Are Aftermarket Headlights Suitable For Road Usage?

Are Aftermarket Headlights Suitable For Road Usage?

Adding cool new headlights is one of the most common ways to upgrade your vehicle. Aftermarket headlights are often brighter and more stylish than the standard headlights your car is equipped with. They can even be purchased in a variety of colours. However, not all aftermarket headlights are safe (or legal) for road usage. The wrong aftermarket headlights could earn you a ticket or a hefty fine, not to mention the potential safety risks involved.

Projector headlights

Many drivers choose to install aftermarket projector headlights on their cars. These are a newer type of headlight housing that creates a brighter light. Projector headlights are also angled differently than the traditional reflector headlights, so they illuminate more of the road and less of the surrounding area. Certain vehicles today come with projector headlights already installed, but they can also be added to any vehicle in place of their existing headlights.

Although projector headlights are significantly brighter than reflector headlights, they are usually road legal. Properly installed projector headlights are less likely to dazzle oncoming traffic, due to the way they're angled. This can actually make these types of headlight a better, safer choice for drivers. In fact, if you're looking to use upgraded, brighter headlight bulbs (for example, if you use xenon HID bulbs or want to install an HID conversion kit), projector headlights are almost always necessary. You'll be able to use these bulbs without the risk of blinding other drivers.

HID bulbs

Replacing your headlight bulbs isn't quite the same as installing aftermarket headlights, but many drivers still have questions about the legality of aftermarket bulbs. Xenon HID bulbs have become extremely popular in the past decade, and nobody can seem to agree or not whether they're road legal.

In most cases, xenon HIDs are fine to use on the road. They become a safety and legal problem when they are too bright, or they're used incorrectly. Specific laws about the brightness of HID bulbs vary depending on where you live. If the lights are blinding other drivers, they're too bright to use on the road.

You may also find that HID bulbs aren't the right colour for road usage. Typically, headlights must produce a white or yellow colour to be considered road legal. Xenon HIDs tend to be a brighter, cooler colour. In some cases, HIDs have a colour temperature so high that they appear blue. While many drivers prefer this colour, bulbs that are too blue aren't allowed on most roads.

Installing xenon HIDs in reflector headlights can also create problems. While projector headlights are designed to aim the light only at the road, reflector headlights are less sophisticated. They simply reflect light outward. If you install HID bulbs in these, you run the risk of shining too much light right into the eyes of other drivers. Using projector headlights with HID bulbs is much safer and less likely to get you a ticket for excessively bright headlights.

Shop xenon HID bulbs here.

Tinted headlights

To enhance the style of their vehicle, some drivers use tinted headlights. These are headlight casings that have a coloured tint (usually grey or black) which changes the colour of the light produced. Tinted headlights can look stylish, but most of the time, they are not road legal.

If your headlights are tinted, they may appear too dim. Every country and state has different laws regarding the required brightness of headlights. Headlights that are too dim don't serve their purpose of illuminating the road. Tints also make it harder for other drivers to spot your vehicle, which could potentially cause serious safety issues.

Colourful headlights are also illegal. Whilst blue or pink headlights may enhance the look of your car, they create problems on the road. Red or blue lights could be mistaken for emergency vehicles. Colourful tinted headlights may also appear less bright.

The best headlights should help you see the road ahead and make your vehicle safer. Any headlights that make driving more difficult are not only likely to be illegal, they're not safe. Stick to bright headlights and high-quality bulbs and you should have no problems with either vision or style. Here at PowerBulbs we offer a wide range of both xenon HID and halogen headlight bulbs that provide a brighter light than standard, but still remain road legal.

Shop car bulbs here.