Are LED Headlights Road Legal?

Are LED Headlights Road Legal?

LED lights have become popular in a variety of applications, including in televisions, digital clocks, and now, in car lights. LED bulbs are now much more common in cars, including brake lights, fog lights, and interior lights. LED headlights are increasing in popularity, too. However, the legality of these bulbs can be questionable.

The general rule is if you have a halogen bulb currently installed and you want to upgrade to LED, it won't be road legal. It's classed as a kind of headlight modification, as you're switching halogen technology to LED technology.

However, if you're looking for an LED headlight upgrade for off-road use, it's now easier than ever to purchase and install a high-quality option.

What makes headlights road legal?

Road legal headlights are those that are legal to use on the street. Every country has different laws that determine exactly what makes car bulbs road legal, but there are some basic guidelines you can follow to ensure your headlights are road legal.

When using your headlights, the goal is to be able to see objects on the road around 50 - 100 metres ahead of you. Your lights must be bright enough to allow you to see, but they shouldn't be so bright that they blind other drivers.

There are also laws regarding the colour of your headlights. Regardless of which country you live in, the law requires your headlights to be yellow or white. Some drivers may find that certain car bulbs are too blue, making them non-road legal.

LED headlights

LED headlights can be a great purchase. They'll give your car a stylish look, and they also have a much longer lifetime in comparison to a halogen. The trick with LED headlights is to find bulbs from reputable sellers. Our best advice is to buy LEDs manufactured by well-known, high-quality brands, such as Philips or OSRAM.

There are two problems with using cheap LED headlights that you can find on online marketplaces. One, they can be too bright. Although the law requires drivers to use headlights that illuminate the road ahead sufficiently, it is actually possible to have lights that are too bright.

Cheap LED car headlight bulbs could cause problems for other drivers. If you've ever driven past or been in front of a car with its high beams on, you know how problematic this is. Drivers may be dazzled or blinded by bright lights, especially when they're reflecting off the rear view mirror or passing by on a dark country road.

Another potential problem with LED headlights is the way they're angled. When drivers switch from halogen to xenon HID, they must use an HID conversion kit that ensures the new, brighter bulbs are pointing in the right direction - down and away from oncoming traffic. Otherwise, the light from the bulbs can sometimes shine directly at other vehicles.

Drivers who replace their halogen bulbs with LED headlights may not properly align their new headlights. If you purchase LED bulbs, make sure you realign your bulbs to elimate the risk of blinding oncoming drivers.

In theory, LED headlights are a great idea. However, because of their issues, it's difficult to find LED headlights that are safe and road legal. Here at PowerBulbs, we do sell high-quality LED headlights from a variety of trusted manufacturers. Whilst they are not road legal, the bulbs are designed with specialist technology that make them a lot safer to use and won't dazzle other drivers.

It's worth noting that many LED headlight bulbs will require a CANbus control unit to help them work correctly. You can take a look at CANbus control units here, or find out more about what they do here.

When bought from a reputable manufacturer, LED headlights can look stylish whilst minimising risk to other drivers. Avoid buying cheap LEDs from online marketplaces - these bulbs are likely to cause you and your car many problems.


Shop our range of LED headlight bulbs here.

Other LED lights

LEDs can also be useful in other applications. There are many advantages to using LEDs as brake lights, fog lights, or interior lights.

Thanks to their brightness, LED brake lights make it easier for other drivers to see when you're slowing or stopping. LEDs also have a faster response time than other types of light bulbs. This means that when you step on the brake, they light up immediately. If you stop suddenly, the driver behind you will have extra time to react. In fast-moving traffic, those extra seconds could prevent an accident.

LED bulbs are also great as fog lights or interior lights. They're just as bright has halogens but use less power and last longer. You won't have to worry about your bulbs burning out and you'll spend less time and money replacing them in the long run.

However, please note that any LED bulbs used in your brake, sidelights or fog lights are not road legal, either. 


If you're interested in switching to high-performing, stylish LEDs, check out our selection of LED headlights, interior and exterior bulbs.


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