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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone swapped out oem brake light bulbs with led bulbs? Does it make brake lights any brighter?

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Discussion Starter #3
Search led. You’ll find plenty of information.
I searched for both "led" and "led brake light" and don't see anything specific to the 3rd gen just earlier models. I'll have to look but I thought the turn signals were different bulbs than the brake lights and if so then I shouldn't need to worry about dealing with a transistor for the relay and should be a simple bulb swap but I don't see anyone mention they've done it on the 3rd gen

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I have swapped out all of the incandescent bulbs, including the rear brake lights. Yes, the bulbs are brighter (if you buy brighter bulbs :) ). Particularly effective are the white backup light replacements, and the four turn signals (nobody ignores my turn signals/flashers).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here is all you will need for LEDs (just updated).

Only the turn signal/flasher bulb replacements will need resistors; the rest should be plug & play.
Thank you for the excellent documentation, very helpful! Curious how hard it is to swap out the rear brake lights? Do you have to take the entire brake light housing out first or have to take a lot apart?

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It's been 4 years, but IIRC I had to remove from the body the large red plastic moldings on either side of the opening. I broke off one of the plastic tabs in the process, so am not inclined to repeat that unless necessary. I think it is well enough secured as it is; I don't even want to know what the replacement part costs. It is a matter of opening the back, removing the molding, then replacing the lamp - very simple, just be aware that there is some fragility.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here is all you will need for LEDs (just updated).

Only the turn signal/flasher bulb replacements will need resistors; the rest should be plug & play.
What did you do for the turn signal resistors? Any where this is integrated into the bulb or does it require some wiring?

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I'll put the links in with the bulb links I'm putting together.

You know how hot an incandescent bulb gets, right? Well, putting more heat into an LED bulb is not a good idea as they already are dealing with the heat of the LED. The proper resistor will be mounted in an aluminum case for heat dissipation. These are sold with taps which make it very easy to attach to the wiring. The taps should not be used to hold the resistor in place; either screw into the MDX body, or better just use double-sticky foam tape to mount in place. It is very quick and easy to do while you are changing the bulbs.
 

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I'll put the links in with the bulb links I'm putting together.

You know how hot an incandescent bulb gets, right? Well, putting more heat into an LED bulb is not a good idea as they already are dealing with the heat of the LED. The proper resistor will be mounted in an aluminum case for heat dissipation. These are sold with taps which make it very easy to attach to the wiring. The taps should not be used to hold the resistor in place; either screw into the MDX body, or better just use double-sticky foam tape to mount in place. It is very quick and easy to do while you are changing the bulbs.
Makes sense. Are there any particular brand of bulb or merchant that you recommend for the led light bulbs? I see some on Amazon but not sure how good they are or if there's any real difference. Auto zone has some that have pretty poor reviews (Sylvania I think)

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Nvm about brand, I see you mentioned brands in the footnote of the sheet you shared.

One thing I notice is some vehicles have an error light on the instrument cluster for burnt out bulbs, and unless the LED is CANBUS error free (includes a CANBUS load resistor) then this warning light comes on due to the low power draw of led bulbs.

Will led bulbs (the non CANBUS free variety) trigger any warning lights in the instrument cluster?

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The only incandescent lamps on an MDX that are being monitored are the flashers (front and rear turn signals). Everything else can simply be replaced with an LED bulb with no issues. The flashers/turn signals must have resistors that match the new LED bulbs such that the total current draw is close to the draw from the original incandescents. You can calculate these - see my attachment in post #6. If you just want to use what I did take a look at these links.
 

