Are HID Headlights Legal in PA?

HID headlights are easily better than halogen because of their brightness, efficiency, longevity, and color choices. But in terms of legality, HID headlights often cause problems for buyers. For example, whether you live in PA or any other state, you cannot legally replace your stock halogen with any HID on the same housing.

But that is not all. When looking into the vehicle lighting laws in PA, you may get confused by some of them. So, I shall explain these regulations in good detail to determine whether you can use HID headlights in PA.

Are HID Headlights Legal in PA

What Do PA Vehicle Lighting Laws Say About HID Headlights?

Like literally in any other state, the laws in PA say nothing about the usage of HID headlights. Any headlight types will be allowed if they meet the state and federal laws. Now, the question is, what are these laws? You don’t need to go through all of them to find the legality of HID. Just look at the following ones-

  • The low beams of the headlights must not be less than 7,500 candlepower.
  • The high beams of the headlights must not be less than 10,000 candlepower.

Theoretically, one candlepower equals 12.57 lumens. But if we do the math with 7,500 or 10,000 candlepower, that will give a huge number. But the truth is that a candlepower is slightly a different unit than a lumen.

Candlepower only indicates the brightest part of beams from a lamp, while lumen indicates the overall light output from the lamp. For example, a torchlight’s beam can illuminate a corner of a room.

But the candlepower will only apply to the middle of the beam, where the brightness is the highest. Meanwhile, a lumen is the culmination of the light emitting from the torch. There is another term named Lux, which is different than these both.

So, in that sense, 7,500 is actually not that bright when you look at it in real life. But, if you are still confused, know that a 60w household bulb usually emits 75 candlepower. So, all your headlights together on the low beam must be at least a hundred times higher than that. And if you are using HID bulbs for high beams, they must together make at least 10,000 candlepower. And HID bulbs can easily do that.

  • When you have dual-beam headlights in PA, you must be able to switch between them and have a beam indicator on your vehicle.
  • Another rule you should know is that the total candlepower of all the headlights and auxiliary lights must not exceed 150,000 candlepower. But that is a pretty huge amount, and you probably won’t even reach that brightness even with the brightest LED headlights.

Now, let’s check out the federal rules also.

Are HID Headlights Allowed in Federal Laws?

All factory headlights you find on your vehicles are allowed, regardless of their types, by Federal laws. FMVSS demands the headlights to be DOT-approved. It also prohibits headlight modifications.

So, if you find a DOT-approved HID headlight, you may install it on your housing. But the housing must be designed for HID headlights as well. The only housings that work well with HID kit are the special projector ones. Reflector housing and usual projector housings do not suit HID lights, and it is illegal to install HID on them.

Moreover, the bulb has to be the right-sized for your vehicle. If your car needs 9007 headlight bulbs for the low beams, you must get exactly that size, no other.

Will HID Headlights Pass State Inspection?

If you are using a legal HID headlight, it will definitely pass the state inspection. So you don’t need to worry about factory HID headlights. But the factory ones won’t last forever, and you may have replaced them with OEM or aftermarket HID kit. They will also pass the MOT inspection if they are DOT-approved and you haven’t made any modifications to your headlight system.

Final Note

Aside from stock ones, only the DOT-approved HID and LED headlights are legal in PA when they follow some rules. Having a higher intensity than 7,500 cd on low beams and 10,000 cd on high beams is not an issue for HID lights. But make sure to keep your headlights aimed down.

A lot of pulling over happens because of dangerous glaring and using an illegal color. Avoid blue HID lights at all costs and stick to white and yellow. Finally, ensure that the housing on your headlight system is designed for HID lights and no other.

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