LED lights & spare bulbs for travel in Europe?

Jan 17, 2014
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Now owning a vehicle (Volkswagen T6) with factory fitted LED lights both front and rear I am wondering what the law/rules are in various European countries regarding a requirement to carry spare bulbs.

My headlights and DRLs along with rear lights and brake lights are integral LED units. Obviously I cannot carry four complete light units as spares just in case one fails neither could I expect to be able to easily obtain spares from a European dealer to be able to supply RHD headlight units off the shelf should one fail.

Do any readers know what is now expected of motorists in Europe regarding light failures and/or the carrying of spare parts on such LED equipped vehicles? Logic says that a driver should replace/repair those lights that can be fixed on the roadside but these modern LED units are a very different story.

Your thoughts please.
 

The Nomad

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I suspect that never in the history of the human species has anyone actually been prosecuted for not having the "correct" set of bulbs plus tools to change them.

I suggest: don't worry, be happy.

In the extremely unlikely event that a bulb actually fails whilst you are on the road, just go to any motor factors or garage or DIY shop and get replacement and self fit/garage fit as necessary.
 

JFD

Apr 9, 2015
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Good question! If you are a member of the RAC or AA, I suggest an email to them asking the same question.

If not, come back, and I will happily punt off an email to the RAC and put the result up here.
 
OP
rod_vw
Jan 17, 2014
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Hi 'TN' you have obviously not realised that these modern units don't have 'bulbs' the light source is an integral LED thus the whole unit must be replaced.
 
Feb 24, 2013
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great thread, (y) we have just had an MOT issue with repeater side marker lights on the side of ours not working, they are nearly 10 year old LED units, I actually would have expected them to be standard bulbs. We have hardly ever driven in the dark and rarely in poor weather with lights on, maybe they will not last as long as we might hope

I guess these complete headlight units will be held at the dealers so will be available, but the other issue is at what price?

Also hope that single elements might fail rather than the whole thing, you occasionally see the odd DRL with bits missing, but they might be after market units

at home we now lose an LED GU10 down lighter most months at around 3 years old since all changed, in the early days of home LEDS we would lose one segment, now the whole light just fails
 
May 8, 2016
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Just buy some assorted LEDS from Maplins, a box will cost a quid, and show them if stopped.

Edit: I have had a number of cheap Chinese domestic bulbs fail in early life. Serves me right for buying from Ebay
 

pappajohn

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I doubt very much you would be 'spot checked' but more so having a bulb out.
Because of the complexity of modern vehicle lighting carrying a spare set of bulbs is no longer required.
Many vehicles require a degree of dismantling to get at the bulb and unless you know what you are doing HID headlamps can kill....they run at around 18000 volts via a high voltage ballast unit.
You could still be prosecuted for a failed lamp as you could be in the UK..... I would imagine.
 
Aug 6, 2013
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There are some vehicles around now where the Owners Manual instruction for changing certain bulbs is 'take it to your Dealer'. I rather think the legislation requiring a spare bulb set is carried has failed to keep up with the changes in vehicle technology. Now there's a shocking thought :D2.
 
OP
rod_vw
Jan 17, 2014
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I can't believe that there are so many readers that do not understand that modern LED headlights DON'T HAVE BULBS! And in my case the rear lights are NOT BULBS.

The LED portion is integral with the complete light unit.

It was only an academic question in the first place but seems to have gone off at a tangent already.

Pappajohn these are LED NOT HID.
 
Feb 24, 2013
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I can't believe that there are so many readers that do not understand that modern LED headlights DON'T HAVE BULBS! And in my case the rear lights are NOT BULBS.

The LED portion is integral with the complete light unit.

It was only an academic question in the first place but seems to have gone off at a tangent already.

