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  1. #1

    Use of DRLs and Xenons on the continent

    My A3 has Bi-Xenon headlights and thus has DRLs (Daytime Running Lights) as well. I drive with mine switched on all the time. I have just returned from a holiday with my A3 in Austria and DRLs or dipped headlights are required by law to be used at all times in Austria and I personally found it certainly made seeing other vehicle at juctions etc very much better. The only cars not obeying the law on these lights were some 'foreign' cars that seem not to notice that everyone else had their lights on!

    The use of DRLs is only 'advisory' in Germany but I would estimate that around 60-70% of vehicles were using them. In France the percentage was only around 20%.

    To change my Bi-Xenons for use on the continent involved my dealer plugging in their VAG5051 computer and changing a setting. Whenever I turned the ignition on after that I had a 'beep' and a yellow warning symbol come up on the DIS to warn that the lights were set for left-hand drive. I have just been back to the dealer and they have set them back to normal and now no 'beep' or warning symbol.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

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  3. #2
    Matt's Avatar
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    What do the DRL look like when they are on? Just like sidelights?

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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr
    The use of DRLs is only 'advisory' in Germany but I would estimate that around 60-70% of vehicles were using them.
    I take it that was south germany? Up north it's more like 0.5%
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  6. #5
    What do the DRL look like when they are on? Just like sidelights?
    No, they look more like low powered headlights. They use a long-life 21w bulb which is the same power as a 21w brake light bulb but designed to last a lot longer. Sidelights or more correctly parking lights are no use at all except when a car is parked.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

  7. #6
    Vertigo1's Avatar
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    Being able to change the xenons for driving on the right is undoubtedly useful but not if you need to do some night-driving on this side at the start and end of the journey as you'll literally blind oncoming traffic.

    Before any children on here start shouting how funny this would be, try stopping for a second and considering how you'd feel if it were you being blinded, or if you ended up having a head-on with someone because they couldn't see where they were going.

    I suppose the sensible thing to do would either be to ensure you'll only be driving in daylight on this side or use beam-benders/blockers in reverse whilst on this side of the channel.
    Daytona Grey Audi A3 2.0TDI 150 S-Line with Tech Pack, Comfort Pack, Interior Light Pack, Alcantara/Leather seats, B&O sound, DAB radio, Folding/dimming mirrors

  8. #7
    Being able to change the xenons for driving on the right is undoubtedly useful but not if you need to do some night-driving on this side at the start and end of the journey as you'll literally blind oncoming traffic.
    What you say is not quite the case. The technician who did the change explained to me that all the setting does is drops a flap inside the headlight to cut out the part of the beam that would normally shine slightly higher down the kerb side of the road, thus giving a flat topped beam. It does not add a higher kerb line beam to the other side.

    So if you need to drive in the dark to get to the tunnel or ferry the only difference is the loss of the higher kerb side part of the beam.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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  9. #8
    Spin140's Avatar
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    That useful to know - did Audi charge for this service ?
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  10. #9
    That useful to know - did Audi charge for this service ?
    No in my case the dealer did not charge me at all. But I have been using this dealer for 10 years and my current A3 is the 6th one I've purchased from them. I also have used them for all my servicing so that may well have made a difference.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr
    What you say is not quite the case. The technician who did the change explained to me that all the setting does is drops a flap inside the headlight to cut out the part of the beam that would normally shine slightly higher down the kerb side of the road, thus giving a flat topped beam. It does not add a higher kerb line beam to the other side.

    So if you need to drive in the dark to get to the tunnel or ferry the only difference is the loss of the higher kerb side part of the beam.
    I don't think that's right actually. To pass British Forces Germany lights check you have to convert headlights to continentals. If you have xenons you do what you have done and either flip a switch on the back or change it with VAG.COM (depending on the model). Changing it over would give you the same beam pattern as a standard car on the continent i.e. high sided on the offside
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  12. #11
    I don't think that's right actually. To pass British Forces Germany lights check you have to convert headlights to continentals. If you have xenons you do what you have done and either flip a switch on the back or change it with VAG.COM (depending on the model). Changing it over would give you the same beam pattern as a standard car on the continent i.e. high sided on the offside
    Well I don't know for sure, I'm only saying what the Audi technician who did the work told me. He did say there are several different operations according to the type and make of headlights fitted to the car and the VAG5051 system checks and tells him the necessary proceedure. I didn't drive with the lights on in their 'continental' setting at night so I did not observe properly, but using then in tunnels their certainly didn't seem to be any high sided beam on the drivers side to me. After all, with normal halogen lights and black patches, they only cut out the higher beam part on the nearside.

    Perhaps British Forces have to have something different because they are generally there for longer and have German plates on their cars.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

  13. #12
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    great feature - pitty they cant get the basics right tho, like them being nice and solid instead of wobbly and flickery when you drive over bumps! tut tut

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr
    Well I don't know for sure, I'm only saying what the Audi technician who did the work told me. He did say there are several different operations according to the type and make of headlights fitted to the car and the VAG5051 system checks and tells him the necessary proceedure. I didn't drive with the lights on in their 'continental' setting at night so I did not observe properly, but using then in tunnels their certainly didn't seem to be any high sided beam on the drivers side to me. After all, with normal halogen lights and black patches, they only cut out the higher beam part on the nearside.