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The only incandescent lamps on an MDX that are being monitored are the flashers (front and rear turn signals). Everything else can simply be replaced with an LED bulb with no issues. The flashers/turn signals must have resistors that match the new LED bulbs such that the total current draw is close to the draw from the original incandescents. You can calculate these - see my attachment in post #6. If you just want to use what I did take a look at these links.
Thanks for all the info, it's extremely helpful! With LED's there are so many variables it's nice to know specific products that work with no issues.
  • Based on the lights you are using not being labeled as CK sockets I assume the MDX sockets are "Standard" sockets with both grounds connecting vertically top to bottom and aren't CK (SRCK) style sockets that have both grounds connecting side to side? That would appear to cause some issues for people when they use LED's that don't match the socket that their vehicle has as it can short out/burn out fuses/cause lights to overheat and melt and other issues that people complain about on Amazon reviews
  • I'm assuming you've had these installed for awhile with no issues?
  • Also being as I have a 2019 I'm assuming the same lights will apply with the only difference being they changed the front turn signals to LED for the refresh in 2017 but everything else I assume remains the same?
  • Initially I was only going to do the rear brake and backup lights, but it has me wondering if I need to do the rear turns as well as otherwise the brake light might wash out and divert attention away from the turn signal if it's that much dimmer. Where did you mount the resistors (what did you attach it to and what did you use to attach)? Assuming you just used the splice quick connectors that come with the resistors and that won't damage the wiring long term?
 

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I had forgot about the possibility of the alternate sockets - not the case. Certainly the bulbs on my list work, and they don't have the alternate bases. I have been using them on my 2016 for more than 2 years with no problems. Well, sort of: I got the wrong resistors for the front flashers and they were an intermittent problem with hyper-flashing, easily fixed by replacing with the correct resistance. The original choice of bulbs for the front floor lights were flimsy and failed; I like the new ones much better. And as I noted I have never found LEDs that are dim enough for the visor lights - just leave them alone.

I can't guarantee that Acura hasn't changed any of the bulbs - I didn't know about the front LED turn signals - but they usually change as little as possible within a generation and there is no incentive to do so except for restyling. It is easy enough to confirm by looking in the owner's manual for the replacement bulb info.

I don't see any problem with doing the brake lights only. However, I consider brighter turn/flash bulbs to be a safety feature: I want other drivers to pay attention if I am turning or if I am on the shoulder. These brighter bulbs are attention-getting. While the resistors have mounting "ears" if you want to screw them onto the body, I just used 3M two-sided foam tape between the resistor and the body. The splices are not really exposed to the elements so should not be a problem, and certainly not over the decade or two of a car's life. I suppose if it was a concern you could solder the wires and seal with liquid vinyl or some other sealant but I think that is unnecessary. (I have been living for 27 years on a sailboat which I built, cruising 15 years in salt water, and have only had corrosion to wiring where there has been direct contact with salt water. My automotive stereo lasted for more than 25 years with no problems - I got rid of it to have a CD player instead of a cassette; it still worked fine.)

Don't overthink it - unless you enjoy doing that :) The bulbs on my list should work fine, and if not then replacing a fuse is hardly a disaster. Of course if shopping around for the "best" solution is your thing then have at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I had forgot about the possibility of the alternate sockets - not the case. Certainly the bulbs on my list work, and they don't have the alternate bases. I have been using them on my 2016 for more than 2 years with no problems. Well, sort of: I got the wrong resistors for the front flashers and they were an intermittent problem with hyper-flashing, easily fixed by replacing with the correct resistance. The original choice of bulbs for the front floor lights were flimsy and failed; I like the new ones much better. And as I noted I have never found LEDs that are dim enough for the visor lights - just leave them alone.

I can't guarantee that Acura hasn't changed any of the bulbs - I didn't know about the front LED turn signals - but they usually change as little as possible within a generation and there is no incentive to do so except for restyling. It is easy enough to confirm by looking in the owner's manual for the replacement bulb info.

I don't see any problem with doing the brake lights only. However, I consider brighter turn/flash bulbs to be a safety feature: I want other drivers to pay attention if I am turning or if I am on the shoulder. These brighter bulbs are attention-getting. While the resistors have mounting "ears" if you want to screw them onto the body, I just used 3M two-sided foam tape between the resistor and the body. The splices are not really exposed to the elements so should not be a problem, and certainly not over the decade or two of a car's life. I suppose if it was a concern you could solder the wires and seal with liquid vinyl or some other sealant but I think that is unnecessary. (I have been living for 27 years on a sailboat which I built, cruising 15 years in salt water, and have only had corrosion to wiring where there has been direct contact with salt water. My automotive stereo lasted for more than 25 years with no problems - I got rid of it to have a CD player instead of a cassette; it still worked fine.)

