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LEGALITY OF UPGRADING FROM HALOGEN TO HID or LED HEADLIGHTS. MOT TEST. ??????


Wrinkly
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I have been researching into the question, "Can vehicles (cars) still pass an MOT Test if their original Halogen Headlights have been upgraded to either HID or LED bulbs.

There seems to be an awful amount of opinion and conjecture on this subject.  BUT, as best as I can find in a legal stance, it appears to be that any originally fitted halogen lit headlamp car first registered after 1st of April 1986, would still fail an MOT. As per Special Notice 01:21headlampt conversion.

Below are links to :

GOV.UK MOT Special Notice 01:21, which attempts to clarify the situation.  

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/special-notice-01-21-headlamp-conversions/mot-special-notice-01-21-headlamp-conversions

A long article by well known Bulb supplier ABD , which seems a very comprehensive explanation of the situation.

https://www.autobulbsdirect.co.uk/blog/the-brightest-car-light-bulbs/

 

Personally I am NOT (and would not) suggesting that they should not be fitted (as that is a right of choice for every individual). However I do have an opinion that the offence is not in using them (as this would be very difficult to establish direct evidence at the roadside) but that the problem will occur when an MOT Tester finds these type of bulbs (again depends on how strict the examination is ). One thing I am sure of however, is that being the owner/user of a Jaguar S Type, it is not going to be easy for an MOT examiner to identify what actual type of Bulb is being used by sighting (direct evidence) the Bulb without time consuming (due to not easy access) removal of the backing to the headlamp unit.

This submission does not take any account of matters such as dazzle to other road users etc., which of course is altogether another discussion.

This legality (or not), is in my opinion, up to each and every individual to make their own decision. I have just attempted to provide some information which can be read and digested before making your own decision.

Best Wishes and Regards, John

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I would like to put my 2 pence worth in regarding dazzle of these super bright bulbs. I live quite close to two American Air bases which, unfortunately, do occasionally have there U.S. cars sent over here. When night driving past the bases there are a lot of on coming road users that, obviously, haven't had their head lights re aligned for right side driving. I know that they are instructed to have the lights done and many do, but there are still lots of their cars that haven't been dip left changed.

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On 1/12/2022 at 5:38 PM, Max Lloyd said:

I would like to put my 2 pence worth in regarding dazzle of these super bright bulbs. I live quite close to two American Air bases which, unfortunately, do occasionally have there U.S. cars sent over here. When night driving past the bases there are a lot of on coming road users that, obviously, haven't had their head lights re aligned for right side driving. I know that they are instructed to have the lights done and many do, but there are still lots of their cars that haven't been dip left changed.

Max

Very annoying and dangerous actions. Perhaps someone (maybe yourself) local to the American bases should report this ongoing occurrence to the authorities. I believe within the perimeters of the actual bases local authorities do not have powers to intervene, however once private vehicles from them bases come onto British roads they have to comply with the law. It may prove provident to inform the Traffic Division of Sussex Constabulary of these incidents and your concerns over safety on the roads at night. 

 

Best Wishes and Regards, John

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2 hours ago, Wrinkly said:

Max

Very annoying and dangerous actions. Perhaps someone (maybe yourself) local to the American bases should report this ongoing occurrence to the authorities. I believe within the perimeters of the actual bases local authorities do not have powers to intervene, however once private vehicles from them bases come onto British roads they have to comply with the law. It may prove provident to inform the Traffic Division of Sussex Constabulary of these incidents and your concerns over safety on the roads at night. 

 

Best Wishes and Regards, John

 

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2 hours ago, Wrinkly said:

Max

Very annoying and dangerous actions. Perhaps someone (maybe yourself) local to the American bases should report this ongoing occurrence to the authorities. I believe within the perimeters of the actual bases local authorities do not have powers to intervene, however once private vehicles from them bases come onto British roads they have to comply with the law. It may prove provident to inform the Traffic Division of Sussex Constabulary of these incidents and your concerns over safety on the roads at night. 

 

Best Wishes and Regards, John

 

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I worked on base for 10 years and tried reporting to base police who, more or less, told me to do as you said. Eventually I tried to contact the base comander, just when there was a change of command. I'm going to try again.

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16 hours ago, Max Lloyd said:

I worked on base for 10 years and tried reporting to base police who, more or less, told me to do as you said. Eventually I tried to contact the base comander, just when there was a change of command. I'm going to try again.

