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Thread: Swapping halogen headlights to Xenon is it straightforward?

  1. #1
    MA3RC's Avatar
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    Swapping halogen headlights to Xenon is it straightforward?

    I'm curious as to whether it is possible to use a Xenon headlight unit like the ones in the S Lines and S3's and straight swap for the existing halogen unit. Or is there more to it than that?
    Last edited by MA3RC; 3 Weeks Ago at 15:36.
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    s3_trev's Avatar
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    The actual light cluster may fit but you will also need the ballasts too. Also I am not too sure what the regulations are in wales, but in NI cars with HID lights must have headlight washers.

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    Biggish job I think.

    I'm sure this has come up before in other parts of the forum (8P A3 etc.), you'd need at a minimum:
    - the light units and ballast
    - self levelling system
    - headlight wash system.

    Quick search found this in the 'audi-s4-a4-a4-cab-b7-chassis' section, suspect it's a similar list for the A3: Halogen To Xenon
    Current: '14 8V S3 3dr S-tronic, Estoril blue, 5 yr warranty, B+O, Comfort pack, Heated/ foldable/dimming mirrors, Hill hold assist, Int. light pack, LED headlights, Lumbar, mono.pur, Park system plus - front + rear, Privacy glass, Technology pack - high, TPMS.
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    Yeah was gonna mention the self leveling but thought it may have been included in the actual light cluster itself.

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    mjcourtney's Avatar
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    Plus the different light switch on the dash
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    I would have thought the light switches would be the same wouldn't they? As above though, you'll need the units, levelling system (though I imagine also that this would be part of the unit) and headlight washer system installed. Likely some coding via VCDS as well!
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    mjcourtney's Avatar
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    The halogen lights have a manual levelling dial on the dash don't they?
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    Oh yes, you're right
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  10. #9
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    I saw this, it may affect what you want to do.

    Recent changes to the MoT Inspection Manual issued by VOSA state that "Vehicles with HID headlamps are required to have a headlamp washing system (a wiper is not required) and be self-levelling, which may be achieved either by the use of either headlamp or suspension levelling systems". Then to cover aftermarket HID systems, "In order to pass the MoT test, vehicles fitted with aftermarket HID systems would also need to be fitted with headlamp cleaning and self-levelling systems".
    Steeve

  11. #10
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    well you still could swap them back when MOT is due ...
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    or find a dodgy MOT tester

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowfree52 View Post
    well you still could swap them back when MOT is due ...
    Lots of cars around with illegal lights that blind other drivers. Many people think Xenons are blue, because there are so many fake ones around.

    I wondered why Xenons cost an extra £800 for my GTD. It's not just the bulbs. (As was pointed out above) The levelling system is a legal requirement to prevent blinding other drivers. So is the washing system with wash fluid level sensor and larger wash fluid reservoir/bottle.

    The tech is a lot different too. IIRC there is a high voltage circuit delivering up to 40k volts to the Xenon gas bulb to create the light producing plasma - super charged gas - bottled lightning. They make a fizzing sound when they start and they look really cool too
    Last edited by Daz Auto; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:36.

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    Changing over the lights just to pass the MOT is not really a good recommendation as other road users should be taken into consideration. Also your car could be deemed to be unroadworthy, as it would fail the MOT, thus it would not be insured...
    Now a proud owner of a A3 1.4 tfsi Saloon S-Line, 6-speed, Daytona Grey, Technology Pack, Comfort Pack, Cruise, Advanced Key, Privacy Glass, Audi Parking System Plus, Interior Lighting, Folding Door Mirrors, Light & Rain Sensor. Hold Assist.

  15. #14
    snowfree52's Avatar
    Full LED baby !

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    Don't wanna go in a dog fight with anyone but my last golf didn't have Xenons. Bought some OEM from Ebay, keeped the car for 3 years and 65.000 miles, never had someone flashing his lights to tell me I was blinding him.

    Simply because I adjusted them well.
    The washing system ? honestly, I never used it. I don't push the lever long enouth to trigger the headligh washing. But I wash my headlights when they are dirty.

    About insurance, had an accident with the golf, broke a xenon, insurance offerered another brand new one.
    Last edited by snowfree52; 3 Weeks Ago at 20:47. Reason: grammar
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  16. #15
    Lewbo's Avatar
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    It's a case of a set of xenon headlights, re-pin your current headlight plug, and wire in two extra wires for xenon shutters, then code via VCDS.