Don't overthink it - unless you enjoy doing that :) The bulbs on my list should work fine, and if not then replacing a fuse is hardly a disaster. Of course if shopping around for the "best" solution is your thing then have at it.
It was more as I read reviews on some bulbs for Amazon I see horror stories where people had the bulb melt and destroy the socket requiring it to be rewired, blown fuses and other problems. I wasn't sure if it was a quality control issue with the bulbs, but as I read more about alternate socket types for the 7440/7443 bulbs that likely was the culprit as people (as I may have done) would just buy a bulb that says 7440 T20 Wedge without necessarily understanding there are different socket types. I just didn't want to buy the wrong thing because I didn't know any better and cause a problem with my car that requires additional (somewhat costly) repairs. Unfortunately the owner's manual doesn't say much about light bulbs, only to use "21W" for the rear's, it doesn't even mention 7440 or T20 wedge. However your information and the fact you shared the specific bulbs you are using without issue is a huge help, I'll just buy those as I know they fit and that they work in the 3rd gen MDX. I'm assuming the bulbs are the same, looking at Autozone by my vehicle it pulls up 7440 T20 led's for the rear's so it would appear they are the same.

Where on the body did you mount the resistors? Ideally I'd like to not have to take a whole bunch of stuff apart to mount them.

For the floor lights, I see in your notes you mention that the footwell lights dim after a bit and the LED's tend to go out at this point and that you were looking for dimmable LEDs but not to hold our breath. Is that still the case? If so I'll just leave those alone as is for now.

Again I can't thank you enough for all of your detailed notes and information, it makes it so much easier and takes the guess work out of the equation!
 

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I was thinking of the resistors for the front flashers; I'm not remembering what I did with the rear lights. Do be careful pulling off the plastic rear lamp assembly - I broke off a mounting ear. IIRC it is best to remove the pins first, then remove the assembly. It really doesn't matter where you mount the resistors as they have ample heat sinks on their own and don't need to conduct heat to the body - just don't let them hang on the splices. Have the tape ready when you remove the rear lamp assembly so you can mount the resistors in the area covered by the assembly at the same time you change the bulb - you don't want to have to go in a second time.

The bulbs I currently have on the list for the footwells don't flutter as the voltage drops - they just shut off. It is very unlikely that a dimming LED will ever be available so this is the option. It works fine.

Again, you are overthinking things. Just buy the bulbs you want and install them - this is not brain surgery. It really is simple, and in the end you can always revert to the OEM bulbs, or try something else. The cost for replacing all of the bulbs should be less than the price of a tank of gas - mistakes are not fatal.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I already purchased the brake and turn signal lights and resistors, was just curious where you mounted the resistors as it doesn't look like there would be a lot of room behind the light housing, so if attaching to metal it would need to be someplace else. I also purchased lights for the rear hatch and doors.

The only other ones in your list I was looking at were the glove box and console, however when I click the link it says those bulbs are no longer available, so not sure if there is another option that works or if I just search for the bulb type (74 T5 wedge) from your chart
 

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Hello all new to MDers. Thanks for the info guys, I was just replacing bulbs on my new to me 2017 and found this super helpful. I was just going to add I used the Amazon JDM T10s to do the doors and cargo lights (cheap and I've used for years on my other cars).

one question, with my Accord 2010 when I used the brake light LEDs and had the car on cruise control and then signaled for a lane change it would kick off my cruise control bcs the signal lights would bleed off power to my LED brake lights, it was a weird situation and I had to change back to incandescent bulbs, would it have fixed the problem if I had used resistors?
 
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