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Old 15.10.2013, 00:02
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RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

Hi everyone,
I am in the process of importing my UK spec car (RHD) and have been looking at the forums and found that the info here has been very useful.
I have all the paperwork in place and now am ready to book my test. My only question is in regard to the headlights. As many will be aware my UK Cars lights point to the centre of the road. This is obviously not desired, a LHD car will point to the pavement as standard. My car has a mechanical lever on the headlights that allow the headlights to flatten the beam so that the pattern is horizontal. My question is, will this be enough to satisfy the SVA tester. I have looked at forums in France and it seems that it would be. But obviously things could be different in CH! They usually are! What I really want to know is what is the requirement of Headlight direction and is it enforced by the tester.
If any Brits (or Irish!) have experiences of importing their RHD car into CH without having to buy new headlights (600!) then it would be appreciated.

Many thanks in advance!
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Old 15.10.2013, 00:21
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

We had to buy new headlights for our VW Passat when we imported it. That was after the first check, as our local garage didn't want to do anything until it had been through the first check because, he said, they will always find something so let them find the things you already know you need to fix. I don't know whether it was an overzealous tester or garage, but it doesn't hurt to put your car through the test and see what they say.
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Old 15.10.2013, 08:01
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

If you have a lever for your headlights, I am assuming you have a BMW, in which case you will be fine. We did exactly the same with our BMW when we imported it into CH.
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Old 15.10.2013, 10:30
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

Thanks for the info so far guys. If anyone else has some experience it would be appreciated as well.

My car isn't a BMW I am afraid Nick but it does have the ability to change the lights on a lever which is accessed by opening the bonnet and feeling behind the actual headlights. I presume your BMW was the same?

I only ask because I believe if your car has Xenon lights then the directional change can be done by apressing a button on the dashboard.
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Old 15.10.2013, 11:00
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

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Thanks for the info so far guys. If anyone else has some experience it would be appreciated as well.

My car isn't a BMW I am afraid Nick but it does have the ability to change the lights on a lever which is accessed by opening the bonnet and feeling behind the actual headlights. I presume your BMW was the same?

I only ask because I believe if your car has Xenon lights then the directional change can be done by apressing a button on the dashboard.
If you can change the direction of the lights it should be fine. Why not tell us what you actually have, saying it's not a BMW really does not help anyone.
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Old 15.10.2013, 11:38
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

Sorry I should have said. I have an Alfa Romeo. (Cue Jokes!) .

As standard my RHD car headlights go up to the left at the horizontal point. \_ \_ .
As standard LHD car will go the right _/ _/ .

My car has the ability to make the beam horizontal __ __ .
This is obviously better than pointing the wrong way and blinding oncoming traffic but I also appreicate this does not make it exactly the same as a LHD car.
Looking at other forums it appears that this is OK in France for a CT and would be OK in the UK for an MOT. I just have no idea if this is OK in Switzerland.

Just wondered if anyone has any similar issues.
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Old 15.10.2013, 12:25
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

I had to change the headlight clusters in my bmw when i moved from ireland. It was an older bmw 530, so no lever to move the lights. Cost many CHF's, but was worth it.
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Old 15.10.2013, 12:39
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

The few people I know with UK cars had to change the headlights. Expensive if new but there is a large second hand market for such things. Try Ricardo or German/French ebay. I even know a guy who has a business in Spain selling EU lights for UK cars but I think these would be new units. The most expensive option by far would be to buy them at your dealer in Switzerland.
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Old 15.10.2013, 13:00
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

If the car fails the test, it is a quick job for a garage, and the OP could drive to Italy and get some fitted.
Maybe Ticino Tom has a good contact south of the border?

Always keep the original lamps, as you might decide to take the car back to UK.

Buying second hand from a Swiss scrap dealer might be difficult, as one of the first items to go in a crash are the headlights.
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Old 15.10.2013, 13:47
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

Yup, I had to do that on my Nissan, cost about 600 chuffs.
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Old 17.10.2013, 14:32
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

I have a lever on my Jaguar XF (which involves taking the units out before flicking the switch annoyingly), but this was enough to satisfy the tester.

They were very slightly misaligned (he checked the beams against the wall of the test centre) but he was OK with it and just asked me to get them adjusted the next time I went to the garage, and passed the car.
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Old 17.10.2013, 14:54
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

I replaced my units, a tip is to look on german ebay as when sqaddies buy cars they norm come with 2 sets of headlights ( if no direction lever) and they sell off the spare set. I found loads for my car at the time.
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Old 17.10.2013, 23:36
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

Find headlights at scrapyard?

I don't know how your travelling to swiss from the UK? Boat or train?

