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Common questions about LED lights

LED Headlights are now a hot topic after the LTO has intensified its drive against these blinding lights. We now run through the issue as I attempt to answer the common questions thrown at me about LED lights.

1. My car has passed its Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) with my headlights fitted with LED bulbs. If I pass the MVIS, then my LEDS are safe and legal?

The MVIS is a safety standard procedure that is very basic in nature coming from a technical stand point. It does not, generally, enforce approval instituted by the Land Transportation Office . Therefore, it is possible to have an unroad worthy car that has passed its MVIS Tests just because the headlights turn ON.

2. New cars are fitted with LED lamps and daylight running Lights.   Why can't I install LED bulbs in my car's lights to improve the looks and illumination?

New cars are fitted with LED lamps, which have been tested and pass worldwide automotive standards. These are not conversions and/or additions to the original equipment of the newer cars. Original Equipment Manufacturer installed LED's ensure that the lamp lights are place well in the parameters of safety and is expected to perform as designed.The 'bulbs' on those newer cars thus equipped with LED cannot be disallowed as it is part of the whole lamp assembly.

3. The LED bulbs fitted to my car are far brighter, and therefore safer because I can see clearer compared to the old Halogen bulb.

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Headlights are not made safer automatically because of being brighter. Halogen lamps have reflective lenses specifically designed for a certain wattage or brightness and focus or "throw."  These reflective lenses are not designed to work with LED bulbs.  Thus, LED bulbs create output patterns that will be inconsistently brighter in some parts are dimmer in others.

The issue with these LED Headlight Bulbs is that it involves light scattering, which will be glaring or dazzling to oncoming motorists. This cannot be confused  withthe one behind the wheel feeling safer because of brighter, superior vision.

4. Is a LED Headlight Bulb Conversion illegal?

Despite being illegal to use LED Headlight Assemblies to substitute for headlights, for the reasons highlighted earlier, you can use LED conversion bulbs in the original headlight lamps, provided that it is not focused onto the oncoming traffic.Two additional LED fog lamps are also allowed as long as it does not contain more than 6 bulbs per fixture. LED bars are illegal.

5. I would like to install LED lighting to my car's exterior. How can I do this legally?

This is a difficult question.  I can only give my few cents to this as the LTO is not quite very clear on what is illegal and what is not.  Again, the issue here is the glare that it creates to opposing traffic. Probably, the only way is to use a complete lamp unit that has been tested and wears the approval of the LTO.

However, there are headlight assemblies that are bolt-on replacements and incorporate LED bulb fixtures. Placing LED lights outside the Headlight assembly such as Fog lights or Flood lights is illegal if the fixtures have more than 6 bulbs. Placing these in areas where you think they will not create glare to oncoming traffic is like going into the grey areas of the law so buy and install with care.

Some LED bars lights installed on 4x4's have covers and are specifically design for Night Off-Roading use. This is highly illegal to use on the streets as the LTO will only allow to extra lighting fixtures, white or "approved yellow," with on a max of six (6) bulbs per fixture.  Clearly LED bars are not allowed. I suggest you place the covers down when driving in the city streets.

6. I drive an oldschool car and the headlights are very dim, compared to modern vehicles. Is there an exception for classic vehicles?

Nope, there is no exception.

Sadly, the only way you can install LED's is in the headlights and we all know "oldschool" headlights lenses are not as good in reflecting light unto the road.

There are bolt-on aftermarket headlights that pack LED bulbs inside already.  This fits directly to the headlight spaces of your car and looks "pretty" original.

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