Are Morimoto Headlights DOT Approved
You should be concerned whether or not your LED headlights are DOT approved: According to the FMVSS108 legal document that regulates automotive lighting – what the manufacturers can and cannot offer to customers – there are a lot of rules and regulations that need to be adhered to in order for a new headlight product to be considered “DOT Approved” or “DOT Compliant” or “Street Legal.”
Because of this discrepancy, a lot of headlight products on the market today are not DOT Compliant. In fact, a bunch of lighting brands stamp their packaging or products with the infamous DOT logo in hopes that nobody questions them.
WHAT DOES A COMPLIANCE TEST LOOK LIKE?
The DOT-Compliant sticker or embossed logo does not mean the headlights or products you are purchasing are truly DOT-Compliant. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "DOT does not approve any motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment items as complying with all applicable FMVSS. That is instead the responsibility of the vehicle or equipment item's original manufacturer."
Essentially, it is up to the producers of the headlights to determine if they meet the requirements. If you are looking for something to put you to sleep, you can read those requirements here. In short, there are specifications for every possible application, vehicle, and mounting position.
The requirements we listed above are long, but what does a test look like? In the case of Morimoto Lighting, they look a bit like this. Long documents with graphs and photometric reports that catalog the performance, vibration testing, heat testing, and several other benchmarks for approval.
Morimoto has its tests done independently by a company called ISOQA. They are responsible for their DOT testing and their SAE approval.
You can also find an SAE identification code, typically found at the bottom of the headlight housing lens. It is an embossed logo that denotes the use approval for the light. It uses the codes that look like these:
O for Spotlight
I for Turn Signal
L for License Plate Light
T for Taillight
Or our personal favorite…
I7 for “Front Mounted Turn Signal Lamp Mounted Less Than 100mm from the Headlamp, for Use on Vehicles 2032mm or More in Overall Width”
These are just a few examples, but there is a full list of codes here. After the alphabetical code, there is a number to state when the lighting product.
LED HEADLIGHTS FOR CARS AND TRUCKS
If you are looking for an LED headlight upgrade for your Ford F150, Mustang, Chevy Silverado, or any other popular car or truck, you need to be careful about what you are buying. Marketplace sellers who reproduce lights under multiple names will skate around the fact that what you are buying does not have the appropriate legal requirements to back up their DOT-Compliant claim.
WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO IS THIS:
If they tell you it is legal or DOT compliant, just ask to see the proof! The last thing anyone needs is to be caught at an inspection point to find out the headlights you are running are illegal. In other words, if you are driving with non-compliant headlights, you could get a ticket or a fine.
Morimoto is well known in the aftermarket automotive lighting industry as one of the best of the best and has been producing them for the last four years. Morimoto is one of the few brands that produce fully LED headlight assemblies that are DOT compliant AND prove it.
Everybody nowadays seems to want better, brighter, and cooler-looking headlights but it is hard to know what is worth spending your hard-earned money on. Not everyone is willing to prove the performance or legality, unfortunately. Because of this, you may unknowingly install something that will not stand up to inspection or will be less bright than your OEM headlights.
HOW TO GET DOT FMVSS108 DOCUMENTS
The quickest way to get access to the DOT FMVSS108 paperwork for any of the Morimoto LED headlight assemblies is to go straight to the product listing. One way to access these documents is by going to the Official Morimoto website, choose the headlight or taillight listing where they have the document at the bottom of the listing.
Another way you can find the documents is by going to our website, find the housing you want/have, and scroll down to the FMVSS108 paperwork under the “Compatibility” section.
Thirdly, you can also request the document from one of our excellent customer service representatives.
When upgrading and buying new lighting technology, make sure you are getting what you pay for. One simple way to make sure you are getting the real deal is to look for their certifications, test documents, and real-world light output examples. It is easy to broadcast DOT/SAE compliance, without any proof, and asking for that proof (or showing it from the beginning), will ensure you get a quality product.
If you have any further questions about Morimoto and its products, feel free to drop us a comment or send an email to our customer support team at support@TheRetrofitSource.com.