October 28, 2009

How Renewing Your Own Headlights Can Save You Money and Increase Safety

October is National Headlight Safety Month. It is also the time when days get shorter and daylight savings time ends (October 31). Shorter days mean longer nights, so you are turning your car’s headlights on earlier. At night your field of vision is drastically reduced. Headlights that are dim or burnt out make it hard, and sometimes impossible, for other drivers to see you. They also make it hard for you to see what is in front of you.
Now is the perfect time to check your headlights and make sure they are working and emitting enough light onto the road.

Headlight bulbs naturally dim over time. Another factor that contributes to dim headlights is the headlight lens. Typically headlight lenses are made out of plastic. Over time, they can become gray and cloudy. Both dim bulbs and cloudy lenses will restrict the amount of light coming from your car’s headlights — and that becomes an auto safety issue.

If your car is more than a couple of years old, checking your headlights should be part of your regular auto safety maintenance routine. To check your headlights, park your car so it is facing a solid surface (one that is taller than your headlights). Your car should be approximately five to six feet back from this surface. Turn on your headlights and look to see the light reflection on the surface. You should see two circles of white light, which are even, and aligned straight. What you should not see is very dim or yellow circles.

If one of your headlights is burnt out, you will need to have it replaced. When replacing a burnt out headlight, it is always a good idea to go ahead and replace both headlights. When one goes out, the other isn’t far behind. You can do it yourself by getting the bulb from an auto parts store or taking your car in to have it replaced.

Next, check your headlight lens (the outer covering of the headlight). You can do this just by simply looking at it. It should be completely clear, not cloudy or gray. You should be able to see your headlight bulb through the lens. If your headlight lens is cloudy or gray, your can replace or restore your headlight lens. You can restore the headlight lens by purchasing a headlight restoration and cleaning kit. These kits can cost as little as $8.99 at an auto parts shop and usually requires going through a few simple steps.

When it comes to the fall and faster fading daylight, it is imperative that you’re car’s headlights are in proper working order. Doing proper auto safety maintenance will ensure that you and your passengers are seen, and can see, on the road.