Are LED headlights upgrades legal in the UK?
Chris Hunt Cooke highlights a useful website which has clear
information on the current legal position with LED bulbs used
as an upgrade on classic cars. The ABD website covers the key
areas of concern:
of aftermarket LED bulbs
> passing an MOT with LED bulbs
> Sealed LED headlight units
> why are LED headlights blinding?
the ABD guide
LED bulbs as an upgrade road legal?
Aftermarket LED bulbs are not road legal according to the Road
Vehicles Lighting Regulations as they are not E marked. Sections
4 & 5 state that dipped beam and main beam headlights are
required to have an approval mark - usually E mark or a British
Standard mark. For nearly every other application on your vehicle,
an approval mark is also required.
Use of LED upgrades in headlights and sidelights
Headlight units are manufactured around a specific technology.
If the bulbs for your dipped beam headlights are H4, the H
stands for Halogen meaning the headlight unit including the
reflector has been purposely built for a Halogen bulb. The number
that follows the H indicates that only an H bulb
with the same number can be installed.
Rear stop lamp bulbs are required by law to operate between
15 and 36 watts. This would have made sense for a filament bulb,
however an LED would produce an immense amount of light at 15
watts. Every time you press the brakes, you would be blinding
the person behind you.
our earlier articles on headlamp upgrades
Installing DRLs in replacement H4 Halogen MGBGTV8 headlamps
MGBGTV8 Halogen headlight conversion with twin relays
has not kept up with technology
Unfortunately, the legislation is old and outdated. Written
in 1986, there are still many things that need to be changed.
Perhaps a better way to set the standards is to use other metrics.
For example, instead of a minimum or maximum wattage, lumens
would be a better metric. Lumens are a measure of the total
amount of light emitted.
MOT testing with aftermarket LED bulb upgrades
MOT testing centres should still pass LED upgrade bulbs in your
headlights as long as your beam pattern is set correctly. There
is never a guarantee that your vehicle will pass an MOT if you
have purchased cheap or faulty products so ABD advise "always
ensure that you purchase quality branded LED bulbs from reputable
beam and main
beam bulb guides