One of my favorite mods to my past cars is to swap the interior and exterior bulbs to LEDs, as I’ve done in my past Audis.
It’s a very cost effective modification (in this case, under $35 all said and done!), typically pretty straightforward to install, and dramatically changes the look of your car.
Manufacturers have finally caught on and made LEDs standard in their cars since they are superior in every way – less electrical draw, longer lifespan, and better light output – but older cars often don’t have them, or they were an option that cost several hundred dollars.
I looked it up and for the 958 Cayenne it was an $845 option called the “Extended LED Comfort Lighting Package.”
Yes, you read that right…almost 900 smackaroos for some LEDs!
Today you can buy the parts from Suncoast Porsche for $489.95 for the interior lights, plus an additional $59.95 for the dome lights, and that only covers the interior bulbs!
If you want to DIY this project, you can do it for well under $50. In fact, I only spent about $30 for the interior and another $50 for the exterior…crazy!
Best of all, it totally transforms your car.
LED Bulbs Needed:
What’s nice about this project, unlike many of my past cars, is that nearly every bulb in this car is a 194 style bulb, and the car doesn’t seem too finicky about changing from halogen to LEDs (some cars give a bulb out warning).
For the interior you’ll need:
- Footwell lights – 4 bulbs (194)
- Dome lights – 2 bulbs (194)
- Glove box – 1 bulb (194)
- Bottom of Door lights – 6 bulbs (194), one per door and then two in tailgate
- Rear Reading lights – 2 bulbs (194)
- Rear Cargo light – 1 bulb (4410)
- Vanity mirror lights – 2 bulbs (194)
INTERIOR TOTAL: 17 bulbs size 194, 1 bulb size 4410.
For the exterior you’ll need:
- Sidemarkers – 2 bulbs (194) CANBUS
- License Plate – 2 bulbs (194) CANBUS
- Rear View Mirrors – 2 bulbs (194)
- Cornering Lights – 2 bulbs (H7)
- High Beams – 2 bulbs (H7)
EXTERIOR TOTAL: 6 more 194 bulbs, 4 H7 Bulbs
COMPLETE CAR TOTAL: 25X 194 Bulbs, 4X H7 Bulbs, 1X 4410 Bulbs
Personally, I chose to skip the vanity mirrors as they make your face over-lit, and I also skipped the rear view mirrors as they were a bit trickier to install and they almost never come on, so it didn’t seem worth it even though I had the leftover bulbs to do it.
The cheapest, and best, option I could find was to order this all on Amazon. The 194 LED bulbs are sold in packets of 12 with free Prime shipping, so you need 1-2 packets for $10 each:
For the exterior bulbs, you’ll need CANBUS style ones, like there:
Next you’ll want one 4410 bulb for the cargo area overhead light, and there are plenty of options there but I chose this single bulb for $6.75:
Last but not least, if you want to do the cornering light & high beams, you’ll want to pickup two sets of LED H7 bulbs.
For the cornering lights they aren’t on often so you can buy some slimmer ones that don’t have large heat sinks so they fit easier, like these:
For the high beams, you should opt for ones with the built in heat sinks as you may be running these for extended periods of time and don’t want them to overheat. You can also run something more powerful, so check out these instead:
Optional parts you may also want:
- Interior trim removal tools: https://amzn.to/3bOLZhK
- High strength fishing line: https://amzn.to/2Th8LYO
I like to start with the easy stuff to get warmed up, plus you can immediately see the fruits of your labor which gets you excited for the rest of the project – so let’s start in the interior, working our way from easiest to hardest.
Front Dome Light LEDs
Needed: 2X 194 Bulbs
Difficulty: Low, approx 5-10 minutes to install
Despite the LED looking to be large, there are just two tiny bulbs lurking beneath it.
Simply pry the outer ring off first by putting a plastic wedge or trim removal tool near the back, and it pops off.
Once that is removed, then you can pull out the main unit which is also only held on by clips and it should swing down. Once you open it you can see the two bulbs and you simply twist them 90 degrees and then pull them out to remove them.
Replace each bulb with LED then reinsert to make sure they’re working. If they aren’t working, remove the bulb and flip the bulb 180 degrees and reinstall – LED bulbs have polarity so if they don’t work on first try simply swap positive/negative and try again.
Above you can see the 50/50 of having the left side with LED, the right side with halogen – what a difference! The right side now looks comically yellow/orange.
Finish on the other side, then reinstall the trim in reverse order. Make sure the outer trim clicks back into place.
Rear Overhead lights:
Needed: 2X 194 Bulbs, 1X 4410 Bulb
Difficulty: Low, 5-10 minutes
Let’s keep it easy (and overhead) with the rest of the dome lights in the back. Like before these pry off easily with an interior trim removal tool or any plastic wedge you can find around the house:
Once the housing comes out, twist the bulb to remove it, and then test before reinstalling to make sure it still works:
Last but not least, the rear dome light pops out the same way with metal clips, so use your plastic wedge yet again and pry that sucker loose.
Once you remove it, you’ll see a swinging metal door you’ll need to pull on to expose the bulb:
Once removed, the bulb pulls out and it takes a little finesse to get the new bulb in. If you have to, bend the metal retaining clips for the bulb to be wider or narrower depending on the size difference and angle needed.
Once the new bulb is installed, test it before fully reassembling and ensure the polarity is correct…once you’re good, wrap up the job and you’ve finished the headliner!