Pappajohn these are LED NOT HID.
I don't think your point has been missed, posters are suggesting a simple low cost way to pay a token effort to comply with an outdated rule, simply by carrying random bulbs that would not even fit

The other reference to bulbs could always be useful to someone, I had an issue with my HID and only because I happened to read my manual, a very rare event for me, it says do not touch this light unless qualified you can die :(

I think the reference to that by pappajohn was simply a useful reminder in the thread about lights

Rare things threads that stay fully on track, at least all of the replies are about lights (y)

so far at least :)
 
Feb 5, 2009
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I can't believe that there are so many readers that do not understand that modern LED headlights DON'T HAVE BULBS! And in my case the rear lights are NOT BULBS.

The LED portion is integral with the complete light unit.

It was only an academic question in the first place but seems to have gone off at a tangent already.

Pappajohn these are LED NOT HID.
I think the point from PJ was to say if you aren't physically able to change a bulb yourself nowdays, why on earth would you be expected to change a whole LED light?
 
May 23, 2012
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I can't believe that there are so many readers that do not understand that modern LED headlights DON'T HAVE BULBS! And in my case the rear lights are NOT BULBS.

Just a question. Are these led bulbs AF or whitworth ? Haha
 

Kingham

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I can't believe that there are so many readers that do not understand that modern LED headlights DON'T HAVE BULBS! And in my case the rear lights are NOT BULBS.

The LED portion is integral with the complete light unit.

It was only an academic question in the first place but seems to have gone off at a tangent already.

Pappajohn these are LED NOT HID.
Is it not just a case that the term 'bulb' is being used generically and covers LEDs.
 
Feb 22, 2011
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I think maybe your worrying about something not worth worrying about.
Just go and enjoy (y)
There are far more worthy topics for worrying like grey waste
 
May 2, 2016
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Now owning a vehicle (Volkswagen T6) with factory fitted LED lights both front and rear I am wondering what the law/rules are in various European countries regarding a requirement to carry spare bulbs.

My headlights and DRLs along with rear lights and brake lights are integral LED units. Obviously I cannot carry four complete light units as spares just in case one fails neither could I expect to be able to easily obtain spares from a European dealer to be able to supply RHD headlight units off the shelf should one fail.

Do any readers know what is now expected of motorists in Europe regarding light failures and/or the carrying of spare parts on such LED equipped vehicles? Logic says that a driver should replace/repair those lights that can be fixed on the roadside but these modern LED units are a very different story.

Your thoughts please.
I have lived in France for just under twenty years. I had a driving job for 8 years covering some 120,000 Kilometers a year plus my private mileage in my MH, Land rover and car. I have lost count how many times I have been stopped on routine checks whilst on the road. I have never been asked to show if I have a spare light bulb set.

I would also point out on my previous car which was a Renault Grand Scenic to change a front headlamp bulb is a three hour job in a Specialist Renault garage. You have to virtually dismantle the front of the car to get to it. If I was ever asked I would ask them how do Renault owners cope with there useless French designed car's. I would just carry a few bulbs like stop and side lights.
If I sound pee'd off about French cars, that's because I am. Enjoy your trip to France.
 
Nov 3, 2013
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Hi.
I love everybody chucking ideas in the pot,i have learnt that a light bulb can kill..THANKS for that. As regards changing whole h/lamp units ,when ours were changed from RHD to LHD beam,it took a qualified Renault fitter 3 hours,and yes,he had to near enough take all the front off,and he had the luxury of a bench,with soft cloth on to stop damage,and no vehicles whizzing by,trying to take his elbows off.
Keep chucking as much info in as you can,love it.
Tea Bag
 
Mar 23, 2010
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This reminds me of the time I had a headlight bulb go in my Renault car a year or so ago. I popped down the local petrol station and got a replacement. Lifted the bonnet to take out the old one and pop in the replacement (as I had always done in the past). Couldn't see where the rear of the light fitting was so thought I'd take it home and do it, if any tools should be required I'd have them there. Spent an hour or so trying to reach from all directions, to no avail! OK I'll take it to the local garage. They took a look, scratched their heads and said "no".

I know the handbook said to take it to the main Renault dealer but surely not just to change a bulb, for goodness sake! I tried a couple more garages (not petrol stations) before giving up and contacting Renault service dept. "No problem, just drop it in tomorrow", they said. I enquired how much it would cost. - £49.99.

