Are LED Headlights Illegal in Colorado?

Every state has its rules about vehicle lighting systems that the citizens must follow. Colorado is no exception. Its laws clearly tell which lamps are legal, where, and how many to use them.

Since LED headlights are getting popular day by day, many are thinking of changing to them. But that is where the catch comes. Changing from halogen to LEDs on the same housing is not legal in any state. But as you can guess, the factory LED lights on vehicles are legal in Colorado.

If you want to know thoroughly about the legality of LED headlights in Colorado, read along. I have added the relevant laws to help you understand them better.

What Does Federal Laws Say About Vehicle Lighting

The Federal Motor Vehicle Service Standards (FMVSS) has many rules about vehicle lighting, including minimum candela and height limits. But you must focus on some of them before going for LED replacements.

It is not allowed to modify any part of the vehicle headlight system. According to FMVSS, you cannot replace a bulb with one meant for a different type of housing. So, stock halogen to LED is a no-go. Meanwhile, you also cannot get any non-DOT-approved parts. Hence, even any LED light you buy online must meet DOT and SAE standards. Also, it is not legal to buy a different bulb size. Even if they match almost totally, there will still be slight differences, making it a modification.

Other than that rule, a headlight must cast a beam 50-100 meters ahead of the vehicle. If this area is not visible, that headlight is not legal.

So, to go for a LED headlight, you must have a reflector housing for it. And the LED headlight must be OEM and DOT-approved. But now, we should also concentrate on the laws set by Colorado law agencies.

Colorado Vehicle Lighting Legislations

Here, you can find some relevant vehicle lighting laws in Colorado. I haven’t touched upon every detail, and the laws can change occasionally. So, don’t take this as a definitive credible source. Anyway, without further ado, let’s get to them-

When Should the Headlights be Illuminated-

  • The headlights must be on from sunset to sunrise.
  • The headlights must be on if there is low visibility or weathering conditions, making people or vehicles hard to make out within 1,000 feet ahead of the car.

Light Intensity Law-

  • No lamps to the front of the vehicle can have an intensity higher than 300 candlepower. That equals 3770 lumens. If we combine both headlights, the total legal intensity for two headlights is 7540 lumens.

Equipment Rules and Restrictions-

  • A vehicle must have at least two headlights with at least one on each side to the front.
  • A motorcycle must have at least one and at most two headlights.
  • The high beams of the headlights must clearly reveal any person or vehicle at least 350 feet ahead of the vehicle.
  • On a dual beam headlight, the driver must be able to switch between high and low beams.
  • Spotlights, fog lights, auxiliary passing, and auxiliary driving lights are optional, and you can have two of them at most on your vehicle. They must also be within the legal height.
  • It is illegal to illuminate four front lamps simultaneously of different types.

Color Restrictions-

  • White or yellow is allowed for headlights.
  • Any shade of green light is prohibited.
  • Warning lights on authorized service vehicles must be yellow.
  • Any rear spotlight must be red or amber or any shade between them. These lights must be visible from 100 feet to the rear under clear sunlight. They must also illuminate when you push the foot brakes.

Now, when we assess all these laws, it is clear that Colorado doesn’t specially prohibit LED headlights. Yes, you must not use ones with light intensity higher than 3770 lumens for each bulb. But that is still more intensity than needed.

So, if we conclude it all, you can use LED headlights legally in Colorado when they are OEM or factory products, DOT-approved, proper fit for the vehicle, and have 3770 lumens or below each.

About Off-Roading

Note that you may still use the LED headlights when off-roading as the laws usually doesn’t apply there. You also have no road, person, or vehicle to worry about. So, any aftermarket LED headlight will be okay. People even use long and bright LED bars on such voyages as it gives them spot beams, making off-roading safer. Get some interior lights, too, while you are at it.

Final Note

I hope that answers your queries. Now that you know when to get an LED headlight in Colorado, follow these rules. Not only do you have to focus on the state laws but the federal laws also.

Do not bring a LED headlight for a housing made for halogen or HID. An HID system uses ballasts and is totally different from an LED system. So, don’t interchange them within the same housing.

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