Are LED headlights ethical?

I have horrible eyes, thick glasses and the worst night vision I can’t even describe. I rode in my son’s car with his cheap ebay LED headlights and I could see EVERYTHING.

I want to equip my van with LED headlights but I am afraid I may blind oncoming traffic. I HATE people with super bright headlights because it magnifies my bad night vision so much.

I read a stock basic halogen bulb averages 700 lumens. I’m looking at LED headlights that produce 20,000 lumens. Am I nuts? Is it fair to have such bright headlights?

No comment on “fair” but bulbs that powerful are illegal.

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I did do a search for headlight laws and all I could find was the height of the light versus distance down the road. My real question is yes, what amount of lumens is legal?

Avg. led is 1600. What brand is this 20k?

Are they DOT approved? Also just adding LED bulbs to a headlight assembly that was designed for halogen bulbs seems like a bad idea.


Not sure how often it happens but this site has had posters who had problems after adding after market LED headlights to vehicles that did not come with them.


I sometimes share your frustrations. There are times when I want to flood the road with light, but I also realize that if I blind a car coming at me, it can be just as dangerous as not seeing well. There are alternative helps. A spotlessly clean windshield is a must and the next time you get lenses for your glasses tell them you have problems with glare. They can put an anti-glare coating on the lenses.

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I have a hard time with this. These extremely bright lights on oncoming vehicles makes it very difficult to see sometimes. One vehicle looked like the sun was coming up. I could barely see the hood of my truck.

If you NEED lights that bright at night, then you shouldn’t be driving and a danger to everyone else when you do.


This is the product in question. Also the lowest amount of lumens that I have been able to find is 8000.

Did you not read the negative reviews ?

Plus no matter how bright your lights are that will not solve your vision problem with bright lights coming at you.


I note that they admit there will probably be CANBUS problems with what they claim is 2% of vehicles, but then they proceed to list Ford, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Volvo, Lexus, Chrysler, Mini, BMW, Mercedes-Benz (which they misspell as “bens”) and then conclude the list with “and etc.” which really means “and lots, lots more!”

That 98% compatibility could be counting every car ever built, and, well, yeah you won’t have any CANBUS issues on a '65 Chevy, that’s sure true. :wink:

They also say 60w in one place, and 120w in another which might involve voltage stepping, but they don’t say it does.

Their beam pattern pictures appear to be lies, because the Fahren LED picture on low beam appears to be emitted by a housing that has the e-code cutoff on the driver’s side, while the halogen one does not. That means they did not use the same car for their comparison pictures. For all you know that low beam picture is from some 1980 heap with dirt over the lights.

In short, I wouldn’t run these lights in my car for a myriad of reasons.


I think it is “OK-ish” to use retrofit LEDs in “projector” type of halogen-designed headlights, since these make a sharp cut-off, and when properly adjusted, they do not blind other drivers.

Using retrofits in regular reflector type headlights is completely selfish as the glare spills all around.

AFAIK the “lumens” part of headlights was not regulated well, at least before, it was only the wattage of 55W for halogen and 35W for HIDs, so using LEDs may be not exactly illegal if they do not exceed on the wattage. It’s not a legal advice although…

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Read this…


In regards to the canbus compatibility, I tested one to see how bright it looked. During the day it only changed the color of the reflection from yellow to white. The canvas drivers are great…

Edit: not the one in the link. I tested a cheap one my son had.

There are no DOT approved LED retrofits.
NHTSA has started to demand LED kit recalls, for instance:

The sellers of LED headlights generally exaggerate the lumens spec.
Here’s another website with some info and reviews:
That said, I’m using a set of Katana bulbs.


Has single led element. No way that’s 20k lumens.

Each bulb is 10k… and the elements are on both sides too.

Also, spoke to an officer and there are no brightness laws.

Best would be to trade cars to insure the lights meet standards. But it’s a situation ethics like most things in life. Is it more ethical to have bright lights that blind other drivers so you can see where you are going, or is it more ethical to be able to see where you are going and avoid hitting a pedestrian or other objects because you can’t see?

Great summary on many sets!
I’m getting my comment about reflector assemblies reconsidered, moreover, it looks like my 15-years old Pathfinder might get an upgrade.
That beast barely projects any light down the road with regular halogens… even with assemblies recently replaced to new TYCs.
Per tests, it looks like “good” kits can control the glare quite nicely.

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Be wary of those news articles, they are covered in clickbait for selling their own light bulbs.