Fifty quid to change a light bulb! Seems they did have to take a lot of the front off to get at it.

Ever since then I wondered about this oft quoted requirement to carry spare bulbs.

Wyn
 
Feb 22, 2011
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I think it is a bit of a throw back to another era.
As said in a previous post, when did anyone ever get asked for their bulb kit let alone prosecuted for not having one ?
Just go and enjoy !
Life's to short to worry about such things
 
Mar 23, 2010
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I think it is a bit of a throw back to another era.
As said in a previous post, when did anyone ever get asked for their bulb kit let alone prosecuted for not having one ?
Just go and enjoy !
Life's to short to worry about such things
Oh no I don't worry about it. Just smile at the idea.

Wyn
 

pappajohn

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Pappajohn these are LED NOT HID.
Yes, I understand that but my post referred to the dangers of changing HID bulbs to those owners who do have them.
Foreign plod can't expect you to do something which could be fatal hence relaxing the law requiring you carry spare bulbs....or lamps, before the pendants start correcting.
 

pappajohn

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Rereading this thread today has just reminded me I have a front side light out and the MOT is due this month.
It's in the headlamp so if I start now it may still be daylight when I get finished.
 
Aug 30, 2012
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Rereading this thread today has just reminded me I have a front side light out and the MOT is due this month.
It's in the headlamp so if I start now it may still be daylight when I get finished.
I do so hope that you are trained competent and authorised to Change a
Lamp,bulb,led,lumanar,hid,wick thingy
 
Sep 23, 2013
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Great Topic : I have LED lights on the rear three Sets: brake, rear, and indicators.
So should anything happen l will use the good old fashioned wave of the arm and my wife the other side Of course l purchased a spare bulb kit half of which l can't use but their just in case lm stopped.. Digressing now but the Zeon bulbs fitted in the main headlamps one failed two days prior to our Spain trip l couldn't believe the cost of replacement £145 each So to carry a spare that would be converted back to factory fit inc Labour by Fiat £110.00
 

pappajohn

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Rereading this thread today has just reminded me I have a front side light out and the MOT is due this month.
It's in the headlamp so if I start now it may still be daylight when I get finished.
Amazing....open bonnet, look down.
The sidelight bulbholder is even a different colour to the headlamp shell.
A quick twist using two outstretched fingers and out it comes....then i realised i didnt have spare :doh:

Oh well, it could have been worse...front fusebox, HID headlamp control module and glowplug module, at least, have to come out to change either dip or main headlamp bulbs
 
Aug 30, 2012
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Amazing....open bonnet, look down.
The sidelight bulbholder is even a different colour to the headlamp shell.
A quick twist using two outstretched fingers and out it comes....then i realised i didnt have spare :doh:

Oh well, it could have been worse...front fusebox, HID headlamp control module and glowplug module, at least, have to come out to change either dip or main headlamp bulbs
Sparky you may be store man your not :rolleyes:
 

JFD

Apr 9, 2015
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HI,

Well, the RAC has finally responded to my question about the legal need to take spare bulbs when touring abroad, but they have not really answered the question!

I quote:

In response to your enquiry received on 2 February 2017,

I can confirm that newer cars would now comply with the European regulations, regarding there lights.

Here are what is on our website.

  • Don’t forget that your vehicle must display the appropriate country identification letters (e.g. GB). Failure to do so may result in an on-the-spot fine, but if your number plates include the GB Euro symbol, you do not need a sticker within the EU
  • Stock up on your in-car ‘tool kit’ – make sure you have a breakdown kit in your car including: fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, tool kit, torch, blanket, warning triangle and reflective jacket1. A jack and wheel removal tools in case of a puncture could come in extremely handy when you’re on the move abroad. You can buy European driving kits and other essential items at the RAC Shop.
I hope this information helps.

If it weren't for the patrolmen, I would have given up my membership years ago!
 

Landy lover

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There is not now a requirement to carry bulbs - the AA list essential requirements on their web site as a downloadable PDF see attached makes interesting reading
 

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