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Xenon Headlights: Shedding Light on the Law

How to Keep Your Car Components Legal in Ottawa

If you’ve been driving at night, you’ve surely been noticing that some cars—especially newer, higher-end models—are using much brighter headlights than they used to. Many of these are High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlights, but some aren’t. And if you happen to be wondering whether these lights are street legal, then that is a very important distinction. Reliable and trustworthy retailers of car components in Ottawa will only carry the legal ones. If you are thinking of installing them in your car, you should know the difference before you proceed.

The Real Deal

Proper HID headlights aren’t actually brighter, though they may appear as such. There are legal standards that limit the brightness of headlights in cars, and all proper lights are manufactured and installed to meet these requirements. What does set xenon headlights apart from their halogen-based forebears, however, is the colour of the light—it has moved away from the yellow end of the light spectrum towards blue. This may appear brighter, but this is balanced out by the design of these car components. Ottawa drivers using the real deal benefit from a headlamp that is built from the ground up to focus its light. This includes an automated self-levelling system to reduce glare, and a proper, professional installation to prevent poorly-aligned lights from blinding other drivers.

So What’s the Problem?

If HID headlights are legal, regulated, and safe for use, then why is there an issue? Well, some consumers looking to save a dollar are attempting to imitate the look of a proper xenon light, without actually buying or installing the proper kit, and are thereby installing illegal lights. This often involves opening up their current headlight—an enclosure which is designed to house a halogen bulb—and replace the bulb within with a brighter, blue-tinted bulb. While it may look similar to the undiscerning eye, these faux-xenon lights are brighter than is considered safe, and lack the engineering to focus and level the lights properly, creating undesirable glare and potentially blinding other drivers.

How to Keep It Legal

Your absolute best bet is to buy a proper xenon headlight kit from a reputable source, and to have it properly installed in your car by a professional. This way you avoid not only an unsafe and illegal knock-off light, but you also mitigate the risk of a botched installation. The result is a safe, legal, and effective new headlight setup for your car. If you want to experience the power and brilliance of HID headlights for yourself, trust a certified retailer and installer of quality car components in Ottawa.

About AudioMotive

For over 10 years, AudioMotive has and continues to be, Ottawa’s premier vehicle upgrade experts. With more than 25 years of combined industry experience, we proudly specialize in all things related to HID lighting and mobile electronics sales and installation.