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Discussion Starter #1
I have never been in a car forum before researching the purchase of a CR-V, so this may be something that's obvious and ignored by many, but this forum got me interested in upgrading our EX-L headlights to LED... until I did a little research. It immediately should be obvious when you see reputable manufacturers list their LED bulbs for "fog light use only", while the many generic LED and HID sellers either say "off road use only" or say nothing. A quick web search will tell you that non-halogen bulbs in a halogen headlight fixture are illegal.

This explains a lot of what I'm seeing on the road - excessive glare from obviously upgraded headlights. Not worth flashing my lights at them, because it's not the beams that are misaligned, it's the stray misdirected light causing the glare. There is a good explanation at the candlepower forums - basically the reflectors/projectors are designed for light emitted from the filament of a halogen bulb, and neither LEDs nor HIDs emit light in the same way. Thus, there are stray reflections within the fixture that cause glare.

Their articles point out several common claims that falsely justify the usage, including the old "nobody has flashed their lights at me", "I haven't been pulled over yet", "the light pattern looks fine on my garage door".

Other interesting points I have run across:
  • You can be found liable for causing an accident due to your modified headlights - and your insurance company may not even back you since you modified the car illegally
  • Increasing near-field illumination actually is worse for driving visibility, because it makes it more difficult for your eyes to see in the distances where you actually have time to react
  • You can be ticketed and your vehicle towed and impounded if caught driving at night
Anyway, I posted this for people like me who were unaware of the illegality of something commonly discussed here. Personally I have made the choice to stay legal and not blind other drivers, so I'm going with one of the upgraded halogen bulbs from the Philips Visionplus series, knowing full well I'll have to spend $25 or so each year to replace burned-out bulbs.
 

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If you take a minute and look at any headlight or tail light lens on any car made it has a DOT number on it. All lights have to be approved by the DOT. There are many laws that affect how an automobile is made as it has DOT, FMVSS and other standards that have to be met. The amount of paperwork that a company has to go through is unbelievable to the average person. I know when I was at General Motors I heard the statement that it cost GM more money to deal with the Federal agencies over rules and such than it cost to run Chevrolet motor division. There are a LOT of rules. No one will likely pull you over and give you a ticket just for driving your car but as pointed out, should there ever be a problem, like a crash, and they find out you changed the vehicles approved configuration, then you @ss is grass and their lawyers are going to be the lawnmower. I sat through a great seminar on this very subject with the head GM lawyers once. They made it clear to us that we NEVER approve or recommend any change, no matter how small, from the company design or approved procedures. Doing so placed us at great liability exposure.

For fun look here and look at Standard number 108 that covers lights on vehicles.

https://icsw.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/FMVSS/#SN108
 

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Yet I see many, many cars in my area with aftermarket head & tail lamps. Just because something is technically illegal, it doesn't mean that people won't do it or will be penalized for the modifications. I personally have not seen or heard of a case where someone was ticketed in my area. Besides, the modifications that people are doing to the CR-V, IMO, have a minimal impact on the overall vehicle lighting. People here seem to care about making sure they use a bulb that produces a similar light pattern to the stock headlamps or fog lights. I'm not a guy who chooses to throw money away replacing something that's not broken, but I don't see any problems with those who want to make improvements.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I personally have not seen or heard of a case where someone was ticketed in my area. People here seem to care about making sure they use a bulb that produces a similar light pattern to the stock headlamps or fog lights.
Those are some of the issues that are discussed on the candlepower forums. There is at least one officer on the forum that talks about the tickets and impoundments that he has personally supervised. I'm sure enforcement varies from state to state.

More importantly, though, it's clear that the average car enthusiast does not have the equipment, training or knowledge to evaluate the light emissions from their headlights. Garage door patterns or drivers-view pictures don't give you a true evaluation of the glare seen by people outside the vehicle.
 

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Now if we could get the police to write tickets. I have always thought these lights should be outlawed. People don't stop to think how they affect oncoming traffic.

I told one guy that had them in both his fog lights and headlamps that his lights were extremely bright and blinding to oncoming drivers. His response " I wondered why everybody was flashing me". Another thing I don't get is why people find it necessary to drive around with their fog lamps on all the time. I have them in all three of my vehicles and only use them when it has rained and it is difficult to see the markings in the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I told one guy that had them in both his fog lights and headlamps that his lights were extremely bright and blinding to oncoming drivers. His response " I wondered why everybody was flashing me". Another thing I don't get is why people find it necessary to drive around with their fog lamps on all the time. I have them in all three of my vehicles and only use them when it has rained and it is difficult to see the markings in the road.
Another good point - and a corresponding article I read pointing out that fog lights are really only useful for speeds under 25mph in wet, foggy or snowy conditions where you can't see the road nearby. Above that speed, they are providing too much "near" lighting, which makes it harder for your eyes to see "distance" objects that you have time to respond to; the "near" stuff is too close for you to react to at higher speeds.
 

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This law is there but it is mainly for people with HID/LED in their reflector housing headlight they were found on last gen crvs on all trims beside touring. On 2017 they are projector headlights they wont blind the oncoming drivers if aimed to oem specs.

