Are HID Headlights Legal in Michigan?

Usually, when you go to an online shopping platform to buy HID headlights, you will find a swarm of aftermarket products everywhere. Of course, there will be OEM HID bulbs too. However, if the headlights are not legal in your state, then all the big promises by the seller have no value.

Michigan’s state law about vehicle lighting is pretty straightforward, yet it touches upon the important details regarding the usage of headlights. For example, they have limited the number of lamps on the car’s front to four for certain cases. Let’s show you when the usage of HID headlights is legal and when not in Michigan.

Are HID Headlights Legal in Michigan

What Does Michigan’s Law Say About HID Headlights?

As the land of the first automated car wash, Michigan doesn’t leave any spot when it comes to vehicle lighting laws. But we only need to focus on certain ones to find the legality of HID in this state. And they are not even that complex. You only need to remember them when shopping for HID lights-

  • You can only use lamps with an intensity of 300 candelas or below if you have four auxiliary lamps. It equals 3770 lumens. So, if you have over four auxiliary lights, ensure that the headlight brightness remains below 3770 lumens each.
  • The headlights must be white or yellow. That means it must stick within 3,000K to 6,500K color temperature. I should say that the safe limit is 4,000K-6,000K. If you live somewhere with constant rain or fog, go for a low color temperature within this limit. And if you constantly drive on dark roads in Michigan, go for a whiter color. 6,000K is the pure white color. It goes amber to redder as it goes lower. Meanwhile, it becomes bluish to purple as it goes higher.
  • Aside from that, your headlight must be approved by the Department of Transportation. You can confirm it with the DOT stamp on the bulb or housing itself.

Federal Laws About HID Lights

A particular rule in the FMVSS regulates how you can use any aftermarket or OEM headlight, DOT-approved or not. And that is as follows-

You must not modify the headlight or any part of it.

Now the question is, what is a headlight modification? No, replacing the bulb after the old one burns out isn’t a modification. But replacing the stock one with a different type of bulb is. For example, let’s say your vehicle came equipped with a reflector housing and halogen bulbs in them.

Now, you can’t install an HID bulb to replace those halogen ones because a reflector housing is unsuitable for HID. Instead, you need a projector housing designed especially for HID to install them.

Aside from them, removing any part and installing a wrong-sized bulb also count as modifications. Meanwhile, sanding the headlights, applying headlight protective covers, or adjusting the headlights aren’t modifications.

Conditions When HID Headlights Are Legal in Michigan

All stock HID headlights are legal since they meet every rule by the Michigan department of transportation and Federal agencies. But regarding OEM and aftermarket HID headlights, they are permitted if they meet these conditions-

  • The headlight must be DOT-approved.
  • The HID bulb must be installed on a projector housing made for HID.
  • The bulb must have 3770 lumens or below if you have over four auxiliary lamps.
  • It must emit white or yellow lights.

One Important Thing to Remember When Buying HID Lights

If you are planning to replace your stock HID headlights with new ones, you must remember one important factor. It is aside from all the legality factors, of course. We are talking about the harmony between the bulb and the ballast. If you are just replacing the bulb, it must match your existing ballast and vice versa. There are several reasons here.

Firstly, the wattage of the HID bulb and the ballast must match. If the bulb has higher wattage than the ballast, the former won’t get enough power to light up to its full potential. Meanwhile, if the ballast has a higher wattage, it may regulate more voltage into the bulb than it can load. Hence, the bulb may overload and burn out.

Secondly, each ballast is made to work with only certain types of HID bulbs. And there are many types of HID lamps. The ones you will find as automotive headlights are-

  • Mercury Vapor lights.
  • Metal Halide lights.
  • Xenon Short-Arc lights.

You must ensure that the ballast is made for your particular bulb in the system. I advise buying an HID kit that includes both the bulb and its compliant ballast.

Final Note

HID lights are an excellent upgrade from halogen stock lights. But you may not legally be allowed to do that in Michigan. Before considering HID replacements, you need to replace the stock reflector housing with a DOT-approved projector housing fit for your vehicle. Moreover, you must consider the other regulations and restrictions in Michigan laws mentioned in this article.

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