Your Questions Answered

The questions and answers in this section of relate to previous versions of the MOT manual and should not be relied on, as the law may have changed. Please ensure you check the relevant section of the current MOT manual, which can be found on this site.

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Daytime Running Lights

Q I am installing daytime runners on my car. Do they have to turn off completely when the headlights are turned on or can they be dimmed Most of the controllers I can find just dim them.

Name: Mark Wright

Dedicated daytime running lights

Daytime running lights DRL are purpose-made, low-wattage lights that can be fitted to a vehicle and used during the day to improve the visibility of a vehicle to other drivers as well as pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. They do not need to be operated manually as they automatically activate when the engine is started and turn off when the engine stops or when headlights are switched on at night.

DRL are necessarily bright to ensure they are visible in the daytime but not so bright that they will dazzle others. However they are too bright for night time use and are not intended to illuminate the road in the dark. If used at night they will cause dazzle and discomfort to others and so drivers should always switch to their position lamps or headlamps at night.


Research has shown that DRLs are likely to reduce multiple vehicle daytime accidents and fatalities by up to 6 once all vehicles are equipped. DRL are likely to result in a small increase in fuel consumption and CO emissions of around 0.5 but this is expected to be lower when LEDs are used in place of filament light sources.

Legislation and requirements:

Vehicle manufacturers must fit DRL to new types of passenger car and light goods vehicle car derived vans type approved to European vehicle requirements from February 20111 . In practice this means that any new model launched after this date, and many launched before, will be fitted with DRL. However, existing models on sale before this date without DRL fitted can continue to be sold and used indefinitely.

Similar requirements apply to large vehicles such as HGVs and buses from 7 August 2012. Motorcycles do not currently require DRL to be fitted, but most manufacturers voluntarily opt for an AHO Automatic Headlight On system to be installed as an alternative. Changes to European legislation will, in future permit manufacturers to fit DRL on their motorcycles.

DRL activate automatically when the engine is started and remain on unless the headlamps are switched on. They may however remain off in some low speed and stationary situations. In general all other lights should remain off when the DRL are on but for a limited period some vehicles may be available which automatically activate the rear position lamps at the same time as the DRL.

DRL may be combined with other lamps. For example some manufacturers use the same lamp for both the DRL and position lamp. In these cases the DRL automatically dims to function as a lower intensity position lamp when the headlamps are turned on. DRL placed close to direction indicators may also automatically dim when the direction indicator is active. This is to ensure that the direction indicator is not masked by the light from the DRL.

Retro-fitting DRL

There is no requirement to retro-fit DRL on vehicles not fitted with them as standard. If you decide to retro-fit DRL you should ensure they have been approved to the correct European legislation. This can be confirmed by checking that the approval mark embossed on the lamp contains the letters "RL", see figure 1.

Ideally retro-fitted DRL should be installed such that they activate automatically when the engine starts and switch off when headlamps are turned on. If this is not the case then you must ensure that you manually turn DRL off at night as they will cause dazzle and discomfort to others if used in low ambient lighting conditions.

DRL approval mark.

Use of other lamps during the daytime

Drivers of vehicles that are not fitted with DRL are not required to turn on their headlamps or position lamps during the day unless visibility is very poor. However some European member states do require some form of lighting during the day so if you travel abroad and do not have DRL fitted you may be obliged to drive with your headlamps on.


Q Are headlamp converters used on a left hand drive enough to pass a UK MOT test

Name: Claire Gonzalez

Yes. Section 1.8 of the MOT manual states that masks or converter kits may be fitted to right hand dip headlamps to temporarily alter the lamp for use in the UK by removing the beam kick-up to the right. A headlamp altered in this way is not a reason for rejection, if:
a. the headlamp aim is not rejected for the reasons listed under diagram 1 except that the top of the beam image will be a straight line
b. the light output is not unduly reduced - not usually a problem with commercially produced kits
c. the mask or converter is securely attached.


Q My car has been in the garage for service and MOT since last week. Im waiting on parts as it failed the MOT due to a problem with the headlamps sockets. My tax expires tonight. Do I have to have my car SORN or just wait for the repairs to finish and get the MOT certificate and then pay the tax. Thanks.

Name: Norma Martin

You must make a SORN if your vehicle is not taxed. The quickest way to apply is by phone or online.

Headlights E Marked

Q Hello,
Do Motorcycle headlights have to be E marked approved will motorcycles pass mot without e marked approval. Does this include vintage motorcycle Headlamps Thanks.

Name: Brian   Town: Leamington Spa

As long as the light meets requirements. I.e. designed for driving on the left, brightness, beam coverage/shape etc.

