LED LIGHTS IN THE CAR. ARE THEY LEGAL? DO THEY PASS THE MOT?
Are you thinking of replacing your car’s light bulbs with modern LED lights? Surely you have many doubts about the legality and the requirements they must meet in order to install them and avoid sanctions. In this article, we explain everything you need to know to change the lights of your car.
Advantages of LED lights over halogens
The installation of LED lights in your car can be a great success, taking into account all the advantages that these offer. They will give your car an elegant, more modern look, and also have a much longer lifespan compared to halogen lights.
The advantages of LED lights and bulbs compared to more traditional halogens are many: they shine brighter, offer better quality light (which helps to reduce visual fatigue), are less likely to break and consume less energy than standard lights.
However, not everything was going to be good. The legality of these light bulbs can be questionable if you do not meet all the requirements for their correct installation.
Legality over the LED lights in the car, are they legal?
The first thing to be made clear is that the use of lamps which are not approved on the outside of the vehicle is prohibited. If the lights you want to install on your car comply with the homologation, you can continue; otherwise, you risk fines and penalties.
The next thing you should know is that you can change the rear pilots for other LED technology without having to go through the ITV, as long as they are approved.
When is it considered a major reform?
The subject begins to get complicated when what we want to change are the headlight bulbs. If you want to install LEDs such as dipped lights, road lights, turn lights, position lights or fog lights, you should advise beforehand.
Changing the front lights is considered a major reform. This also happens if you replace the original factory lights of the headlights with LED bulbs. Note that light bulbs are not always compatible with the interior of the lighthouse.
In addition, it does not matter if it is a halogen light bulb, xenon light bulb or Angel light bulb: any change in the type is considered reform, which makes it necessary to inspect the installed device and check the corresponding technical documentation (approval certificate, conformity report, workshop certificate…). We’ll see about that later.
Regulations governing it
The current legal framework includes the following normative references. ECE R37 for halogen lights, ECE R99 for xenon lights and ECE 128 for the above-mentioned LED bulbs. On the other hand, the ECE R10 of electromagnetic interference must be complied with.
In other words, if you exchange a halogen bulb for an LED bulb without complying with all this, we would be making an illegal modification, even if these lights were approved by the European Union.
With daylight lights, the same applies, whether halogen or LED, they must be governed by current regulations. ECE R48 (for installation) and ECE R87 (for DRL) must be complied with in this case. If the lamps are not approved and entered in the data sheet of the vehicle, they can be sanctioned or have an unfavourable result in the ITV.
However, if you are determined to change the lights of your vehicle, we will explain what you should take into account and the steps to follow to do so legally.
How to legalize the installation of LED lights in your vehicle?
First, as we have already stated in the previous paragraph, the lamps to be installed must be approved and in conformity with the current regulations. A report must be requested from a technical service of reforms (laboratory) that certifies that the installation and the technical characteristics comply with the regulations.
This report, together with the certificate of assembly in an authorized workshop, will be enough to go to an ITV station and legalize the installation.
Once we have passed through the ITV, and if everything is correct, the reform will be reflected in the technical file.
How much does it cost to change the bulbs for LED?
The price range is wide, but you can find LED lights from 20€. To the price of light bulbs must be added the cost of the installation, which must be undertaken by an authorised workshop, plus the corresponding costs to process the documentation and the issuance of the necessary certificates.
Is it worth putting on the LED lights?
Yes, the change from halogen lamps to LED lights in the long run results in economic savings, since the energy consumption is lower.