First, many consumers seem to be confused by the symbol “DOT” on replacement lights, including xenon or HID conversion kits. “DOT” doesn't mean the Department of Transportation has approved the lights; rather, it's the manufacturer's own certification of compliance with federal standards, according to NHTSA.
30122, which prohibits a mechanic from rendering inoperative any equipment installed in accordance with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, NHTSA says. That gives law enforcement the power to stop and issue citations for vehicles they believe contain illegal aftermarket xenon or HID lamps.
Some of the cars you see with blue headlights came with high-intensity discharge (HID) lights from the factory, and they are totally legal. This is a pretty complicated subject when you get right down to it, but the simple answer is that you should check into the specific laws where you live before you put anything other than a stock replacement headlight bulb in your car. Stock Halogen Vs.
Factory HID lights are similar, but instead of a reflector designed for a halogen capsule, they utilize a projector assembly. What that means is that while you can buy HID capsules that will slide right into your factory headlight assembly, doing so can create issues with bright, unfocused beans that shine all over the place and can consequently cause problems for other drivers.
For instance, HID headlights utilize a ballast, which halogen capsules don’t require. Additionally, the NHTSA found that HID conversion kits often exceeded the rated output of factory headlights, often by a great deal.
Don’t Believe the Dotson may have heard that it’s okay to install an HID conversion kit if it has a DOT logo on it, but the fact is that this mark only means that the company that manufactured the product has self-certified that it meets federal requirements. However, you could still get pulled over, and you could still end up with a ticket, depending on how the laws are worded where you live, and the priorities of the local police department.
In fact, it’s entirely possible that you could be pulled over simply for driving around with halogen bulbs that have a blue coating to approximate the look of HID lights. This is because bulbs begin to produce a light with a slight blue tint when they reach a color temperature of around 4200K.
If everyone had blue -tinted headlights, the emergency vehicles might struggle to be spotted by traffic which could potentially cause many problems. Some manufacturers put a blue coating on the bulb to make the beam as white as possible.
As long as this doesn’t push the color temperature up past 4200K, this is road legal. On many new vehicles including Audi, BMW and Mercedes, new xenon HID lighting can give a very slight blue tint.
The reason why xenon HID bulbs can be blue and still road legal is all down to legislation. As Xenon bulbs became more popular, new laws were created that were more detailed and allow for higher color temperatures.
They can achieve higher color temperatures without the need for a blue coating, which means that you won’t have to compromise on light output. Street legal bulbs such as the PISA Extreme White Plus and SRAM Cool Blue Intense are perfect examples of bulbs that you can use on the road whilst achieving a great styling effect and crisp white light.
These halogen bulbs have a color temperature of 6000K, producing a strong white- blue light on the road. Factory-fitted Xenon HID scan produce higher Kelvin ratings than halogen bulbs and still be fully road legal.
Standard HID bulbs usually run at around 4600K and produce a very bright, crisp white light. If this is the sort of look that you are after, and you have a vehicle that takes HID bulbs as standard, then the SRAM Xe narc Cool Blue Intense and Philips Xenon WhiteVision gen2 ranges are both a fantastic choice.
The Highway Traffic Act also says headlights have to be installed, aligned and maintained properly so as not to cause glare or dazzle oncoming drivers. If improperly installed, maintained or aligned headlights are blinding drivers, the fine is $110.
“It's an issue if lights aren't aimed properly,” says OPP highway safety division Sergeant Kerry Schmidt. “ Headlights aren't really becoming brighter because standards limit the amount of light from all headlights at the same levels,” says Michael Flanagan, an associate professor with the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute.
These aftermarket bulbs are not HID light units, may not meet provincial or state regulations, and are, in fact, illegal. Electrodes are wired to ballast containing a circuit board with several high current capacitors, transistors, and resistors.
These are much more complex and costly units and not duplicated by simply replacing the bulb in a standard halogen headlight. Law enforcement people do not have the time or manpower to pull these vehicles over and verify whether the headlights meet standards.
(b) The prohibition contained in subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to any elected sheriff who, pursuant to an agreement between the sheriff and the county governing authority, is using his or her personal motor vehicle in a law enforcement activity, provided such vehicle is marked as provided in Code Section 40-8-91. © It shall be unlawful for any person to use any motor vehicle equipped with flashing, blinking, revolving, or stationary blue lights in the commission of a felony, and, upon conviction of a violation of this subsection, the punishment shall be a fine of not less than $1,000.00 or imprisonment of not less than one year, or both.
Light technology has evolved hugely over the past 20 to 30 years, and it’s fair to say the regulations have struggled to keep up. Firstly, there’s auto-dimming technology: systems that drop the high-beam headlights when an oncoming car is detected.
Likewise, some matrix light systems that split the gaze of the high beam aren’t as accurate as they should be. In the space of 30 years, we’ve gone from veritable candles in jam jars to virtual daylight.
Some of us still make do with older cars with dull lights and, from that perspective, an LED-clad SUV barreling round a corner can look dazzling. Driving a Fiat 500, you might find a new Range Rover shines too bright in your rear-view mirror.
While lights conform to present standards, more efficient LED technology may require a regulatory rethink. Given the UN Economic Commission for Europe is looking into how lighting regulations need to change, expect an update soon.
Lights are regulated very stringently, with beams only allowed to shine within specific areas in front of the car. It’s also why you need stick-on adjusters for when you drive abroad, given European countries use the other side of the road.
These were Philips upgraded items, OEM fitment bulbs and aftermarket ‘eBay specials’. Although they’ve gone through several iterations, the same basic formula of a metal filament inside a pressurized glass container remains widely used today.
They are much more efficient than halogen or xenon, produce crisper light and can be more precisely controlled with software. LED lighting in cars first appeared in the mid 2000s, when Audi introduced it on the R8 supercar.
Perennially stuck between French hot hatches and Australian muscle cars. Some emit a more yellowish hue while others have a white or even blue -tinted glow, and modern cars tend to have far brighter lights than older models.
Standard halogen bulbs are the cheapest to make but don’t last that long; they aren’t the brightest and emit the yellowish light mentioned above. Xenon bulbs (also referred to as high-intensity discharge or HID) are more expensive but last longer, are far brighter and emit a white light that’s more similar to daylight.
Xenon headlights are typically around two to three times brighter than halogen headlights, allowing them to shine significantly further ahead of your car. The extra visibility ahead when driving a car fitted with xenon headlights could make the difference when spotting and braking for a hazard.
The main disadvantage of xenon lights is their complexity; they are more advanced and costly pieces of equipment than a simple halogen headlight and bulb. LED headlights are taking the automotive world by storm, so in most cases it’s likely that we’ll see fewer new models being launched with xenon headlights in the future.
In an era where car engineers are fighting to squeeze every extra mile from a tank of fuel and reducing tailpipe emissions, these energy savings all add up. LED lights are also favored by car designers, because they can me made in almost any shape and size by placing them in arrays, where they’re stacked together like building blocks.
This gives designers the scope to make cars with very narrow headlights, or create elaborate shapes not previously possible, helping new models stand out.