But here in the Netherlands you can find almost any headlight that you want at a scrapyard
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Old 18.10.2013, 08:10
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

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if your car has Xenon lights then the directional change can be done by apressing a button on the dashboard.
No. I do have the xenon lights (With the additional function that they swivel when you go around corners. This may sound ridiculous, but I can really recommend this feature) There is no switch on the dashboard, but a lever underneath a screwtop, behind the light units in the engine bay. I can't imagine the cost to replace the lights! I was really impressed at this simple, yet clever solution.
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Old 18.10.2013, 08:51
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

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Buying second hand from a Swiss scrap dealer might be difficult, as one of the first items to go in a crash are the headlights.
Not in a rear end or side crash, though.

Lots of ways to write off a car.
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Old 22.10.2013, 22:28
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

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Hi everyone,

If any Brits (or Irish!) have experiences of importing their RHD car into CH without having to buy new headlights (600!) then it would be appreciated.

Many thanks in advance!
We imported a Volvo - we bought new headlights as recommended by the garage. No point in messing about with the ZurichSVA or you just have to keep paying for a re test until you do - have-the-right-lenses
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Old 23.10.2013, 19:55
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

I'd love to hear how you went.

My 2 cents from my experience: The MFK is very strict. Take it to the manufacturer dealer that you are going to use for services. Tell them what you are doing and that you'd like them to check whether the lights are correct. They will tell you quickly if it is possible to alter them or if you need to replace. My porsche took 20 minutes and cost zero$.
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Old 19.11.2013, 15:48
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

For anyone still interested in this I can tell you that my car passed!!
The Test Mechanic looked at the lights as part of the first test and all seemed fine. Then later on during some other tests I saw he grabbed a colleague to talk to him. I am pretty sure they were talking about the lights because later on he took the car for a "test drive" and when he came back tested the lights with the colleague looking. They both nodded and said all was OK.
So to confirm, after changing the mechanical lever behind each light unit my lights have a flat beam, rather than a "kick up" to the left as UK standard. They do not have a "kick up" to the right which they would do if I had replaced them with standard European Lights.
I would not go as far as saying that if anyone else has this scenario they will also be fine. I honestly think a lot has to do with the Tester. If he wanted to be awkward I'm sure he could have said I needed new lights.
For the record I contacted my nearest dealer before the test and they said that I would definitely need new lights and they were happy to quote for some. Ballpark figure 1000CHF fitted!
Regarding the cleaning, I went to a local drive through car wash at the weekend then got a bit paranoid and went again to double clean behind the wheels and the underside of the engine with a jet wash.
My engine has a plastic tray underneath it, so this made cleaning a lot easier. Again I would definitely try and do this myself. I have heard some colleagues paying garages 200 CHF to do this for them.
In conclusion if anyone out there has a UK car and are wanting to get it through the MFK without changing the headlights I would first contact their Car Manufacturer (or good old Google) and see if it is mechanically possible to change the lights to a flat beam and if it is just try and get it through the test. It is definitely worth the gamble.
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Old 19.11.2013, 15:55
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

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For anyone still interested in this I can tell you that my car passed!!
The Test Mechanic looked at the lights as part of the first test and all seemed fine. Then later on during some other tests I saw he grabbed a colleague to talk to him. I am pretty sure they were talking about the lights because later on he took the car for a "test drive" and when he came back tested the lights with the colleague looking. They both nodded and said all was OK.
So to confirm, after changing the mechanical lever behind each light unit my lights have a flat beam, rather than a "kick up" to the left as UK standard. They do not have a "kick up" to the right which they would do if I had replaced them with standard European Lights.
I would not go as far as saying that if anyone else has this scenario they will also be fine. I honestly think a lot has to do with the Tester. If he wanted to be awkward I'm sure he could have said I needed new lights.
For the record I contacted my nearest dealer before the test and they said that I would definitely need new lights and they were happy to quote for some. Ballpark figure 1000CHF fitted!
Regarding the cleaning, I went to a local drive through car wash at the weekend then got a bit paranoid and went again to double clean behind the wheels and the underside of the engine with a jet wash.
My engine has a plastic tray underneath it, so this made cleaning a lot easier. Again I would definitely try and do this myself. I have heard some colleagues paying garages 200 CHF to do this for them.
In conclusion if anyone out there has a UK car and are wanting to get it through the MFK without changing the headlights I would first contact their Car Manufacturer (or good old Google) and see if it is mechanically possible to change the lights to a flat beam and if it is just try and get it through the test. It is definitely worth the gamble.
A flat beam is totally legal, the testers don't see it very often, which is why it was discussed. As I have said many times the Swiss MFK is not really a big deal at all.
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Old 15.09.2014, 17:20
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Re: RHD Headlights Adjustment UK Car

Dear Fatmanfilms and any other that can help..
You mention below that flat Headlamps are totally legal. is there some information or rules that can prove this is so? I am out of principal getting rather frustrated. I recently moved to CH and prior to coming called the testing station and was told Flat was ok. Now I am here and completely helpless they are saying it is not ok and it is going to cost several thousand CHF to change the lights. I am trying to find out if they miss informed me the first time or simply being difficult and wanting to "just cause trouble".

Would be very grateful if anyone can confirm?
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