Upgraded Headlights Rejected for Inspection

The inspection center requires replacing LED bulbs with halogen bulbs so that the vehicle can be issued a certification of inspection.

After nearly 3 hours of waiting in line for inspection at Inspection Center 50-02S in District 11, Ho Chi Minh City, Van Cuong, the owner of a 2010 Toyota Yaris, was immediately rejected by the inspector upon seeing that he had replaced the original halogen headlights with LED projectors (bi-xenon).

The original headlights were very dim, so I replaced them with bi-xenon LED lights last year. My car is old, and it undergoes inspection every 6 months. It passed the previous inspections, but this time it was rejected,” Cuong shared. The car owner believed that the new regulation from the Ministry of Transport allows vehicles to upgrade their lights as long as they meet the technical standards.

“However, the inspection personnel did not perform any measurements and immediately rejected it upon seeing the headlights,” Cuong said

Đèn LED bi cầu trên chiếc Yaris bị từ chối đăng kiểm. Ảnh: Văn Cường

LED bi-xenon headlights on the Yaris were rejected for inspection. Photo: Van Cuong

Decree No. 2/2023 issued by the Ministry of Transport allows users to modify and upgrade various aspects of their vehicles. Specifically, the previous regulation (Decree No. 16/2021) considered “non-conforming headlights” as a significant defect or damage (MaD), resulting in the vehicle not being granted a certification of inspection. The new regulation no longer includes this provision, which means that headlights are not necessarily required to be of the same type as the original manufacturer’s in order to pass inspection.

Furthermore, the previous decree classified “light color other than white or light yellow” as a MaD, but in the new decree, this provision has become a minor defect or damage (MiD). Vehicles can still pass inspection with MiD issues, meaning that lights with different colors such as blue can still pass the test.

In addition, representatives from the Vehicle Registration Department have stated that if the replacement headlights belong to a different type, they must be certified or comply with approved standards, and relevant procedures for modification and alteration must be followed.

Many users understand that they can replace the bulbs inside the headlights without altering the overall shape and structure of the lights. However, the replacement lights must comply with regulations and meet technical standards such as intensity and focus.

However, the inspection centers do not conduct technical inspections for modified headlights and refuse the procedure immediately due to a lack of guidance. Mr. Huynh Van Thiet, the director of the 50-02S Mechanical Vehicle Inspection Center where Mr. Cuong had his Yaris inspected, stated that apart from the general decree, their center has not received any instructions regarding the modification of existing regulations or the implementation process for new regulations. Therefore, they still follow the old regulations. The Vehicle Registration Department has not yet responded to this information.

Mr. Thiet further stated that not only Mr. Cuong’s 2010 Yaris but many vehicles with modified headlights have been rejected for registration procedures.

“We understand that installing brighter and safer lights than the old ones is the practical need of many vehicle owners, especially for older models. However, at this stage, we are not allowed to deviate from any inspection procedures,” Mr. Thiet said.

Vehicle registration with upgraded and modified headlights has become a chaotic issue for car users. Some drivers are rejected at one center but approved at another. Meanwhile, many people are denied registration in some places and have to revert to original specifications or proactively return to factory settings before inspection.

Duc Tu (Hanoi) owns a 2017 Ford EcoSport with modified headlights that emit blue light. Although he had the technical specifications measured at the modification facility beforehand, he was still not granted registration. He had to remove the new headlights and rent old ones for 500,000 VND to install on his car. A few months ago, during the tense inspection period, renting factory-original parts cost up to millions of VND per day.

Even though Cuong’s vehicle, produced 13 years ago, was not approved for registration, the new regulation allows for an extended inspection cycle from 6 months to 12 months. Therefore, he registered for an online extension in order to continue driving until the end of the year.

“I hope that the inspection situation at that time will be clearer and more favorable,” Cuong said.

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