Many consumers are concerned with whether or not the headlights they are interested in will pass an inspection or be considered “DOT Approved”. It’s a safe bet that if your headlights are rated as “DOT approved” then yes they are legal to use. Many headlight products seem like they are just as good as others because of a certain Lumen rating or quality control, but a true head light should have two main characteristics:
- Have a separate low beam and high beam (or only one beam)
Have some kind of focus of the beam pattern so it doesn’t blind other drivers
If the LED headlights you are looking at do not advertise that they are certified or approved by the DOT then chances are they are not truly legal to use on the road. Another good indicator on whether or not the headlights you’re looking to buy are good quality is if they say “SAE Certified”:
SAE is an international professional organization of engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries dedicated to continuing education and standards development. It exists to advance the interests of the mobility and related industries through development of performance standards and administration of quality assurance, accreditation, and certification programs as well as related activities for the benefit of industry, government, and the general public.
If a product is listed as “SAE Certified” it means that it was sent to the SAE for testing and certification and the stamp basically means “This is a really high quality product!”. If a product is listed as “DOT Approved” or “DOT Certified” it just means that the manufacturers built it to spec and regulation to meet certain standards. Nothing needs to be submitted to the DOT to achieve this certification, it’s actually up to the manufacturer to determine whether or not their product meets the requirements.
Right now there are only a handful of companies that are producing LED headlights, such as JW Speaker, Truck-Lite, Pilot Automotive, GTR Lighting, United Pacific, Oracle and maybe a couple others. That’s just what I can think of off the top of my head. So, do your own research and look at what the manufacturer’s say about their own products. If they say it’s SAE Approved and DOT Certified, then take their word for it!