So this review is going to be a part story and mostly a review. I recently purchased a 2013 Kia Optima SX, and the car is in excellent condition for its age. I did my usual checks and tests before purchasing, but since I purchased during the day, there was no way to test the headlights truly. Not only that, but I was also not familiar with the Kia Optima and its quirks and problems. One of the issues they have is the reflective coating in the HID headlight assembly tends to burn off, causing dim lights. Thankfully, VisionAutoworks has some exceptional alternatives for many car brands.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
So the headlights turned on and looked fine when I tested them during the day. But they were so dim at night that I could barely see 20 feet in front of me. I attempted to adjust them, which offered no relief. I replaced the HID bulbs twice, and again, no relief. So, like anything else, I turned to the internet to see if I could find others in this situation.
I stumbled on many articles and forums complaining about the problem. The reflective coating on some Kia HID systems can burn off, causing dim lighting. I did more digging and found that Kia had acknowledged the issue and offered replacement housings at one point. I contacted my Kia dealer, and they denied my request. Likewise, I called Kia corporate, and they denied my request, and I called them twice.
So I started hunting for a replacement housing; let me tell you that these housings are not cheap, at least the HID version. Even used ones were $350 to $500, and there was no guarantee they would work. Brand new HID housings were even more expensive. I found one website selling some nice double HID projector housings for nearly $2,000. Finally, after days of searching, I stumbled on VisionAutoworks. Let’s get into this review.
The Quick Take
VisionAutoworks offers headlight upgrade packages from Acura to Volkswagen. Their website shows twenty different brands they work on.
They offer many services, options, and packages, and I went with the bare-bones basic package. You might like to do some other things with your headlights.
I won’t recommend VisionAutoworks to anyone outright; this is a lot of money to spend on headlights. What I will say is that I am a delighted customer, and I am pleased to be able to see down the road at night again. This headlight retrofit was worth the $950 after taxes and shipping to me.
VisionAutoworks offers a few ways to get your headlights retrofitted. First, you can send your existing headlight assembly to them, and they will retrofit those for you. This will save you some money. I went with the second option because my assembly was unsuitable due to the burnt coating. They ordered new assemblies for me and retrofitted those.
The convenience and cost savings to me was that they could order the halogen assemblies and not the HID assemblies (which are far costlier) and retrofit those assemblies for my Kia Optima SX. The exterior design of the assemblies isn’t changed; these are basically OEM-style assemblies.
The real magic of design happens inside the assemblies. VisionAutoworks takes the assemblies apart and retrofits the projectors with 2.5″ Bi-LED lights, which are around 6,500K producing a very nice BRIGHT WHITE light. The company packs all the wiring inside the assembly, allowing you to use the factory harness for a plug-and-play installation. One thing worthy of mention is some upgrades may require additional wiring on the user’s part.
VisionAutoworks also offers halo upgrades, lens etching, lens tinting, and many other options. I chose to get the basic package because I was only interested in the ability to SEE AT NIGHT. So overall, there is a lot you can do regarding the design; basic was all I wanted and needed. Check the company’s package add-ons page for more on those.
I contacted VisionAutoworks via email to ask a few questions. They got back to me very quickly and on the weekend. After a volley of emails back and forth, I asked if I could call and chat with them instead; it would be far more manageable. They had no issue with that, and we talked for a significant amount of time, and my questions were answered, and I didn’t feel rushed.
We chatted a few more times before I eventually ordered my headlights, and VisionAutoworks was very clear and transparent about everything. The customer service is impeccable and some of the best I’ve ever experienced.
Every headlight housing installation is different. My 2013 Kia Optima SX requires that the front bumper be removed in order to remove the headlight housings. The process was not complicated, it was a pain in the butt, but I managed. These housings were a direct replacement for my existing housings, and I was able to plug the factory harness in, and everything worked as advertised.
You will need to aim and adjust your new headlights once they are installed. This is also going to be different from car to car. I could do this in under 30 minutes; the video below is a good starting point for understanding how to aim your headlights properly. Overall, the installation was a process and took some time, but it was not difficult.
HOLY COW! I know that my existing headlight housings were damaged, so they were not very bright. But I feel like even if they were not damaged; these VisionAutoworks retrofit headlights would outperform them anyway.
The light is white and bright, and I can see much further down the road than before. These are probably the best headlights I’ve ever had on a car. I am thrilled with how these are performing, and I think if I tweak the aim a bit more, I can get more coverage further out without blinding anyone.
Prices vary for a VisionAutoworks retrofit; you must contact the company with your specific car and need. These were well worth the $950 for me, and they paid for themselves the minute I drove with them the first night.
I am delighted with this purchase from VisionAutoworks. I am not happy that Kia would not cover something that is a safety concern. I will say that I am enjoying this 2013 Kia Optima SX, it’s a lot of fun, but that’s not cool that Kia leaves owners hanging like that. Thankfully, VisionAutoworks has a solution.
I would also recommend trying and testing the headlights somewhere dark before buying any car. It’s not always possible, so maybe buying a car in autumn or winter is a better option than summer.
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VisionAutoworksContact Company For Pricing
- Quality Bi-LED projector used
- Offers many services to upgrade your lights
- Impeccalbe customer service
- Amazing performance
- Plug-and-play install, now wiring required for these
- Install can be a pain, but not VisionAutoworks fault