Are Xenon HID Conversion Kits Road Legal?

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If you’re unsure about your vehicle and whether or not it would be legal for you to have a HID Conversion Kit Fitted, please call us on 0871 2887 666 and we’ll go through it with you and give our honest opinion.

A frequently asked question “Are Xenon HID Conversion Kits Road Legal?” and to be completely honest there is no short & simple answer at this present moment in time because currently, we rely on the information given to us by DFT (Department For Transport) and they give only their opinion:

“In the Department’s view it is not legal to sell or use after market HID lighting kits, for converting conventional Halogen headlamps to HID Xenon.”
Taken from source – click here for full article.

This is primarily their “view” on the subject and not necessarily a law in itself. We’ve seen debates across 100′s of forums including the UKPOLICEONLINE forum where officers of all ranks were giving mixed opinions on the topic. We’ve put together this article to outline the main reasons why HID conversion kits are considered illegal for road use but also, there are standards which could easily be met to have your HID conversion kit deemed as road legal and we’ve detailed it all for you below.

Why are HID Conversion Kits considered Illegal For Road Use?

Patterned HeadlightMany older vehicles have headlamps which are designed specifically for HALOGEN bulbs only. These headlamps have a patterned glass and work to very precise tolerances. Changing the bulbs to Xenon HID will cause a lot of Glare as the light appears scattered due to the patterned glass reflecting the light wrongly. Glare on the road is dangerous as it will dazzle on coming drivers and could be the cause to serious incidences.

Improper alignment is another reason why HID Conversion Kits are a problem. After fitting a HID kit to your vehicle, you may disturb the alignment of your headlights. We always advise that you get the headlight alignment checked to ensure that they are not too high else they will be dazzling on coming drivers on the roads. You can check this against a wall on a level ground.

What Are the Exceptions & How Can I Make My HID Kit Road Legal?

To the best of our knowledge, if you’ve got headlamps with clear lenses i.e. no pattern on the front glass/plastic, then this will help to greatly reduce glare. Now there are two types of headlamps, reflector and projector. The reflector headlamp has a foil-type mirror finish on the inside which the conventional Halogen bulb uses to excel the light outwards. The Xenon HID light will bounce around inside the headlight on this mirror finish and up to 30% of the light will end up being excelled out of the headlamp in the wrong direction (possibly towards oncoming drivers causing glare/dazzling them). The other type is the Projector lens which will help focus the light to where you want it to go, this will eliminate any glare and is the appropriate setup for HID kits.

Xenon HID Glare

If you’ve got a reflector type headlamp, then we strongly recommend ugprading any HID conversion kit to the Anti-Glare bulbs. This will ensure that there is minimal glare and not only look better on the car, but will also help to avoid dazzling other drivers on the road.

If you’ve got the projector type headlamp, then either the anti-glare or standard HID conversion kit will do the job fine as the projector lens will focus the light forward to where you want it to go.

Now that’s the main points out of the way, there are just two other things that are a requirement to deem any HID kit road legal:

  • Auto-Levelling Headlights / Auto-Levelling Suspension
    Most cars after 2000 came with either auto-levelling headlights or auto-levelling suspension. You only need one or the other to be applicable.
  • Headlight Washer Jets
    Headlight washer jets are fitted to many cars in the bumper, if you haven’t got them already you can have them fitted at a reasonable price.

Projector Lens HeadlampIf you meet those two above requirements, have clear headlamps (not patterned) and have the appropriate bulb types i.e. anti-glare for reflector headlamps or normal HID bulbs for projector lamps then we believe you have met the requirements to have your HID Conversion Kit deemed applicable for road use i.e. ROAD LEGAL!

However, you must ensure that the HID conversion kit you purchase is also made to the highest quality standard. Ensure it is fully E-Marked & ISO-9001:2000 Approved. All SINSPEED HID Conversion Kits meet & exceed the required standards.

Why Does Sinspeed Sell HID Kits As “For Off Road Purposes Only?”

