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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:
> legalities of aftermarket LED bulbs
> passing an MOT with LED bulbs
> Sealed LED headlight units
> why are LED headlights blinding?
See the ABD guide

Posted: 200303



Are 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. S
ections 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.
See our earlier articles on headlamp upgrades

Installing DRLs in replacement H4 Halogen MGBGTV8 headlamps V8NOTE573

MGBGTV8 Halogen headlight conversion with twin relays V8NOTE577

Legislation 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Unfortunately, the legislation is old and outdated.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 sellers".
ABD dipped beam and main beam bulb guides

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