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Discussion Starter #9
This law is there but it is mainly for people with HID/LED in their reflector housing headlight they were found on last gen crvs on all trims beside touring. On 2017 they are projector headlights they wont blind the oncoming drivers if aimed to oem specs.
Not quite true. The direct light from the bulb won't blind oncoming drivers, because there is a cutoff bar that prevents that. It's the reflected light from other parts of the housing that creates the glare that can be just as blinding as the direct beam.
 

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for what it's worth I have hid headlights on all my vehicles .comparing them to the factory hids on my 2013 corvette with projection lenses I see no difference with light output with 35w bulbs the aftermarket bulbs just need to be re aimed IMHO
 

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The possibility of loosing a legal battle simply because you have some aftermarket headlights is serious stuff. Not trying to be morbid, but I can think of some scenarios that would be very tragic and end up in you (the vehicle owners) lap if found guilty.

Lesson being, if you like LED headlights in the CRV, buy a Touring.


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From nyc never in the history of my driving have i gotten pulled over for my hid or led lights or even heard anyone that has. I will put this with that law that says you cant have license plate frames sure its illegal but the law is not even paying attention and they are everywhere. Lots of law are placed and everyone are breaking them each day with things on their car. Be smart if you have a rack of flood lights and you are driving through a populated city of course you will get pulled over. Be smart. As for me i will run my led and led fogs. I angle them and they dont blind anyone.
 

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Another thing I don't get is why people find it necessary to drive around with their fog lamps on all the time. I have them in all three of my vehicles and only use them when it has rained and it is difficult to see the markings in the road.
In some cases, they may not have a choice.

On the higher trim levels of the 5th generation Camaro (sold from MY 2010-15), the lights that are located at the fog light position are actually the daytime running lights (DRLs), and they don't even have a "fog light" switch.

I'm guessing there are numerous other vehicles out there with similar designs.
 

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From nyc never in the history of my driving have i gotten pulled over for my hid or led lights or even heard anyone that has. I will put this with that law that says you cant have license plate frames sure its illegal but the law is not even paying attention and they are everywhere. Lots of law are placed and everyone are breaking them each day with things on their car. Be smart if you have a rack of flood lights and you are driving through a populated city of course you will get pulled over. Be smart. As for me i will run my led and led fogs. I angle them and they dont blind anyone.
As I pointed out, it is highly unlikely that anyone would ever pull you over and site you for "illegal headlights". No, that doesn't happen too often. What can, and does, happen is that if you should ever be involved in an accident and the other side comes after you and they find out you had non-original equipment on your car.....its PAY DAY! for the other side. I sat through a great presentation on this very subject with the GM corporate lawyers who laid out case histories of such things. Its real and while unlikely it can and has happen and when it does your @ss is grass. Having spent my life in the auto industry I have seen and heard of the cases. Again, very unlikely you would ever have an issue but if you do be prepared to give up your home, your life savings, maybe your retirement. It has happened. But again, can and will are two different things. As Dirty Harry would say, "you feeling lucky?" Having been a professional in the field I learned to be cautious of what I advised people to do as I would be exposed to liability should my advice cause a problem. Even a causal comment can cause problems. I have more than one story of where some dealer mechanic ended up in court from some casual comment landed them in the hot seat. Oh those smart lawyers made quick work out of these self proclaimed "experts" that worked on cars.
 

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Here is a question out of curiosity. If i had the stock led lights and i decided for no apparent reason to adjust them to point towards the left and upper part. Into people eyes will i still be liable for the accident?
 

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Did you know HID and LED headlight "upgrades" were illegal?

Here is a question out of curiosity. If i had the stock led lights and i decided for no apparent reason to adjust them to point towards the left and upper part. Into people eyes will i still be liable for the accident?
If they can somehow prove that you "adjusted" them, sure. Most likely though since it would be hard to do that and you have OEM equipment, no.


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Discussion Starter #18
There are two categories of unwanted light for oncoming drivers - the direct beam, and glare. The example above is not much different than asking "what if I drive everywhere with my high beams on?". It's negligent behavior, no different than misadjusting stock lights or illegal retrofit bulbs. That's not really the issue here, which is glare. It's not the direct beam that causes glare, it's the indirect, unwanted reflections that cause glare. Even if you aimed your headlights 6 feet in front of your car, there is still glare. Since a halogen housing, projector or reflector, is engineered specifically to direct the light emitted from that tiny spiral coil of wire, when you use an LED or HID bulb that doesn't emit its light like a tiny spiral coil of wire, there are more stray reflections or projections - thus more glare.
 

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This happened to a co-worker of mine- he was making a left turn on a green and collided with Car going straight in opposite direction. He Mentioned to the cop that the other car had bright lights that blinded him so could not make out the light. Cop did not charge my co-worker and his insurance also marked it down as other person's fault.
 

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This happened to a co-worker of mine- he was making a left turn on a green and collided with Car going straight in opposite direction. He Mentioned to the cop that the other car had bright lights that blinded him so could not make out the light. Cop did not charge my co-worker and his insurance also marked it down as other person's fault.
Yes, but did the other driver receive a citation for his "blinding" headlights? Which, BTW, could be blinding and not be aftermarket, only out of proper adjustment.
 
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