2011 Acura TSX – Replacing Stock Light Bulbs with LED Bulbs

2011-11-13 Updated

2011-10-02 Initial Post

I just got a 2011 Acura TSX the other week and couldn't wait to replace some of the stock light bulbs with bright, white LEDs. I got the daytime running light kit (LED_SKU45_R2 - Xenon White 9005 HB3 LED Daytime Running Light Bulbs + DRL Decoder Kit For Acura TL TSX RDX MDX ZDX Honda Accord Civic Odyssey Pilot CR-Z) and interior + license plate kit (PKG_ACURA_SMD_16 - iJDMTOY 7 Lights Wide Angle Shine Deluxe SMD LED Interior/Complete Package for 2009 and up Acura TSX) from iJDM Toy. You can also check Amazon for similar kits or just a specific bulb.

I haven't seen any TSXes (of any model year) in my area that have the LED DRLs. I check out every TSX on the road, and it'd be pretty obvious if they had these. So I'm probably one of the first in this area.

The DRL kit comes with a decoder/resister thing so that the car's computer won't report an error. Without the decoder, an error is generated because the LED bulbs use much less electricity than the halogen bulbs so the computer thinks that a bulb is blown.

All the doors and the license plate lights use the same bulbs (so does the trunk light, but that wasn't included in this kit--I ordered it separately later on). The map and dome lights use the same bulb.

It took me a whole afternoon to install all the bulbs. The part that took the longest was putting the DRL bulbs in. I didn't think something so simple would take so long, but the darn tabs on the LED bulbs just didn't want to go in without a fight and I ended up breaking the housing on the one bulb. As absurd as it seems, it took me over an hour to get both bulbs seated properly. I thought that running the wiring and decoders would be the trickiest, but that part was actually pretty easy--I just took my time but it went smoothly.

Note that the DRL bulbs are also used for high beam. The LED bulbs will shine brighter when you use the high beam, so the high beam function will still work. If the DRLs are on and you "flash" your high beams, they will shine brighter during the flash. The only difference is that the LEDs are not as bright as the stock halogens. But I don't care about that because the low beam HID lights are plenty bright for me.

To replace the license plate light bulbs, you need to remove at least the rear-facing part of the drunk lid trim. I broke one of the trim clips trying to take it off and wasn't able to put back two clips since they got messed up when I took them out. I ended up ordering replacement clips from the local Acura dealer. If you'll be doing a lot of car work, it'd be a good idea to get clip removal tools (Harbor Freight has a decent set for around $6).

I'm not going to write detailed instructions, but instead took a bunch of pictures and made comments in them. The install should be pretty much the same on a 2009, 2010, 2011, or 2012 since there weren't any major changes during those model years.

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