You are allowed to replace a vehicle’s original conventional headlights with xenon headlights, under certain conditions.
Xenon headlights, also known as high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, have been on the market for approximately 10 years. They are a part of the standard equipment on several luxury cars. These headlights provide a much brighter light while using the same amount of power as conventional headlights. They give off a light that is very white and that tends more towards blue than yellow.
On the road, when you are blinded by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle, you might automatically assume that the other driver did not switch to his or her low beams, and left the high beams on. However, it is more likely that the other vehicle is equipped with xenon replacement headlight bulbs that were not installed by the vehicle manufacturer.
Transport Canada requires that the aim of this type of headlight be adjustable – either automatically or manually from the driver’s seat. This is to prevent glare from blinding other road users. When xenon bulbs are installed in housing that was not designed for them, the light they emit cannot be projected in an optimal and controlled manner.
It is important to know that vehicle headlights sold by manufacturers must comply with the international standards of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for vehicle lighting, as well as Transport Canada’s standards.
You are allowed to replace a vehicle’s original conventional headlights with xenon ones, but only if you do so using all the original equipment manufacturer parts.
Be careful if you’re thinking of buying a xenon headlight kit online. Kits that do not include headlight housing cannot be installed in a way that will provide adequate lighting and you will not be able to meet the manufacturer’s lighting standards as the vehicle’s original sealed-beam headlight was not designed to work with a xenon bulb. Not only does this make your headlights less effective and increase your chances of blinding other road users, it also violates the Highway Safety Code.
Under the Highway Safety Code, the SAAQ may require the removal, repair or modification of any equipment on a road vehicle that has not been installed by the vehicle manufacturer if the equipment presents a risk for road users. You must take care to ensure that these headlights are properly installed; otherwise, they could blind other road users.
Last update: July 21, 2021