Running lights

Q would a car fail the mot if running lights are not workn

Name: johnny

Running lights are not part of the MOT unless they are part of your side lights/headlamps configuration

Yellow headlights

Q HiIm considering changing my headlampsdipped main beamon my Ford Puma to yellowor could be known as Amberhalogens as I like the Euro look. Firstly,is this legal And secondly,would it pass an MOT with these installed,or would I have to put back in situ the standard white halogens for the MOT test

Your help clarifying this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards


Name: Jason Sheppard

The manual says that headlights can be white or yellow so there should not be a problem

Front light bulbs are different brightness

Q My car has supposedly failed its MOT due to the fact the front light bulbs are different brightness. One broke and I replaced it with a halogen instead of a xenon. The garage are trying to replace it with 150 new bulbs.

Am I being scammed

Name: Oliver

No - Xenon bulbs are much more efficient and last longer than normal bulbs but they are more expensive.

The MOT manual says: Reasons for failure: An obligatory main or dipped beam headlamp intended to be a matched pair: do not emit light of the same colour are not the same size or shape.

You could always try replacing the other xenon bulb to match the replacement as long as the brightness of the headlamps is sufficient and equal

Headlamp aim too low

Q I had a refusal of a test certificate. Headlamp aim too low.

It also had 4 advisorys .

Next day I got mot certificate with no advisorys showing.

Can i be assured that my mot is clear of any faults.

Name: Ken peach

It may have been missed. If you have has the certificate issued then it is valid for 12 months but unless the inspector manually adjusted the headlamps then the fault could still be there.

Q My Discovery Failed MOST Today as drivers headlight kicked to the right on inspection that headlight is European not British.I have had car 2 years and 2 mots done the car is as garage sold it to me.Can I put a converter cover over that side to pass MOT or will I have to find a secondhand one as new are 400 plus.proving difficult as like gold dust

Name: Kim    Town: Wigan

The Manual 1.8 states

Masks or converter kits may be fitted to right

hand dip headlamps to temporarily alter the lamp for

use in the UK by removing the beam kick-up to the


A headlamp altered in this way is not a reason for

rejection, if:

a. the headlamp aim is not rejected for the

reasons listed under diagram 1 except that

the top of the beam image will be a straight


b. the light output is not unduly reduced - not

usually a problem with commercially

produced kits

c. the mask or converter is securely if you have a converter pack correctly fitted you will pass

Matched Headlamps

Q Is it illegal to use headlamps which have a different degree of brightness

Name: J fRANCK   Town: Surbiton

The manual states that headlights must be a matched pair A matched pair is a pair of lamps which:

both emit light of substantially the same colour and intensity, and

are both the same size and of such a shape that they are symmetrical to one another there is no separate legal information but if it fails the MOT you can assume it could be an offence

Daytime Running Lights

Q Does a daytime driving light fail an mot if it is not working

Name: Jay jay   Town: Liverpool

Daytime running lamps are not testable unless they replace the front position lamps. Where this is the case, they should dim when the position lamps are switched on and may extinguish when the headlamps are switched on.

Click here for more information

Headlamp Washers

Q Do headlamp washers if fitted have to work for the MoT or does it depend on the type of headlamps i.e. standard halogen or HID actually fitted by the manufacturer

Name: Malcolm   Town: Wiltshire

If fitted must work

Xenon Bulbs

Q I have xenon bulbs in my front headlamps. Will these fail MOT Its not an HID kit. Just xenon bulbs that replace the halogen ones.

Name: Barrie Walker   Town: Armagh

The Test only tests the direction of the beam. As long as it would not blind other vehicles it should pass.


Q headlight setting for a ford focus 05model

Name: Peter.A   Town: eastgrinstead

Headlight settings must be in between certain settings, it doesnt matter what make/model. All vehicles have to be comply. All settings are shown here MOT

Manual - Headlight

Daylight MOT

Q what does my bike need for a day time my bike has no lights

Name: neil    Town: newport

A daylight MOT would require a motorbike to have a horn and a rear registration plate.

The testing guidelines state that motorbikes can be exempt from having lamps tested if they meet the following criteria:-

machines which have neither front nor rear position lamps, or have such lamps permanently disconnected, painted over or masked that are:-
only used in daylight hours
not used in times of serious reduced visibility

The following items/lamps are not required to be tested in order for a MOT to pass a daylight MOT test as long as they meet the criteria above.

Front and Rear position lamps
Stop Lamps
Rear Reflectors
Direction Indicators


Q My headlights are not set well, is that a MOT failure

Name: les   Town: Melrose

Yes the headlight is tested on the MOT test - for full information please visit MOT Test - Lights

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