Each country has its own peculiarities when it comes to rules surrounding cars. Fortunately, most things are now governed by international regulations. That’s how it generally is in car lighting. But a few national solo efforts remain. Often they hail from old times before licensing regulations were harmonized. That seems to be the case with spare lamps which have to be on board in some countries. This applies to France and the Czech Republic, for example. There are most likely other countries where these laws exist. But it’s not really worth it to seek them out and list them; the much simpler solution is to put spare lamps in the car.

A range of lamps for mandatory lights doesn’t just come in handy for avoiding arguments and fines though. Even if you don’t think you can replace a lamp on your own, you’ll benefit because the breakdown service, a small garage or simply a helpful person can make your lights shine again if they have the right part.

Rare types are especially important

Osram and car manufacturers provide fully equipped spare lamp kits. It is particularly important that the range found in there really matches the lamp types fitted in the car. The kit that you’ve been taking with you from trunk to trunk for 25 years probably won’t do any longer. Even if you have a more recent kit taking a closer look won’t do any harm. Today many cars have one or two lighting functions that are equipped with very unusual lamps which are hard to find in any range. A H21W halogen lamp or even its amber sister HY21W in the indicator are usually too much for your standard kit. Fortunately, just like hypervision lamps with plastic bases, they have quite a long life.  But if they do burn out, searching for a replacement especially in rural areas abroad can be annoying. A failed H8 in the fog lights you can live with. But not if the same lamp is meant to use the light rings of the position lights, and a failure then triggers constant error messages. So it’s worth inspecting the contents of your spare lamp kit a bit more closely and supplementing it with any missing types. If a two-filament lamp is fitted in the brake and rear lights, the correct type is important. They come in 21 and 4 watts, and others in 21 and 5. They are not compatible and the wrong version is unusable in the event of failure. Information about the correct types can be found in the operating instructions or the Lamp Finder from Osram.

The law is the law?

So spare lamps are useful. Whether you need to have them as a foreigner in other countries is for lawyers to decide. Some say that such regulations only apply to domestic vehicles. That’s what the Belgians decided about fire extinguishers, for example, which foreigners don’t need to carry in their cars. On the other hand, arguments have been known to take place in Poland where a similar rule is in place. Or in Spain where two warning triangles are common.

Surely, hardly anyone will have the desire to have their vacation mood spoiled by arguments with evidently underemployed uniform wearers. While spare lamps are no guarantee for relaxation, they can probably contribute to it in some situations.

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