Laser Headlights

It was a 2 lane road with parked car on my side that I could no longer see because of the blaze of light filling the cabin. Think aircraft landing light bright.

1 Like

There are several levels of the silver star bulb, but if you look at the fine print on the back of the package, all but the OEM version say “off road only” or words to that effect.


What non-OEM version Silverstar are you talking about?

The Silverstar, Silverstar Ultra, Silverstar zXe, and even the Gold zXe bulbs are all on-road legal.

And the brighter they are, the shorter the lifetime.

1 Like

It has been awhile but the last time I looked, everyone one of them except the one that is OEM rated, said off road only in very fine print on the back.

According to Sylvania “All of our products meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 108 standards for safe, legal, on-road operation and should not be bothersome to oncoming traffic unless they are improperly installed or incorrectly aimed.”

The article you posted misses a few points. ‘LASER’ and ‘LED’ are not mutually exclusive. A laser is simply a highly focused beam of light at a single wavelength with all the photons in phase. You can make a laser with several different light sources, LEDs among them. I’d be willing to bet that the LASER BMW uses is actually an LED.

Second, most people don’t realize that white LEDs actually use the same technology - the LED actually excites a phosphorus that makes the white light, so essentially ‘laser headlights’ are just a modification or evolution of this tech.

Edit: I read a while ago that BMW was going to start charging a monthly subscription for certain features. Hopefully your headlights don’t go out if you forget to pay your bill!

1 Like

I remember an article in the English magazine Performance Car a decade or so ago. The writer was talking about the new technologies of headlight design and how the light manufacturers are always trying to make lights brighter to satisfy car manufacturer desire to be “better, faster, newer” with each model. He asked the group of lighting design engineers about the European regulations governing brightness & angle limits and they all laughed. Apparently the test regime for new lights involves sensors in a static rig at particular points in the beam spread. They said, of course, they know the test setup so all the lights are designed to cheat around those sensor points and be bright elsewhere. It was seen as a bit of a joke.
It’s much like the standardised fuel economy tests. A vehicle can be optimised to run efficiently for the very specific, standardised and known conditions of a test cycle. Eg over-lean at very specific single points in the rev range.
The headlight story and the fuel economy realities just reinforces that wherever things in vehicles are regulated, loopholes will be found and designed to.
Yes, some peoples’ eyes are less than perfect and are effected more by glare. But that is the normal population curve and regulations throughout society do account for it (eg signs, road markings, light color and intensity, handrails, kerb heights, etc etc).

So yes, those headlights have actually been designed to be too bright.

1 Like

Most of the luxury makes are already doing that. They started by charging for nav map updates on a yearly basis. Now some of them are charging for stuff like “if you want your remote starter to work you have to subscribe.”

I can sort of understand map updates since that requires work on the companies part, but requiring a subscription for things like heated seats and remote start is ludicrous and just plain cheap. BMW already overcharges for options, then the keep on raping it’s customers just to use what’s already there?

1 Like

I have not heard of a monthly fee for heated seats.

For remote start, it is an over-the-air service provided by their network via your smart phone. This is sometimes preferred over the old short range transmitters. Best to see if the vehicle has a choice between the pocket transmitter and smart phone operation before purchase.

Other subscription services are navigation assistance, diagnostic monitoring, 911 assistance, police notified of your location in the event of a crash and more.

We declined onstar, the fob works fine for remote start on the car, don’t need no stinkin smartphone, web access for fridge and washer and dryer. We bought a new washer and dryer maybe 6 months ago as I could no longer get a basin seal for my 33 year old washer. Salesman was well yes it is $200 less, but it won’t connect to wifi and give you access and control. I am like you could charge extra for that, so old I remember when you wanted to change channels you had to walk up to the TV and turn a knob.

1 Like

I would argue your first point:

      1. They work very well

They might work well for the owner of said vehicle, but any oncoming driver may very well be temporarily blinded by these lights. Some of us more than others, but I want EVERY driver on the road with me, in front, behind, and in the oncoming lanes to be able to see as well as possible at night. Simply a safety issue. The real sticker is that it is close to impossible to prove that YOUR headlights blinded me. Law enforcement has ability to determine if brake lights were on at time of a collison, or turn signals, and maybe even if the Hi beams were on.

But the EFFECT of your lights, because of angle, intensity, or color is not among the “data recorded.”

People will have to die, in significant numbers…some Senator’s kid in a fiery crash, hate to say it…for us to see any action. There is NO nationwide standard on things like headlight color and angle.

Manufacturers are in a selling war over who has the “biggest and the brightest” lights, but what works for all road users? This is like tobacco, asbestos or seat belts–everyone knew situation was dangerous, but no one moved…

To mis-quote Uncle Ralph: “Unsafe At Any Level”


Just learned that most everyone age 50 and above have some cataracts. Some of these might never grow to be enough of a problem. Wife had terrible time night driving until her cataract surgery. I am now the night-time passenger, until my time for surgery.

Still, do you want people like me to be essentially blinded while driving? Cars should be made safe for the largest percentage of the whole population. If you are 7 foot tall you might be limited to certain vehicles, to be able safely operate the controls. If you are 2 feet tall you would need hand controls to operate and a seat lift to see safely. But a 6 ft person or a 5 foot person should not have to give up driving because manufacturers are too lazy to design for a wide range of buyers.


Yep, I looked at the Consumer Reports test track in suburban NY and saw that while they have hills and curves, they have only ONE-WAY traffic in those portions. So their tests do not take into accounts effects of headlights on oncoming traffic.

Someone has to take the lead on this issue.

And yes, THIS is just one more important reason for mandatory vehicle inspections, including brakes and steering system. Anything on YOUR vehicle that will affect MY life, should be inspected.

If you do wear your seatbelts or have working airbags, well that is on you. But do stay on the road, be able to stop suddenly and DO NOT BLIND me.

I had my cataracts taken out about 15 years ago. It has made my eyes MORE sensitive to super bright lights because I don’t have cataracts acting as built in sunglasses.

I had a friend who was a pipeline welder for 40 years and he explained to me that brown eyed people, like me, are much more sensitive to welding flash because the darker pigment absorbs more of the light. I wonder if the same thing is true of super bright lights?

I too find these HID lights extremely too bright…and I don’t have Cataracts.

The people who NEED these HID lights to see are the ones with the vision problem. If they actually do NEED them…then they should turn in their drivers license because they’re too blind to drive.

1 Like

Some people are just rude. A summer seasonal had a jacked up truck and would tell about driving up behind people at a stoplight or whatever with his brights on and enjoyed watching them squirm or adjust mirrors to get out of the glare. I just said you’re a dick.

A few years ago I delighted seeing a jerk in such a truck pull that on a plain looking sedan only to discover it was an unmarked state Highway Patrol car. Guess who was quickly having a discussion with the officer.


If the jerk is like the idiots around here to drive jacked-up trucks then he’s about 5’4 and weighs no more then 150lbs soaking wet. They need something to make them feel like a man.