Jul 14, 2021

Shedding light on aftermarket LED

Category: Automotive
The importance of seeing and being seen when it comes to road safety makes a car’s lighting as critical as its brakes, which explains the need for minimum performance standards.

The importance of seeing and being seen when it comes to road safety makes a car’s lighting as critical as its brakes, which explains the need for minimum performance standards.

Judging by the speed and extent of their rise, retrofit LED bulbs seem to be taking the automotive aftermarket by storm. Bulbs of all shapes and sizes are appearing online and in auto accessory stores around the world. Given the benefits LEDs can offer compared to halogen in terms of brightness and efficiency, this should be good news for drivers. But, it’s actually illegal to use some LED retrofits on public roads in almost every country. For example, in the United States, retrofit LED headlight bulbs are not lawful on public roadways.

The importance of seeing and being seen when it comes to road safety makes a car’s lighting as critical as its brakes, which explains the need for minimum performance standards. Many countries’ vehicle lighting regulations are based on the work of standardization committees at the United Nations. To date, only a small number of retrofit LED bulbs intended to replace halogen or incandescent lamps have been approved by the UN standardization committees.

In 2020 there were several national initiatives to benchmark the quality and safety of aftermarket LED retrofit bulbs. Lumileds was the first manufacturer to secure road-legal approval for retrofit LED lamps, with Philips H7 and Ultinon Essential gen2 HB3 solutions achieving certification in Korea. Germany came next. The Philips H7 LED Ultinon Pro6000 headlamp bulb obtained the official thumbs-up from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority in spring 2021. In June 2021, Philips Ultinon Pro9000 H7 LED headlight bulb was also certified road-legal by the Korea Apparel Testing & Research Institute. Drivers in both countries now have a way to distinguish between fully tested, high-quality retrofit LED bulbs that won’t dazzle other road-users and the many unregulated lamps on the market whose safety has still to be proved.

Another milestone was reached in April 2021 when the UN’s standardization committees agreed to establish clear regulations for LED replacement bulbs. Technical experts are now working toward common standards for automotive retrofit LED lamps. As one of automotive lighting’s pioneers and a leading LED innovator, Lumileds welcomes and supports the move to establish an international regulatory framework for retrofit LED solutions and believes this will be a major contribution to the safety of all that use our roads.

 

It is your own responsibility to ensure that the use of the LED retrofit lights complies with applicable local legal requirements.