Max

Not surprised at the reaction of the base Police. They will not be interested as they have no jurisdiction outside of the base. You will only sytand any chance of action if it via Sussex Constabulary, who are responsible for the public highways beyond the base.

Best Wishes, John 

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Yes John your right. 

I plan to raise the subject as soon as I can. Right now I'm up to my ears in too many other things my restoration work is progressing quite well but as soon as it's done that will be top of the list.

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3 hours ago, Max Lloyd said:

Yes John your right. 

I plan to raise the subject as soon as I can. Right now I'm up to my ears in too many other things my restoration work is progressing quite well but as soon as it's done that will be top of the list.

Max

Hope your restoration work progresses well and that you then have success with the lighting complaint with Sussex Constabulary. Well done for taking it up.

Best Wishes, John

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/16/2021 at 2:23 PM, Wrinkly said:

I have been researching into the question, "Can vehicles (cars) still pass an MOT Test if their original Halogen Headlights have been upgraded to either HID or LED Bulbs.

There seems to be an awful amount of opinion and conjecture on this subject.  BUT, as best as I can find in a legal stance, it appears to be that any originally fitted halogen lit headlamp car first registered after 1st of April 1986, would still fail an MOT. As per Special Notice 01:21headlampt conversion.

Below are links to :

GOV.UK MOT Special Notice 01:21, which attempts to clarify the situation.  

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/special-notice-01-21-headlamp-conversions/mot-special-notice-01-21-headlamp-conversions

A long article by well known bulb supplier ABD , which seems a very comprehensive explanation of the situation.

https://www.autobulbsdirect.co.uk/blog/the-brightest-car-light-bulbs/

 

Personally I am NOT (and would not) suggesting that they should not be fitted (as that is a right of choice for every individual). However I do have an opinion that the offence is not in using them (as this would be very difficult to establish direct evidence at the roadside) but that the problem will occur when an MOT Tester finds these type of bulbs (again depends on how strict the examination is ). One thing I am sure of however, is that being the owner/user of a Jaguar S Type, it is not going to be easy for an MOT examiner to identify what actual type of bulb is being used by sighting (direct evidence) the bulb without time consuming (due to not easy access) removal of the backing to the headlamp unit.

This submission does not take any account of matters such as dazzle to other road users etc., which of course is altogether another discussion.

This legality (or not), is in my opinion, up to each and every individual to make their own decision. I have just attempted to provide some information which can be read and digested before making your own decision.

Best Wishes and Regards, John

As a stype owner I found this very interesting. Thanks 

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  • 1 month later...

I haven't read all the thread to be honest but for what it's worth I swapped out the original halogen bulbs on my XF, which I thought were a bit naff, and replaced them with LED bulbs. MOT test passed and it wasn't mentioned. Techinically all you would have to do is replace them back to the original bulbs for the MOT test. I doubt that it's likely to be anything you would ever get pulled up for, but it could possibly void the insurance in the event of an accident. 

My understanding of the law is that you can change original halogens for HID type, but not LED type bulbs. It's apparently something to do with the beam pattern which was originally unsuitable for use with headlights, although it's no longer the case as better ones have been produced since the legislation came into effect. The main concern would be the insurance issue but even then it's probably not something an investigator would look at. 

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1 hour ago, Coolcity said:

I haven't read all the thread to be honest but for what it's worth I swapped out the original halogen bulbs on my XF, which I thought were a bit naff, and replaced them with LED bulbs. MOT test passed and it wasn't mentioned. Techinically all you would have to do is replace them back to the original bulbs for the MOT test. I doubt that it's likely to be anything you would ever get pulled up for, but it could possibly void the insurance in the event of an accident. 

My understanding of the law is that you can change original halogens for HID type, but not LED type bulbs. It's apparently something to do with the beam pattern which was originally unsuitable for use with headlights, although it's no longer the case as better ones have been produced since the legislation came into effect. The main concern would be the insurance issue but even then it's probably not something an investigator would look at. 

Quote

 

Tony, It might be a good idea so as mistakes are not made, that you do read the whole of the thread and the appropriate dates on this matter of law. The fact that your car passed its MOT, is not unusual, but most MOT inspectors are aware of the law and can rightfully fail relevant cars.

