xenon bulb legality? - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
Grand Am Series
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Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 373
xenon bulb legality?

I'm looking at xenon HID kits for my headlights and I see 35W (OEM equivalent) and 55W bulbs. I would like to use 35W for my low beams and 55W for high beams, but are 55W street legal for the US (Idaho)?

If I were to put a 35W kit in both high beam and low beam spots, would they have the same brightness just one would be non projector? I assume they would be both the same brightness as they produce the same power.

Also, is there any kind of limit on fog lights? I'd like to use 35W HIDs on those as well and I figure that won't be an issue.

[size=6pt]Mods: 17x7.5 rims w/ Conti DWS tires | 4 75W kicker speakers | Memphis 300W amp | full size spare | BC Condenser kit w/ extra grounds | CS SRI w/ box | timing advance | upgraded horn | CS LED kit | Axela badge | alu pedals | Momo shift knob | Alu fuel door | footwell LEDs | VTCS delete | TB coolant bypass | L fog light vent | bi-xenon HB/LB | HID fogs | SB LED turn sigs | LED DRLs | LED reverse lights | painted foglight trim | LED tail lights | LED reflectors[/size]
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 07:48 PM
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Re: xenon bulb legality?

Technically no aftermarket HID kit is legal when installed in lights designed or halogen bulbs. In real life I see people driving with deep blue and even green HIDs in Civics and pickup trucks, blinding the fuck out of everyone even in daylight and they never get pulled over, not even here in Ontario where green forward facing lights are reserved for volunteer fire fighters. If the Police let Civic drivers get away with blinding everyone while impersonating a firefighter I doubt they are going give a flaming walrus wang about a set of OEM looking HIDs in projectors.

I've got 55 watt HIDs in lows, highs and fogs. The low beams are 4500K, normal factory OEM type colour so they look like factory equipment. There is no great amount of glare as far as I can tell; I get flashed occasionally but no more often than I got flashed for running halogen lights for 26 years.

The highs and fog lights are 3000K because I find the freaky electric greenish yellow colour enhances visibility. Plus it just looks so cool.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-13-2012, 06:31 PM
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Location: New Orleans, LA
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Re: xenon bulb legality?

You might have different driving conditions in ID, but if you don't plan on using your high beams for longer than it takes the ballasts to fire up and warm up to full brightness, I would advise against putting HIDS in your high beam slots.

Driving highways in the middle of the night in TX, I never get to use my highs for more than a minute before I see someone else on the road most of the times, it's less than 30 seconds.

And if you use "flash to pass" or your high beams to "talk" to other drivers on the road, that's going to fall under the same issue.

If you're worried about legality, stick with a stock set up: 35W 4100-4500K lows, and halogen highs and fogs. It's still illegal, but your chances are much much lower than someone drawing attention to themselves by using other colors or HIDs in locations not available as OEM.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-13-2012, 09:55 PM
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Re: xenon bulb legality?

First of all, it should be clarified that "Xenon bulbs" and "H.I.D. bulbs" are not always the same thing. You can buy a pair of xenon bulbs at auto zone for cheap, and all they are are halogen bulbs filled with xenon gas (and sometime tinted blue). They offer less light output than stock halogens and look really stupid (IMO).

HID's are the high intensity discharge bulbs, the ones that require the ballasts. Now, as others have said, they are illegal in every state, in every aftermarket situation. With that being said, I would bet money on the fact that not a single Mazda3 owner has ever gotten a ticket for having aftermarket HIDs in his/her headlights. This is because the Mazda3 comes with projector housings, so when you put HIDs in them, you still achieve the cut off that is needed to stop them from blinding oncoming drivers. The reason states make them illegal is because if you put them in reflector housings (what most other vehicles have) they will indeed be blinding because they offer no cutoff.

Many people on here use DDM brand HIDs. They're incredibly inexpensive and come with a lifetime warranty, so it's a good option if you are okay with the chance of maybe having to send in your bulbs/ballasts periodically to get replaced (I don't know if this is commonplace for I personally have Phillips HIDs, but that's the word I've heard on the street from actual DDM users).

As for wattage, generally it's advised that you stick with 35w for your low beams unless you live somewhere where there's not too heavy of traffic. 55w low beams do tend to exhibit a bit of a blinding effect to oncoming drivers, but not as bad as stock halogen high beams. I would imagine Idaho isn't too crowded, so I think you'd be fine with 55w low beams.

Getting HID high beams only makes sense if you drive a lot with your high beams on. HIDs are not designed to be turned on & off over and over again, on account of they take about 30 seconds to reach full brightness when you turn them on. So if you drive for prolonged periods of time with your high beams on, then go with 55w HID high beams. If you turn them on & off a lot, stick with stock halogen high beams. 35w high beam HIDs don't make sense.

And finally, stick with either 4500K or 6000K color temp. 4500K is pure white, 6000K has a slight blue hue. Above 6000K you severely decrease your light output, and they look stupid (imo). Some companies offer 5000K too.

So TL:;DR, go with 55w high beams & 55w low beams if you do a lot of extended country driving. If you do a lot of city driving, stick with only 35w lows and stock halogen highs. 4500K - 6000K color temp only.
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