The primary purpose of your headlights is to illuminate the road and facilitate safe and fatigue-free driving. They alert other road users of your presence to avoid collisions and other accidents. Well-maintained headlights enable you to see road signs, markings, and unexpected obstacles, mainly at night.
For your headlights to function optimally, they require proper care. Ignoring headlight maintenance results in insufficiently illuminated roads, increasing safety risks. This article outlines nine tips for maintaining your car headlights.
Table of Contents
- 1. Ensure proper headlight alignment
- 2. Fix cloudiness
- 3. Clean your headlights routinely
- 4. Address broken headlight lens immediately
- 5. Upgrade to LED headlights
- 6. Check the illumination
- 7. Review any custom modifications
- 8. Replace your headlight bulbs in pair
- 9. Have the headlight bulbs changed in a garage
1. Ensure proper headlight alignment
The correct headlight alignment is crucial for road safety. Misaligned headlights can impact your visibility, causing safety threats, especially when driving at night. You can tell that your headlight adjustment isn’t proper if other drivers flash their lights at you because the lights could be blinding even if you’re using the high beam mode. The road could be brightly illuminated with your headlights at around 20 feet, meaning they’re pointed too low.
Consider parking your vehicle at surface level and then flashing the headlights about 25 feet ahead on your garage door or wall. If the light pattern high on your right side lightens the road signs and the lower headlight on the driver’s side prevents any glare that might blind other drivers, then your beams are accurately placed on both sides. If not, consider learning how to align LED headlights and adjusting accordingly.
2. Fix cloudiness
These days, headlights are made from plastic or polycarbonate. While it’s difficult for plastic to break, it turns yellow due to oxidation, making the headlights cloudy and impacting their performance. Thankfully, restoring the oxidized headlamp’s clarity is quite easy. Learn how to clean your car’s headlights and ensure the products you use have mild abrasion and are excellent for polishing surfaces. A professional headlight restoration would be a better option if you can’t do it at home.
3. Clean your headlights routinely
Your headlights illuminate the road when driving at night or in extreme weather. If they’re unclean, your visibility will be significantly impacted, causing life-threatening issues like:
- Reducing your capacity to see other drivers and obstacles
- Uneven light from unclean headlights may cause eye strain
- Increasing the light variability oncoming drivers see
- Dirty headlamps can make your vehicle unroadworthy
Dirty headlights also change light distribution, which may create problems for other drivers. If your car gets regularly cleaned, you might only need toothpaste or other environmentally friendly alternatives. A restoration kit would be ideal if you’ve neglected your headlights for a long time. Clean your headlights regularly for brighter roadway illumination.
4. Address broken headlight lens immediately
A broken headlight lens can blow other bulbs if not fixed immediately. It may also result in the bulb overheating. Ignoring a cracked headlight lens may increase the beam brightness in the other headlight. It can also distort and reduce the beam. Broken headlight lenses usually impair clear road visibility, increasing the risk of accidents. Fix or replace your headlight lens immediately after it breaks to enhance road safety.
5. Upgrade to LED headlights
Upgrading to LED headlights is an excellent way to remain energy-efficient, resulting in improved engine performance. They last longer and have lesser maintenance requirements than their counterparts. Unlike incandescent, HID, and halogen headlights, LEDs don’t have any lead or mercury and are recyclable, making them environmentally friendly.
6. Check the illumination
In some cases, one headlight may go out before the other, leading to less illumination, which may compromise visibility. A blown headlight can cause poor visibility, but it’s not always easy to tell whether you have this issue behind the wheel. That’s why it’s always necessary to do regular checks for illumination.
7. Review any custom modifications
Some states allow cars fitted with custom headlights or brake light modifications. If you have these or are planning to get them, ensure they meet state and local regulations for wattage and brightness. In addition, consider the angle, evenness, and symmetry of the headlight beams. Any tint on the lights should also meet state and local laws.
8. Replace your headlight bulbs in pair
Always replace your headlight bulbs at the same time. A car’s headlights dim over time, so you will have one brighter headlight than the other if you change only one. This can create an uneven field of vision, which may distract you and oncoming traffic. In addition, replacing your bulbs in pairs increases the chances of them lasting the same duration.
9. Have the headlight bulbs changed in a garage
Some headlight constructions are complicated and may require special tools. Although changing a car’s headlight bulb is a simple process that doesn’t require a service professional, getting it done at a garage ensures proper installation and compatibility. Your mechanic can also advise you about possible upgrades to boost performance.
Headlamp care ensures proper road visibility and safety. Use these tips to maintain your car headlights and ensure that your car is safe to drive and that the road ahead is properly illuminated.