Class 3,4,5 and 7 vehicles

For class 3,4,5 and 7 vehicles, the defect ‘Light source and lamp not compatible’ only applies to vehicles first used on or after 1 April 1986.

Should a vehicle be presented for an MOT test with conversions before 1 April 1986 they must not be failed with immediate effect.

Vehicles presented with converted halogen headlamp units first used on or after 1 April 1986 will continue to be failed.

Headlamps must comply with all other requirements of the test and headlamp aim.

The cars and passenger vehicles inspection manual will be updated shortly.

 

Regards and Best Wishes , John

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Yes, good point. I have read that but I was under the impression that it was quite an old article and decided to check if the law had been updated since, but I haven't got around to it yet.

I was more concerned about the insurance side of things to be honest but I asked them if switching to LED bulbs made a difference to the policy and they said it didn't, which given that it's an MOT fail was a bit of a surprise. 

At least I can see at night. 

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10 hours ago, Coolcity said:

Yes, good point. I have read that but I was under the impression that it was quite an old article and decided to check if the law had been updated since, but I haven't got around to it yet.

I was more concerned about the insurance side of things to be honest but I asked them if switching to LED bulbs made a difference to the policy and they said it didn't, which given that it's an MOT fail was a bit of a surprise. 

At least I can see at night. 

I did check for later rules/regulations but as far as I can find there are non and this is the latest that is referred to in my submission. I to can now see at night having upgraded my bulbs with RING Xenon 200 bulbs (which meet legal requirements) and along with making certain the headlamps were adjusted correctly made one heck of a difference.

Just for info, my eyes are 72 years young and are tested annually.

Guidance

MOT special notice 01-21: headlamp conversions

Published 19 March 2021

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I came to the MoT links above from a different angle. In theory an MoT tester can give your post-1986 car an automatic fail if it's fitted with LED lights, but if you bring a motorcycle fitted with LEDs, it's not an automatic fail.  Why not?

I emailed the question to the MoT people and was told I needed to refer the anomaly to my MP. I haven't the time or commitment to do so, but I did ask the owner of the garage where I've been taking assorted cars and bikes for testing over the years. In short, his position is that, if the headlamp beam pattern is good and without dazzle, it's a pass, whatever bulbs are fitted. We didn't discuss HID lights, which should only be fitted to cars with self- levelling an with headlamp washers. 

I decided to fit LED dips to my '04 petrol SE. These are the useful compact H7s from Twenty20 and seem to have a good cut-off and little stray light. I've used them in a fair bit of night driving and not been flashed yet. The beams are good to drive behind with no noticeable dark spots. However, the experience of driving with combined LED dips and halogen mains made me feel so uncomfortable that I ordered the compact HB3s. I chose the compacts because they don't have fans on the bulbs and they fit nicely in the headlamp casings with covers on.

That's my two penn'orth. 

 

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15 minutes ago, hawkaye said:

I came to the MoT links above from a different angle. In theory an MoT tester can give your post-1986 car an automatic fail if it's fitted with LED lights, but if you bring a motorcycle fitted with LEDs, it's not an automatic fail.  Why not?

I emailed the question to the MoT people and was told I needed to refer the anomaly to my MP. I haven't the time or commitment to do so, but I did ask the owner of the garage where I've been taking assorted cars and bikes for testing over the years. In short, his position is that, if the headlamp beam pattern is good and without dazzle, it's a pass, whatever bulbs are fitted. We didn't discuss HID lights, which should only be fitted to cars with self- levelling an with headlamp washers. 

I decided to fit LED dips to my '04 petrol SE. These are the useful compact H7s from Twenty20 and seem to have a good cut-off and little stray light. I've used them in a fair bit of night driving and not been flashed yet. The beams are good to drive behind with no noticeable dark spots. However, the experience of driving with combined LED dips and halogen mains made me feel so uncomfortable that I ordered the compact HB3s. I chose the compacts because they don't have fans on the bulbs and they fit nicely in the headlamp casings with covers on.

That's my two penn'orth. 

 

Chris,

Yes, I have no doubt that MOT tests/testers will "PASS and Overlook" matters and referred to that fact in my initial submission. It is one of them facts of life that the law is often an "!Removed!" and can be interpreted to fit the circumstances. Further fact is that in this day and age, who is going to "police/monitor" the situation. Answer, nobody because there are just not enough personnel in the relevant service/departments to do.

All the best, John

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