    No need for washers or levellers a car will only fail an MOT if there fitted and do not work during the MOT. adjust them down manually and you won't have any problems what so ever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewbo View Post
    It's a case of a set of xenon headlights, re-pin your current headlight plug, and wire in two extra wires for xenon shutters, then code via VCDS.

    No need for washers or levellers a car will only fail an MOT if there fitted and do not work during the MOT. adjust them down manually and you won't have any problems what so ever.
    Self-levelling and washers are needed for any car fitted with xenon headlights to get EU Type Approval which in turn makes it legal to use on the road in the UK and other EU countries. Without them the car is illegal and 'un-roadworthy' in the eyes of the law. Technically you are not insured as you agree, as part of your contract with your insurer's, to keep you car in a roadworthy condition.

    Whether it will pass an MOT or not is not really relevent as the car is less than 3 years old.
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    There will always be one or two that gets away with it thus claiming it must be legitimate. At the end of the day the decision does rest with the owner/driver, like speeding really.
    Flibble likes this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr View Post
    Without them the car is illegal and 'un-roadworthy' in the eyes of the law. Technically you are not insured as you agree, as part of your contract with your insurer's, to keep you car in a roadworthy condition.
    Technically, you'd still have third party cover. Not that I'm saying it's right, but you'd still have "some" cover.

    Do you not require a new wing as well for the xenons? That's what I once read.

    Think I'd sooner buy a new car with xenons than faff about with changing them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewbo View Post
    No need for washers or levellers a car will only fail an MOT if there fitted and do not work during the MOT. adjust them down manually and you won't have any problems what so ever.
    If it's part of the manufacturer fit when they fit Xenons then you'll fail it. There are some rare examples of early xenon light fitted cars without one or both of these systems from the factory which would be fine (which is why the wording uses 'if fitted'), but only in that case.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migwire View Post
    Technically, you'd still have third party cover.
    How would you still have third party cover? If the insurance is invalid, it's invalid. They'd likely have to pay out to the third party then would take you to court to recover their costs, or just have nothing to do with it at all and the third party insurers would take you to court themselves.
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  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cemerson View Post
    How would you still have third party cover? If the insurance is invalid, it's invalid. They'd likely have to pay out to the third party then would take you to court to recover their costs, or just have nothing to do with it at all and the third party insurers would take you to court themselves.
    I used to be a member of another car forum and it was covered in great depth on there. I can't remember the exact reasons or wording, but the insurer still has an obligation to cover third parties.

    Page three of this guide seems to indicate this too.

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    Doesn't say they can't sue you for their losses though!
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  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cemerson View Post
    Doesn't say they can't sue you for their losses though!
    I'm not saying they won't either....
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    Swapping halogen headlights to Xenon is it straightforward?

    The OP didn't ask about the legality of swapping halogen to xenons, merely how difficult it is to achieve.

    To answer the actual question, and going from experience of previous generation cars, the answer is no, it's not easy, cheap or straightforward. It can be done but you should budget a minimum of £2,000 for a complete OEM retrofit. It can be done for less if you are using aftermarket parts or solutions but choose these at your own peril...
    Last edited by pat15312; 3 Weeks Ago at 08:01. Reason: grammar change
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    Quote Originally Posted by pat15312 View Post
    The OP didn't ask about the legality of swapping halogen to xenons, merely how difficult it is to achieve
    I know that, but some people were suggesting doing it without some of the required parts, and I'm not going to sit here and endorse or ignore someone else suggesting that they be a danger to other road users!
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  27. #26
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    Thank God your here to look after us.
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  28. #27
    There is always someone who will buy a reasonable expensive car and then try and add bits on the cheap. Better to order the car with the options in the first place. It usually works out cheaper in the long run.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    Quote Originally Posted by pat15312 View Post
    Thank God your here to look after us.
    I'm looking after myself. The less morons with dodgy aftermarket Xenon kits are on the road, the better my drive becomes. But why people think they have the right to just break the law and be inconsiderate to everyone else just because they don't have exactly what they want otherwise, I have no idea. Do you think that's something to aspire to?
    h5djr likes this.
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