight switch has to be set to AUTO, the gear has to be in drive, and there should be a sensor on the dashboard of the car, which detects light.

Once you meet these conditions, the system of your car will immediately supply a lower current to dim the factory high beam bulb. This is applicable to most Toyotas that have DRL’s and high beams on the same circuit.

To understand if your vehicle runs high beams and DRLs on the same lamps, you may either run a physical test on the lamps or consult the car’s manual. You will get the fast DRL flickering on your LED headlights immediately the DRL system engages.

Headlight makers have come a long way in solving the issue of flickering lights. But, there are still instances where car owners notice that they have an LED headlight flicker while driving during the day.

What Causes LED DRL Flickering?

A common reason for the DRL flickering is a failed communication between the computer system of the vehicle and the electrical system of the LED daytime running lights (DRL). Another common cause of flickering LED DRL bulb is an unsteady AC power supply.

The bad news is that there are a lot of other reasons why the DRL (daytime running lights) are flickering. Figuring out what the exact issue is can take a lot of time, and you might have to consult a mechanic to be certain of the cause and how to repair it.

However, the good news is that in most cases, headlight issues can be solved by only adding an extra piece to the circuit to keep the LED corresponding properly to the electrical system of the vehicle.

If it’s as a result of failed communication, it simply has to do with the fact that a lot of cars today are still built with xenon or halogen lights. Replacing these for the brighter LED alternatives also means changing how the lights respond to the computer system of the vehicle.

So, how can you repair this DRL flickering issue, if it is not controlled by a CanBus system that is monitoring the DRL lamps for issues?

Well, it is quite easy fixing this problem and after extensive research and testing of various model Toyota’s with DRL systems, experts have determined that Toyota runs a pulsing system where the voltage supplied is roughly 10V-12V but pulses on and off quickly. This can lead to a Toyota DRL or Lexus DRL lamp (that is sensitive to power) to light up and go off quickly.

This is only seen in older model lamps such as halogen or incandescent as it will never allow the burning filament, of a factory bulb, to light up to full intensity or shut off completely. The pulsing signal makes the bulb remain in a dim condition.

How to Fix LED DRL Flickering

How to fix DRL flickering for LED lights bulbs upgrade? Flickering DRL used to be quite a common problem when the first models came out. But, manufacturers have focused on solving this issue since then and have come up with a few solutions.

  1. Poor Connection or End of Life

The issue could simply be a result of poor connection, or the DRL bulb is at the end of its life. Before you try anything else, you should tighten the bulb in its housing or double-checking the various connections. Swap with a new DRL bulb to see if the problem is as a result of a defective DRL bulb.

  1. Stock Electrical Systems and LED DRL

A lot of cars are constructed for traditional halogen bulbs and don’t have onboard computers that are capable of handling the unique electrical problems of LED DRL. This will result in poor communication and then flickering. If your LED DRL are not getting the right kind of juice, you will need to buy warning capacitors, anti-flicker adapters, or other appropriate conversion devices.

A lot of LED headlights have a conversion system but they’re not always sufficient. Anti-flicker adapters are usually the best solution if your driver or converter isn’t doing enough.

  1. Lack of Enough Power

Although some LED headlights have inbuilt drivers and adapters that make it possible for traditional electrical systems to deliver sufficient power, these systems can fail sometimes – leading to flickering.

Most times, the LED DRL bulbs are not flickering but turning on and off very quickly because of insufficient power. Always check to ensure that the driver is properly installed and doing its job – this will usually fix the problem. If not, use an anti-flicker adapter.

  1. Daytime Running Lights

Daytime running lights can also affect how the computer system of a vehicle sends power to the headlights. If DRLs are affecting the LED headlights, you will be required to install a DRL anti-flickering wiring harness or other bypass. You can disable your DRLs but that is not the best option.

  1. Before You Bring It In

If you’ve tried everything but still cannot figure out the problem, you may need to bring your car to a professional. Before you bring it in though, double-check all your connections, wiring, and switches to be sure that everything is both in the right place and connected the proper way.

A lot of cars weren’t designed to handle the unique power requirements of LED DRL bulbs, which can cause flickering and a lot of other problems. Ensure everything is properly connected, be sure the wiring and conversions are in place and install any important after-market products such as anti-flicker adapters if your lights are not getting the right juice. With these tips, your DRL will shine much better.

How to Fix Toyota Lexus LED DRL Flickering Daytime Running Light

As to the bulb sizes guide for different vehicles, please click bulb size for bulb size guide, for correct LED lights bulbs options, please click Bulb Finder for details.

One Comment on “How to Fix Toyota/Lexus LED DRL Flickering (Daytime Running Light)

  1. Good topic. What you are reaching for is the concept of PWM. Pulse width modulation. This technique of turning power on and off at a frequency lowers the overall voltage getting to the load. The proportion of on vs off time is called duty cycle. The higher the duty cycle the brighter the light. 100% duty cycle is just ON. Most toyota vehicles / Lexus from 2019 and earlier that have DRL use a blind PWM rate without feedback for the integrity of the bulb. Great news for those that want to upgrade. Bad news is that the proportion of ON to OFF will differ by halogen bulb wattage rating. So make sure your LED’s are scaling power correctly based on the model of car you want to install LED’s. If not matched correctly you will either be brighter or dimmer than the intended light level for DRL. Capacitors when sized correctly for voltage and capacity rating can smooth out the ON and OFF flicker but will by itself not scale the voltage going to the LED correctly, the LED driver electronics will do that. So that is why it is important to match the LED to the car model.

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