What are daytime running lights and what are the advantages?
Here you will find useful information and important tips relating to the daytime running lights in vehicles.
Important safety note
The following technical information and practical tips have been compiled by HELLA in order to provide professional support to vehicle workshops in their day-to-day work. The information provided on this website is intended for use by suitably qualified personnel only.
The primary function of the daytime running lights is to make a vehicle more visible to other road users. Particularly in situations where the lighting conditions change, for example when driving through a section of forest, this is particularly important.
Another advantage is that other road users gain more response time, as they can see a vehicle more clearly and quickly. The fact that the daytime running lights are automatically activated when the ignition is turned on is another convenient advantage. It is therefore impossible to forget to turn them on.
Summary of the advantages:
Compared to driving without lights, this may be a step in the right direction. However, as explained above, daytime running lights offer clearly superior visibility and energy savings. Some of these electronic kits also dim the low beam, in the case of one manufacturer even by about 50%. This means that the luminous flux, i.e. the total volume of light that is output by a light source, is reduced so much that it falls below the required minimum value. This is absolutely prohibited by law!
This is because headlamps receive their type approval for form, light source, and function. Daytime running light generated with the aid of electronics thus means an additional lighting function which was not considered during type approval. Therefore, the headlamp automatically loses its approval!
Generally, daytime running lights must be approved for road traffic. To obtain this, they must therefore fulfil the specifications according to ECE-R87. Once the light passes the so-called type approval, the approval is granted. Generally, the approval mark can be found on the lens or the housing.
Skoda Octavia manufactured in 1999 – "LEDayLine" LED daytime running lights.
Daytime running lights make a great contribution to safety in road traffic. Law makers are also convinced that this is the case. For this reason, this lighting function is obligatory for all new vehicles entering the market from February 2011 onwards. The market offers a wealth of retrofit solutions for vehicles which do not have daytime running lights fitted as standard.
There are few alternatives for electrical connection, despite the differences in terms of design, light sources, and attachment. With many manufacturers, the lights are connected with terminal 15 (switched plus, often also known as ignition plus), terminal 58 (position light) and terminal 31 (ground). While the connection of terminals 58 and 31 is unproblematic in most cases, the situation can be different for terminal 15.
In modern vehicles, there is a lack of connection possibilities under the hood e.g. fuses of other consumers connected to switched plus. In such cases, a cable has to be routed to the vehicle interior. There is usually a suitable connection possibility in the fuse box there. In many vehicles of the brands Audi, Seat, Skoda, and VW, daytime running lights can be triggered via the light switch.
Connect the cable for terminal 31 (ground) to a suitable spot on the body or directly to the battery.
The cable for terminal 58 does not have to be connected to the position light cable on the headlamp. This function is taken over later by the light switch.
Route the cable for terminal 15 to a suitable spot on the interior.
Unlock the light switch and remove it from the cockpit trim. To do this, first push the rotary switch in, and then turn it clockwise slightly.
In some vehicles (e.g. VW Sharan or Seat Alhambra) the switch cannot be pulled completely out of the cockpit together with the cable connection. In this case, the side cockpit trim has to be dismantled first, so that the plug connection is accessible from there.
Loosen the plug connection from the switch.
There is a contact for the daytime running lights on the switch.
The matching contact socket in the connector is not usually fitted with a crimp contact.
With the aid of a crimp contact (HELLA no. 8KW 863 934-003) the cable can thus be connected to terminal 15 there. A fuse holder (8JD 743 557-021) with a 3 amp fuse should be fitted upstream, however.
Install the removed parts in reverse order.
When the ignition is switched on, the daytime running lights are switched on automatically. When the light switch is actuated (position light or low beam), the lamps go off automatically.
Here is a list of the vehicles in which this type of connection is possible. The list does not claim to be complete.
|Audi A3||(8L)||Model year 09/96 – 05/03|
|Audi A||(8P1)||Model year 05/03 –|
|Audi A3 Sportback||(8PA)||Model year 09/04 –|
|Audi A4 sedan||(8E2, B6)||Model year 11/00 – 12/04|
|Audi A4 Avant||(8E5, B6)||Model year 04/01 – 12/04|
|Audi A4 convertible||(8H7, 8HE)||Model year 04/02 –|
|Audi A4 sedan||(8K2)||Model year 11/07 –|
|Audi A4 Avant||(8K5)||Model year 04/08 –|
|Audi A6 sedan||(4B, C5)||Model year 01/95 – 01/05|
|Audi A6 Avant||(4B, C5)||Model year 11/97 – 01/05|
|Audi A6 sedan||(C7)||Model year 05/04 – 04/11|
|Seat Alhambra||(7V8, 7V9)||Model year 10/97 – 06/10|
|Skoda Fabia||(7V8, 7V9)||Model year 08/98 – 03/08|
|Skoda Oktavia||(1U2)||Model year 09/96 –|
|Skoda Oktavia station wagon||(1U5)||Model year 07/98 –|
|Skoda Oktavia||(1Z3)||Model year 02/04 –|
|Skoda Oktavia station wagon||(1Z5)||Model year 02/04 –|
|VW Bora||(1J2)||Model year 09/98 – 05/05|
|VW Golf IV||(1J1)||Model year 08/97 – 06/05|
|VW Golf IV Variant||(1J1)||Model year 05/99 – 06/06|
|VW Lupo||(6X1, 6E1)||Model year 10/98 – 07/05|
|VW Passat||(3B2)||Model year 10/96 – 11/00|
|VW Passat Variant||(3B5)||Model year 06/97 – 11/00|
|VW Passat||(3B3)||Model year 11/00 – 05/05|
|VW Passat Variant||(3B6)||Model year 11/00 – 05/05|
|VW Polo||(9N1,2,3)||Model year 10/01 – 03/10|
|VW New Beetle||(9C1, 1C1)||Model year 01/98 –|
|VW Sharan||(7M6-7M9)||Model year 09/97 – 10/10|
|VW Transporter 5||(7HA-7EH)||Model year 04/03 –|
Daytime running lights are often already fitted as standard in many newer vehicles. Depending on the vehicle model, however, customers have different wishes concerning the optical design of this lighting function. If customers do not like the optical design, something can be done about it. In many cases, the daytime running light function can be switched off by coding. Again, the Golf VI shall be used as an example for this.
For this purpose, the "long coding" is requested via the menu items Central electrics – Coding. When byte 15 is selected, a list of bits and their functions appears. If the tick is removed from bit 6, the DRL function is deactivated (see Fig. 1). This allows customer wishes related to design and installation location to be implemented.
When daytime running lights are retrofitted, the ventilation slots in the front apron often offer the ideal location. This spot is, however, often already "occupied" by standard fog lamps. But there are daytime running lights available that have almost the same dimensions as fog lamps. Often, customers think one can simply be replaced by the other. But fog lamps are used less often. Daytime running lights using LEDs also have the problem of bulb failure check. Coding can be used to remedy the situation here, too. The Golf VI shall be used as an example again.
For this purpose, the "long coding" is requested via the menu items Central electrics – Coding. When byte 14 is selected, a list of bits and their functions appears. If the tick is removed from bit 0, the fog lamp function is deactivated (Fig. 2).
If the customer would like a cornering light, this is no problem if fog lamps are installed. Simply check the box next to bit 7 and the fog lamps will switch on accordingly in the respective situation.
Professional modification of the lighting technology can even be carried out on modern vehicles through coding. The possibilities always depend on what the manufacturer allows on the coding level, of course, and whether suitable diagnostics testers are available. Experience shows, however, that more and more garages are discovering this possibility for themselves, and can thus fulfil their customers’ wishes.