Well as you can see above, there is much confusion for many people as to what is road legal and what isn’t. By law we can’t sell a HID Kit as road legal (and all those other companies out there stating their kits are road legal, it’s a lie & they’re breaking the law). Therefore, we have to mark all HID Conversion Kits as “Sold For Off-Road & Show Purposes Only” because people buying these HID Kits to fit into their cars with patterned glass headlamps will not be meeting the DFT requirements.

If you’re unsure about your vehicle and whether or not it would be legal for you to have a HID Conversion Kit Fitted, please call us on 0871 2887 666 and we’ll go through it with you and give our honest opinion.

Written by Jason

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7 thoughts on “Are Xenon HID Conversion Kits Road Legal?

  1. Ken

    I admire your honesty and am glad you are a responsible seller who sells these for off road use only. Though there is one important fact missed off this article. The real reason HID conversion kits that simply replace an OEM halogen with a HID bulb is not road legal is quite simple. It is because no HID bulb has ever had ECE or BS approval for such application and that is required by law in the UK. In so all such kits are illegal for road use. Any kit being sold as E or BS approved is being sold fraudulently.

    A very similar thing has happened in the US. Over there they are required to be DOT approved. Again DOT have never approved such a item in the same way ECE and BS have never. The difference being over there the NHTSA has taken a proactive step in taking legal action on anyone who is fraudulently selling such kits as “DOT approved” or “road legal” unlike the UK where trading standards have agreed there is a problem and said such kits are not road legal but are being reluctant to take radical widespread action to stop there illegal misleading sale of such items.

    Reply
    1. Sinspeed Ltd Post author

      Hi Ken,

      Thank you for your interest in the topic and the input of your comment on our site. It will help both our customers and our readers make the right choice. It's good to see people are actually doing their research before going out and buying kits blindly. Many sellers on ebaY and other such places will sell these kits as "Road Legal" but then, they can simply disappear from ebaY and not have any worries of comebacks. We've been trading since November 2007, as a sister company to Power Steering Services & ECU Repairs which have been trading since 1972 so we're reluctant to give ourselves a bad name and strive to give our customers the best and most accurate information possible pre-sale.

      Kind Regards,
      Tech Team
      Sinspeed Ltd

      Reply
  2. Les Jones

    I Notice Everyone Always Think About Cars, Trucks And Van Lights Etc. Us Scooter/Motorcyclists Riders Have A Different Headlight Pattern And We Also Like To See And Be Seen, We Also Have To Argue Our point Every Time When We Follow Every Step To Be On The Road. I Myself Have Been Knocked Off My Motorcycle Because The Van Driver Didn’t See Me, Why Because He Was Too Busy Reading His Delivery Notes While Turning Right In To Me, I Had All My Lights On, The Right Indicator Going At The “T” Junction And I Was Wearing A High Viz Class3 Jacket. I Welcome Any Improvements To Help Us Survive On The Highway. I Cannot Understand Why It Takes So Long For New Devices To Be Legal Or Be Band.

    Reply
  3. Steve

    I recently installed a HID headlight conversion kit and was told by several of my friends that I could get stopped and have to pay a hefty ticket. Then I have some others that already have HID lights telling me that they never had a problem. Maybe it is just because they haven’t been caught yet?

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hi Steve

      The MOT here in the UK has been adapted to allow retro fitting aftermarket Xenon HID Conversion kits – providing the vehicle complies with the requirements which match the points above about having headlight washer jets in the bumpers and auto-levelling suspension etc.

      Kind Regards
      Jason

      Admin Team
      SINSPEED LTD

      Reply
  4. jamie

    So I’ve just checked the VOSA article on HID’s on there website and basically if the pattern is correct (Will pass M.O.T) and operations work correctly (Switch between dipped and main beam/ vise versa) they are legal, however…. The Xenon BULBS must be marked with the E trade emblem for European use or whatever to be legal which cannot be checked on M.O.T due to dismantling not being allowed through M.O.T, proper fitting of HID’s must be insured so not just slapped in and having it like a c*ck in a sock. Here is the link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hid-xenon-lighting-f0004708

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hi Jamie

      Correct, however if you want to be 100% legit you may need self-levelling headlamps and washer system in place on some vehicles.
      Thank you for the added information and reference link :)

      Kind Regards

      Jason
      Admin Team
      SINSPEED LTD

      Reply

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