MOT fail for LED & HID headlights? | NEWS
**UPDATE 22nd March 2021**
The information in this article has been superseded by the info in this one from march 22nd. Scooters/motorcycles are now allowed to pass an MOT with HID/LED headlights fitted as long as they meet the requirements of the test.
One upgrade many of us have done to our scooters is to change the standard candle-power headlight bulbs for something that can actually be seen by other road users and of course help us to see in the dark. That upgrade may be an HID conversion, or more likely these days, a modern LED.
A change to the MOT rules from January 2021 means your scooter may no longer pass if you have either of those options fitted. Section 4.1.4 of the MOT inspection manual now states the following:
Existing halogen headlamp units should not be converted to be used with high intensity discharge (HID) or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. If such a conversion has been done, you must fail the headlamp.”
What that means in essence is that none of our classic scooters are allowed to legally run a modified headlight (other than a halogen bulb) and it may well fail the MOT. Obviously, historic vehicles don’t need to take an MOT by law but many owners still opt to take their older scooters for a check over just to be on the safe side. The ruling has been changed because many LED and HID lights cause glare to other road users, and the beam pattern is often less asymmetrical than the standard bulb it replaces. In effect, if you have a decent LED and the MOT tester can see it works as it should then it may well pass the test but it’ll be at the discretion of the individual tester. It is another excuse for you to be stopped by the police though if you’re running an obviously illegal headlight, or another excuse for the insurer not to pay out after an accident.
In theory, a complete replacement headlight that carries an E marking for road use (like the MotoNostra unit fitted to my Eibar should be allowed because it hasn’t actually been “converted” but the interpretation of the ruling is down to your friendly MOT man rather than us.
What about other lights?
Although not currently an MOT failure, LED bulbs aren’t permitted to be fitted elsewhere on the vehicle either. unless they meet ECE standards 128 and 148 (click the links if you want to be baffled by EU science) so be careful when you’re adding extra lights or replacing existing bulbs or light fittings. Some of the LEDs I’ve used in the past have been very bright but worse than a standard headlight at night on a dark country road.
In reality, it’s very unlikely an MOT tester will be removing lenses to check which type of stop/tail or indicator bulb is fitted but bear these numbers in mind when you’re buying replacements.
The numbers to look out for
The (E) or [e] numbers relate to what and where the approval was granted. An uppercase (E) in a circle denotes that it was type-approved to an ECE regulation, whilst a lowercase [e] in a box means it was type-approved to an ECE directive. The number after the ‘e’ denotes the country it was approved in, E9 for instance means it was approved in SPAIN to an ECE Regulation.
The list of country codes are listed below, in theory the testing should be the same everywhere but in reality some countries are known to have more stringent testing than others, an E code obtained in one place may not be quite as thoroughly tested as in another but will still be legal for use.