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Thread: Side Marker Light Regulations - Subaru Forester (2003)

  1. #1

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    Default Side Marker Light Regulations - Subaru Forester (2003)


    Great to be on this forum. Lots of really useful info on here that has helped me tons with my first import. So thanks to all.

    I am expecting my Forester (2003 X20, 2.0L) to be here in a few weeks and am just getting everything ready for inspection. I am confused about exactly what is required for side marker lights. From the research I have done it seems that they may not be required if your head lights and tail lights wrap around (2009 Vehicle Lighting Protocol for the BCMoT).

    If I actually replace my head lights on the 2003 with USDM or CDM headlights, they seem to all have amber reflectors and amber bulbs that wrap around. The JDM tail lights look essentially the same as the USDM, which wrap around and have red reflectors on the side.

    If I do replace the front light assemblies, shouldn't this be adequate and meet the standards of side marker lights and reflectors?

    I did a walk around at Velocity, in Vancouver, and it doesn't really make any logical sense as to what cars have them or not and why. Some had them with wrap around lens and reflectors and some didn't....

    Also, are they any definitive checklists or procedures that shops use that I can cite, when going in for inspection? The MVA seems up to interpretation. I would like to go in with all the knowledge I can.


  2. #2

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    Welcome! Glad we could help you and congrats on the new Forester.

    What province are you from that requires these changes? Normally side markers and tail lights from Japan will pass MVI with no issues. Only issues I have herd of is the DRL'S.
    - 1996 XI Honda Integra J32, ITR Clone -
    - 2001 GDB STI WRB, Lachute Power Plant SOLD-
    - 1992 Honda Civic SI K20a2 Turbo -
    - 2018 Honda Civic SI Coupe -

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    Thanks for the reply. I am in BC....need to update my profile.

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    I've never needed lightup sidemarkers but any shop going by the book will need reflectors. You can buy them from Canadian Tire (orange for the front and red for the rear) and you will pass.

  5. #5

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    If you search - Sample Template for Required Vehicle Compliance Information - May 2007
    It will bring up a pdf guide if you haven't seen that yet. I'd post the link but my post count is too low.

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    Right on! Thanks for all the info.

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    Took my 03 Fairlady in to a place called Vedder Motors in Chilliwack for inspection. I needed some rotors done, a ball joint, and a bearing fixed. He also said that I needed some lit up amber side marker lights. There are none in the factory lights, just an amber reflective strip on the side of the headlights. The car came with smoked amber reflectors on either side of the bumper, just forward of the wheels. He recommended that I change the smoked lens to clear amber. Then, I asked the guy if the smoked amber reflectors lit up, would that be good enough for the side marker light requirement. He said "Yes". He sends me a quote to fix these things...Just under $3000; $1000 of that to change the headlights to ones that have lit up side markers. My headlights are already set up with DRLs so no real reason for new headlights. I buy the parts off of amazon for $300, and hire a local mobile mechanic who does the work for $450. Then, I run LEDS behind the smoked amber reflectors and done. Looks great, nice bright amber colour, etc. I even noticed that these original reflectors were DOT cert.
    So, take it in for the final inspection, guy says that it doesn't pass because the smoked amber reflectors are not clear amber. He then says that the reflectors aren't DOT. I point out that there are clear amber reflectors on the side of the headlight assembly but he's not listening. We argue about it and he tells me to leave and never come back.
    I talk to a guy at Canadian Tire about sticking an aftermarket amber reflector on the sides of the bumper don't cut it as they have to be actual OEM parts. HUH?????
    Any thoughts?

  8. #8

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    Hi Cpcars,

    Sorry I didn't reply sooner. Perhaps you got it worked out by now. That really sucks about your situation. I hate shops that feel like they can make up the rules or basically flat out lie to you. You will need lights (and not just reflectors as you have learned) and they have to be amber according to the Motor Vehicle Act:

    Side-marker lamps
    4.12 (1) A vehicle may be equipped with

    (a) 2 side-marker lamps, mounted on each side of the vehicle near the front, that are capable of displaying only white or amber light, and

    (b) 2 side-marker lamps, mounted on each side of the vehicle near the rear, that are capable of displaying only amber or red light.

    If a shop wanted to maybe pass the smoked amber as amber, they could probably make that call but they would most likely err on the side of no ambiguity as the laws are more strict now then they have been in the past.

    They do also have to be DOT/SAE stamped. All lights have to be this way.

    You can definitely stick amber reflectors on the car, which you can just buy at CT, which are DOT/SAE. They definitely don't have to be OEM. This won't really gain you much though, because you really just need the DOT/SAE amber lights on the side.

    I actually put the reflectors on my car from CT and thought it was good to go but I needed the lights, which I added (description on how I did it in another thread). Once I added the lights, I removed the reflectors and it was fine, and I passed. My tail lights wrap around the car a bit (can see them from the side) so I didn't need the reflectors in the back. I can dig up the regulations but you have to be able to see the lights at a certain angle standing at the side of the car. I forget the angle but it's pretty large.

    I had a look at your model car in some pictures from Velocity and they have added the small LED amber lights, like they do to all their cars. They have also added the reflectors, which you don't need.

    You likely have this figured out by now, but maybe this can help a bit.

    Good luck

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    Thanks nvloc! Appreciate your info. As it stands, the Fairlady is resting in the garage as I haven't had any days off since the inspection business. The last word was that, as you mention, I need to add illuminated amber side marker lights and replace the smoked amber bumper reflectors with non-smoked amber reflectors. I have ordered a new pair of these reflectors from the US for $10 each. So I'll change those out asap. The side marker lights are the other issue. One of the mechanics told me that he would expect that the current, stock headlights, will be exactly the same as the headlights put in the cars that were shipped to North America for sale. Therefore, he believes that the only thing missing is the bulb that illuminates the existing skinny, amber reflector that's built in to the headlights. It might be as easy as putting in the bulbs and done. If this isn't the case, I might as well bite the bullet and buy a new pair of headlights. I am hoping that a new set of headlights, bought in North America, will have the lit up side marker lights, but then do I worry about them have DRLs that work? Ughh!
    In a perfect world, I add two $10 reflectors and two $5 bulbs, and I'm good. I'll find out this week when I find time to open up the headlights.
    One other thing. I spoke to a fella who is from the BC Gov't Vehicle Inspection department. He was great in sending me lots of info and talking to the two shops that I had dealt with so far. He did say that it is reasonable to expect differing results from differing inspectors. I get that but the line from the inspectors, I got, was that they are "the ones that lose their license if I get pulled over for an infraction". I can't see any mechanic wanting to do these inspections if that's the possible outcome. Anyway, the guy from CV Inspections mentioned twice that my headlights would probably have to be replaced because of the direction they point, however, the 2 inspectors that inspected my car both saw nothing wrong with my headlights.
    Again, thanks!

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