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Headlight Colours - What Colours Are Available And Which Are Legal?

Headlight Colours - What Colours Are Available And Which Are Legal?


Headlights are one of the first things that people notice when they look at your car. Naturally, many drivers want to personalise their headlights.

One way to achieve a unique look is with different coloured headlights. But, when it comes to bulbs, not all colours are legal (or available).

Keep reading to find out which headlight colours are legal and non-road legal in the UK, US, EU and Australia.
 

In most countries, headlights are limited to just two colours - yellow or white. Of course, this covers a variety of tones. Most headlights bulbs fall somewhere along a spectrum that goes from yellow, to white, to blue. The colour temperature of a bulb tells you where on the spectrum the light will fall - bulbs with a lower Kelvin rating are more yellow, and those with a higher number are bluer. Typically, halogen headlight bulbs are more yellow, and xenon HID bulbs are closer to blue on the spectrum.
 

United Kingdom

In the UK, the law strictly limits the colour of headlights. The bulbs must either be white or yellow. That means bulbs that produce a blue light are not approved for road use.

Halogen Headlight Bulbs with a colour temperature over 4200K are not road legal. This is because the blue colour of the lights can confuse other drivers, who might think the blue lights belong to an emergency services vehicle.

However, xenon HID bulbs that appear bluer are still legal within certain limits. Some xenon HIDs with colour temperatures of up to 6000K are considered road legal.

You can use blue bulbs for off-road use. Other colours, such as green or purple, may be available but are practically guaranteed to get you pulled over.
 

European Union

If you're hoping to take a trip to Europe, expect to follow the same headlight rules you would anywhere else. Generally speaking, headlights in the EU must be yellow or white. HID lights that appear blue are allowed up to a certain point.

Previously, vehicles in Europe were required to have yellow headlights. There remains a common misconception that headlights in France can only be yellow, not white. While this was true for decades, the law changed to allow white headlights in 1993.

Today, new vehicles in the European Union must have white headlights. Yellow headlights are permitted on older vehicles already equipped with them.
 

United States

Figuring out the laws regarding headlights in the United States can be tricky. Laws about vehicle safety are under the control of the states, not the federal government. This means there are 50 different sets of rules about headlights and acceptable colours.

Luckily, most states follow the same general guidelines as the UK or EU. Headlights can be yellow or white, with some bluer xenon HID bulbs allowed, too.

Drivers should be careful that their headlights are not too blue, as this law is more strictly enforced in some localities.

Headlights for off-road use are available in a wide variety of colours. Drivers can purchase coloured bulbs or headlight tints in just about any colour. However, these are not road legal.
 

Australia

Just as in the UK, EU or US, Australian headlight laws are simple and limit drivers to either yellow or white headlights. Xenon HIDs can have a slightly blue colour, but Australian law forbids completely blue headlights.

Again, it's possible to purchase headlight bulbs in different colours, as well as tints that will change the colour of your headlights.

Drivers who install these modifications for street use are likely to end up paying a fine.

 

Can you have blue headlights?

Technically speaking you can, though these must actually be white bulbs with a blue tint. Blue bulbs are not road legal due to concerns over these getting mixed up with emergency vehicles as mentioned previously.

This means that you can have LEDs, xenon headlights or super blue halogen headlights provided that these are white bulbs providing only a blue tint.

 

What colour should daytime running lights be?

Daytime running lights help you to be seen more clearly during the day, with your front daytime lights shining white, and the back ones red. These should switch on automatically and off when your main headlights are switched on at night.

Daytime running lights are important as they reduce the risk of accidents in daytime and make sure you can be seen by vulnerable road users even in good weather conditions.

Ready to shop? View our range new by clicking on the link below.

 

Shop our range of legal coloured headlight bulbs here at PowerBulbs

 

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. Still have a question? Feel free to contact us.

 


About the Author

John Conboy is the founder of PowerBulbs.com, a UK based automotive lighting specialist, which ships bulbs worldwide. John has 20+ years experience in the industry and in that time has become an approved partner of Philips and OSRAM.