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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Are Your Headlights Getting Dimmer?

Does it seem like your headlights are getting dimmer; that you just can't see as far as you used to? They probably are but it’s not the fault of the bulb.

Over the past ten years or so, headlights started to change. Older drivers may remember when it came time to change the headlights, having to get a large headlight fitting that included a new glass lens. Nowadays, when it comes time for a change, you just swap out the bulb by itself. It is much cheaper and there is no longer any need to adjust the headlights so that they are aimed properly.

The problem with this new system though is that the lens doesn't get changed and, over time, it tends to get scratched up and very dirty. It's not the bulb that is growing dim; it's the scratched and cloudy lens that is making it hard for the light to penetrate through. To correct the problem, you need to clean the lens. Cleaning the lens however isn’t as easy as running some soap and water over it. You need to remove the scratches that are holding the dirt.

There are several products on the market designed for cleaning headlight lenses. Most of these products are easily available at auto parts or big box department stores and they don’t cost much. Some are rub-on, rub-off type products similar to car wax in their application. Some products include a small buffer that can be used with an electric drill to polish the lens. All promise ease of use but some are easier than others. You'll have to experiment to see which one is best for you. Regardless of the type you use, the chore doesn’t take long and the results can be dramatic.

Remember, that driving safety rules say you should never drive so fast that you "over-drive your headlights". In other words, you need to be able to stop within the distance covered by your headlights. As your headlights become scratched and cloudy, that distance becomes shorter and shorter. Don't take a chance on over-driving your headlights; clean your lenses. You’ll be pleased with the results.

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