Bulbs needed: 6X 194 Bulbs
Difficulty: Easy, 2-3 minutes per bulb
These bulbs are even easier, believe it or not. Simply pry off the plastic cover using a flat head screwdriver (you should see a divot where the head of the screwdriver goes) and then pull the old bulb out, stick the new one in, test, and the reinstall the cover and make sure it clicks into place with two clicks on top and one click/tab on the bottom.
Repeat this on each door, and then two on the trunk lid, and you’re all set.
Bulbs needed: 4X 194 Bulbs
Difficulty: moderate, 15-20 minutes for the first one, 5-10 minutes once you get the hang of it
These lights are a bit harder since they have a metal covering that you have to pry off…it’s not that bad, and if you really struggle you can buy entire new housings for $9 each on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2X5T0oZ…but I’ll show you how to DIY for even less, and let you decide what’s best for you.
To remove the housings is pretty simple, use a trim removal tool or flat head screw driver to pry them out by pulling at one end. For the back of the front seats make sure to adjust the seats first to put them as high as they will go so you have extra room to work.
Unclip the wiring plug by squeezing on both sides to depress the black tabs, and then you can take the housing to a workbench or somewhere comfortable for the next step. Flip it over and you’ll find why this part is slightly trickier – the metal box that is protecting the bulbs.
To change the bulb we have to remove this metal backing. The good news is that it’s very thin metal and easy to pry. Insert a flat head screwdriver to an edge and you can bend the metal very easily away from the plastic housing, like so:
Once it’s removed, you can insert a new bulb and then test it to make sure the polarity is correct:
Once you are confident the polarity is correct, put the metal backing back on and you can bend it back into shape using your fingers or pushing with the end of a screwdriver.
Repeat in each footwell, and all of the sudden your interior is starting to come together!
Like before, locate the light inside of the glovebox and use a flathead screwdriver to pry it out. Pop out the old bulb, pop in the new one, test and then reinstall.
I didn’t do these, but here are instructions from Rennlist user blackland that seem to be pretty helpful:
As to your question, lets start with you sitting in the drivers seat (left hand drive). Slide the cover fully open, the lights come on. The sliding cover is not removable from what I can tell and should not be removed to do this.
Look in the left side of the lighted mirror, a little under the plastic of the sun visor and you will see a seam that runs from top to bottom. Inside this there are two tabs about 1 cm from the top and bottom of the piece with the mirror that is in the center. I placed the tip of the screwdriver in the middle of the seam in the center of the left side of the mirror and pried it open until the two tabs were free. The tabs are about 7 mm long.
Take the old bulbs out and put the new LEDS in with the light facing outboard from the center of the mirror.
It (eventually) goes back in the same way it came out. If it seems like the lights don’t work once you put them in they are on a timer; close the door and start the car to see if they work before you put the mirror back on.
There are a lot fewer bulbs, and they’re all pretty easy.
License Plate Bulbs:
These pry out pretty easily without any tools – just locate and push in the black plastic tab and the housing pops out.
Once you have it loose, twist out the bulb, insert new bulb, test and replace.
Note: if you get a “bulb out” warning on your dash after this, then you’ll want to pickup some CANBUS bulbs instead. They are a little more pricey but will eliminate the warning. In my experience the license plate bulbs tend to be the most finicky!
I didn’t do these on my car as it seemed like more hassle than it was worth for a bulb that almost never comes on, but here are some good instructions from Rennlist user waveforce:
Here are the steps:
1. Remove the mirror GLASS; it just pulls out. Same process as in the old Cayenne (attached: https://rennlist.com/forums/attachments/cayenne-958-2011-2018/927480d1428849431-diy-interior-led-light-package-document.pdf).
2. Look at all the tiny Torx screws that will be visible. ONE of them is holding the upper back part of the mirror housing (the part that is painted the body color). You can figure out which one by looking behind each screw to see what is attached to it.
3. Remove that one tiny Torx screw.
4. Take a wedge (use a proper trim removal wedge, not a screwdriver. Those wedges are stupid cheap at Amazon, no reason to use anything else) and insert it around the top edge of the upper back of the mirror housing (between the part painted the body color and the black part that usually surrounds the mirror). At the same time, unclip it — there are two clips on either side of the Torx screw that you just removed.
5. Once the top is unclipped, continue to prop the housing open using the wedge. It comes off easily if you use the wedge.
6. Once the top housing is out, you’ll have access to the connector for bulb for the puddle lights. Just pull the connector out, and replace the bulb; make sure the LED is pointing downwards.
7. Follow the above steps in reverse.
These are a little trickier, and if you were wondering why you needed fishing line earlier, here is why…
To remove the sidemarkers slide the fishing line behind them so you can pull them out. They are held on by three tabs so tehy take a little force to remove.
If the line breaks, try doubling the line over so you have two strands of line behind the housing instead of one.
Once the housing is loose, you can twist out the old bulb like before, then insert the new bulb and test before reinstalling:
Repeat on the other side and voila!
Cornering & High Beam Bulbs:
Remove the headlight using the headlight removal tool in your trunk, following this video:
Swap out the bulbs by locating them, twisting them out, and twisting the new ones back in.
Without further adieu, a few pictures of the finished product – what. a game changer!
Drop me a comment and I’d be happy to help.