    Perhaps British Forces have to have something different because they are generally there for longer and have German plates on their cars.
    If that it a separate function it's a bit of a strange one. Why would you not want to have a high side on the nearside? I don't mean you personally but anyone. Of course yes with the patches it blocks the high beam temporarily but with xenons it's possible to do a complete swap over so it'd make sense to me to actually do it if going abroad. I don't know enough about it though. Next time try parking in front of a wall so you can see the beam pattern.

    We don't have german plates though. Just a different registration on uk plates.
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  15. #14
    We don't have german plates though. Just a different registration on uk plates.
    At one stage all British forces in Germany had German registration plates on their personal cars so that they did not stand out and make them a target for IRA attacks. When my brother was in the RAF and stationed at various places in Germany he certainly had German plates on his car. Has that now changed?
    Dave R (h5djr)
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  16. #15
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    Yes because having german plates on a RHD was a bit pointless! lol Especailly as they're all in the same estate.
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  17. #16
    Yes because having german plates on a RHD was a bit pointless! lol Especailly as they're all in the same estate.
    Yes I agree, but at the time when my brother was stationed in Germany, servicemen were encouraged to buy left-hand drive cars.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr
    Yes I agree, but at the time when my brother was stationed in Germany, servicemen were encouraged to buy left-hand drive cars.
    Not a chance when there's the opportunity to get tax fee uk spec cars!
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  19. #18
    Just found this on Wikipedia relating to the issue of Britsh Forces number plates in Germany...

    British Forces plates

    British forces number plates are white on black, in either the older two numbers, two letters, two numbers format, or the more recent two letters, two numbers, two letters format, with the lettering arranged in three rows. In West Germany, private cars owned by members of HM Forces and their families also used plates with the same format, distinct from those used in the UK. This was discontinued in 1988 for security reasons, as it made them vulnerable to IRA attacks. Private cars driven by British military personnel are now issued with either standard UK number plates (if right hand drive) or German ones (if left hand drive).
    Dave R (h5djr)
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  20. #19
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    Dave R

    A while ago, you posted an extract (EKTA?) on here showing how to change the small levers inside the standard xenons for driving on the continent. I have used this a couple of times, but stupidly have forgotten which way you should be facing when deciding which side of the car is the right hand side / left hand side to determine which lever should be up and which one down. The levers default to a central position inside once changed (on a spring) so am not sure which way to move them back for UK driving.

    If you can help, I'd really appreciate it please.

    Doing this only seems to flatten the beam and doesn't lift the nearside beam at all though and makes little difference overall to the pattern on the road, but I didn't get flashed once in 2000 miles of continental driving, so maybe it does something for the benefit of oncoming traffic.

    Cheers

    Rob
    2006MY A3 Sportback, 3.2 SLine, Manual, Brilliant Red

  21. #20
    Rob

    Here is a link to the extract from Elsawin about changing Xenons for continental driving.

    Changing Xenons

    This method only works on the 'normal' Xenons and not on the Xenon Plus or Bi-Xenons which have to be done using the VAG5051 system (or VAG.COM)
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

  22. #21
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    Thanks very much Dave. However, can you confirm which side of the car is the left hand side - from the driving seat perspective or looking at the car from the front? I would expect it to be the passenger side, but I have seen other instructions that say you should look at the car from the front. This is the bit I need to check to ensure they are correctly adjusted again.

    Thanks

    Rob
    2006MY A3 Sportback, 3.2 SLine, Manual, Brilliant Red

  23. #22
    Yes your right Rob, the Left-hand side is the passenger or nearside side of a UK car. Further illustrations in the Manual show the Left-hand side as being the side with the where the battery is located and the Right-hand, the side where the screen wash filler is located as you look into the engine compartment from the front.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

  24. #23
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    Thanks very much Dave. My battery is in the boot, so I'll take your word for it! Much appreciated.

    Rob
    2006MY A3 Sportback, 3.2 SLine, Manual, Brilliant Red

  25. #24
    Staz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr
    Well I don't know for sure, I'm only saying what the Audi technician who did the work told me. He did say there are several different operations according to the type and make of headlights fitted to the car and the VAG5051 system checks and tells him the necessary proceedure. I didn't drive with the lights on in their 'continental' setting at night so I did not observe properly, but using then in tunnels their certainly didn't seem to be any high sided beam on the drivers side to me. After all, with normal halogen lights and black patches, they only cut out the higher beam part on the nearside.

    Perhaps British Forces have to have something different because they are generally there for longer and have German plates on their cars.
    I've since found out that when guys get their xenon fitted cars changed for the BFG test they do go on the flat beam not LHD. But it may be changing soon!

    My apologies, I was misinformed
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  26. #25
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    Thumbs up Europe light changes..

    Very similar post on rs246 (albeit in the B7 RS4 forum) going on also..
    http://www.rs246.com/index.php?name=...81a6eead897966

    Useful if you've got VAG-COM..

    -Sal-
    Last edited by sjahS3; 10th July 2007 at 13:50. Reason: Added forum ref..
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