Staying on the right side of the law this summer could be harder than you think. To prove it, Auto Express went to the Port of Dover, Kent, armed with a box of Eurolite adaptors and an alignment testing device. With the help of expert Charles Sterling, from the manufacturer of Eurolite, Travelspot, we put holidaymaking motorists to the test — with shocking results. Adaptors have to be fitted as UK headlights are designed to kick up — point left, and slightly upwards — so drivers can read road signs. Properly placed adaptors get round this. However, more than half the people we tested could not fit the plastic stickers correctly.
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Staying on the right side of the law this summer could be harder than you think. To prove it, Auto Express went to the Port of Dover, Kent, armed with a box of Eurolite adaptors and an alignment testing device. With the help of expert Charles Sterling, from the manufacturer of Eurolite, Travelspot, we put holidaymaking motorists to the test — with shocking results.
Adaptors have to be fitted as UK headlights are designed to kick up — point left, and slightly upwards — so drivers can read road signs. Properly placed adaptors get round this. However, more than half the people we tested could not fit the plastic stickers correctly.
Up to 60 per cent said they found the instructions baffling. Isabelle Dossantos of Newbury, Berks, was among the drivers we quizzed who had no knowledge of these rules. She told us she visits family in Metz, France, every three months, but has never fitted beam adaptors to her V-reg Peugeot Worse still, 30 per cent of the people we stopped ignored our warnings and decided to head to France with illegal unadjusted lights!
We asked the AA for some tips on adapting lights correctly. But technical specialist Vanessa Guyll warned it was too difficult for drivers to even attempt!
She explained they had no way of telling if the beams were still dazzling drivers without an MoT alignment check. Owners of older models, which still have guidelines etched on the headlamp, should find fitting easier, as these show the motorist exactly where to put the adaptor.
Modern lights have clear lenses, however, so we targeted these cars in our test. But our survey revealed the majority of motorists found them baffling. Most of the drivers who failed our test did so as they were looking at the headlight from the wrong angle. You need to be at eye level with the dipped bulb. The fitting guide offers different advice for different models, so there are hundreds of cars detailed on the back. The instructions told him to put the adaptors on in two different places, when in fact they should both be laid on the same spot.
In some instances, the instructions were wrong, however. Andrew Hill from Bedlington, Northumberland, had no chance, as the diagram for his plate Kia Picanto was totally misleading!
Most of the drivers we spoke to, such as Chris Care of Faversham, Kent, found the instructions simply too complex. I had to be told which was the dipped bulb — I would never know without digging out the handbook. Charles Sterling argued that Travelspot has had relatively few complaints, however.
Only two of the motorists we approached had fitted Metro Beam Benders — the main rival to Eurolite. They said they were simple to use, and in both cases they had cancelled out kick-up.
But our alignment machine revealed Beam Benders had also cancelled out the glare from the entire beam. So although the headlights were legal for the Continent, they would have been much less effective.
Some, such as Honda, have tried to make life easier on models with clear headlights by adding a tiny dimple on the lens to align the adaptor. Civic Type R owner Steve Cuthbert, from Derby, told us this enabled him to fit the kit quickly and correctly. Dave Williams of Wrexham, North Wales, said there were no guides on his Opel Zafira — and called on all manufacturers to make switching more simple.
He suggested a template that fits over the entire headlamp. On some of its cars, owners can change the lights to Continental mode simply by pressing a button! Many older cars have guide headlights, and the adaptor is simply lined up with the sloping line at the bottom. Modern clear-lens lamps are more tricky.
Find the right diagram in the instructions, and locate the dipped bulb using the handbook. Keeping your eyes at headlight level, you stick the adaptor in the spot shown on the diagram.
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Holiday headlights feature
Recent developments in Headlight technology have meant we have added a number of new diagrams to our instruction sheet. This updated information can take time to filter down through store stocks, so we have included the latest diagrams below to assist with the fitting of Eurolites to these types of headlight. We trust the above information will allow you to successfully apply your Eurolites, but please email us at help travelspot. View How to apply the Adaptors using your Fitting Diagram View How to remove the Adaptors after your trip