When you are driving your smart in a country that drives on the other side of the road
you can consider changing your headlights so they don't dazzle the oncoming traffic.
Options For Headlight Conversion
Beam bending stickers
Light unit adjustment
Unless you are going to be out there for a while, I wouldn't bother doing anything, sod 'em.
Beam Bending Stickers
These are sticky backed flat fresnel lenses that reverse the upturn line of the beam.
The are easy to fit on the old style almond style lights because of the relative flatness
of the lens. They don't fit so well on the peanut style lights.
These are not needed for the Roadster, the Forfour or the new Fortwo 451.
To fit them you just need to shine your lights up the wall (at night obviously), place the
beam bender onto the headlight glass and move it around until you see the upturn
move from one side to the other. Remove the backing and stick it down.
This method uses black electrical tape to cover the upturn of the beam.
This leaves you with a flat cut off line which is perfectly acceptable.
This bodge is not needed for the Roadster, the Forfour or the new Fortwo 451.
You need to shine your lights up the wall (at night obviously) and stick a line of
tape to the headlight glass so it obscures the upturn. The one drawback apart from
it not lasting long is the heat from the bulb can discolour the lens under the tape.
Light Unit Adjustment
This adjustment is only available on the Roadster, the Forfour or the new Fortwo 451.
The above stated car models have projector headlights which have a physical cut off
point built into the headlight unit. The cut off point can be adjusted for LHD or RHD.
The process is usually quite simple and involves moving a part inside the headlights.
Check further down this page to see the guides on how to perform this adjustment.
Who cares? We rarely learn the language when we go abroad, why should we bother
doing anything special to our cars! Blind them, see if we care.
Infact the government say not to bother unless you are going to there for more than 6 weeks.
Adjusting The New Fortwo (451) Headlights
This adjustment is probably best done with the headlights removed.
Remove the outer most rubber cap and look underneath the bulb assembly.
You will notice a metal tab with a hole in it, this moves to control the light shut off line.
From the inside shot you can see the shutter is down. This is for driving on the left.
Looking into the bulb hole you can see the final Z-line shape.
To change the light output to make it suitable for driving on the right, the tab has to be moved.
The tab needs to be pushed forwards and moved over to the right.
With the tab moved over you can see the cut off line is straight.
Looking into the bulb hole you can see the straight cut off line very clearly.
So to recap, if you are driving on the left like UK traffic, the tabs need to be on the left.
If you are driving on the right like Europe or America, the tabs need to be on the right.
The tab must be moved over in both headlights, not just the one.
An ideal tool for moving the tabs over is an allen key. The small shank of the allen key can be placed into the hole allowing you to push and slide. Another possible tool would be a hooked dentists tooth pick.
Adjusting The Roadster Headlights
Remove the headlights by following
Look on the back of the lower unit, this is the dipped beam that we are going to be adjusting.
You will see two bolt holes next to each other but only one bolt plus letters below.
The L/G means Links/Gauche which is Left in German/French.
The R/D means Rechts/Droite which is Right in German/French.
This has nothing to do with what side your steering wheel is on, it is what side of the road you will be driving on. The English drive on the left so your lights should be on L/G as below.
Using a Torx25 screwdriver, remove all three screws.
If you look on the bottom of the unit you will see a point that can only sit in one of two positions.
Pull the back of the light off and replace it with the point in the opposite space.
The top bolt should now only go into the R/D side of the two holes.
Replace the other two bolts and tighten them all down. Refit the lights.
How It Works
On the inside of the unit is a shaped metal plate that creates the cut off point.
Because the polyellipsoidal lens inverts the image you will get this...
When the light is twisted, the metal plate also moves.
Again, because of the lens, the lit image is turned upside down so you now get this...
It's just like magic but useful.
If you are actually moving abroad from a country that drives on 1 side of the road to one that drives
on the other you will need to sort out the rear lights too. Obviously the indicators, rear lights and
brake lights are OK, it's just the reverse light and the rear fog light that are on the wrong sides.
Luckily you don't need to worry about replacing both rear lights, you just need to
replace the one with the reverse light in. The reason for this is because you need to
swap the reverse and fog light wires over but with your standard rear lights that would
give you a white fog light and red reverse light. Legally, the rear fog has to be red but
luckily the reverse light doesn't have to be white. It can be red or white.
So, remove the existing rear light with the reverse light in, replace with a light from the
country you are moving to which will give you the red lens required for the rear fog. You
then need to work out what colour cables feed the reverse light on one side and and the
fog light on the other. Push the boot carpet right forwards and just above the back of the
handbrake lever there is a mass of wires. Locate the required wires as they branch from
the centre. Cut them, swap them over and crimp them up.
If you have a UK smart then you should be OK as they'll have miles and kilometers on the same
dial face. However, if you are coming from a kilometer country there is a good chance that your
dials won't show miles. To register your car in the UK it must show miles on the speedo so you
will have to swap the dials over. There are 2 companies that do replacement dials.
Lockwood and Metal Monkey
Swap them over using one of our guides.