Have you noticed sunset is getting earlier as we progress through the season? By mid-winter, it will be dark by 5:00 and unfortunately, unlike cats, we can’t see that well in the dark. We need good headlights for safe night driving, not too bright or we will blind oncoming drivers, and not too dim so that we have to strain to see the road. We have high beam and low beam options to control brightness and where the light falls on the road. Road courtesy dictates that if we are in high beam mode, we dim our lights within 150 meters of oncoming vehicles and when following, within 60 meters. Don’t tailgate the car in front of you at night, even with low beam on because if your vehicle sits higher on the road, your lights can blind them. When driving on darker roads, like country roads that don’t have street lighting, switch to low beam when approaching a curve or hilltop. The advantage of doing this is two-fold – you won’t blind oncoming drivers and you can see if a driver is off in the distance. If no one is coming, simply switch back to high beam. Low beams are always used within city limits, but if your headlights are too dim, you have a problem, especially on dark pavement or if it’s raining.
There are several reasons why your headlights may be faulty, but we can’t be sure of the cause without one of our mechanics inspecting them.
If your headlights are flickering while driving, you may have a problem with the headlight bulb or a weak battery. Bring your vehicle in to us right away if this is a problem, as this may be a symptom of something bigger, like a failing alternator. Most importantly, you do not want your headlights to go out suddenly when you are driving at night.
Headlights dim when you slow down or stop probably mean a corroded ground wire. If the connection is dirty or damaged, the flow of electricity is disrupted and limits the output of your bulbs. Dimming lights may also be a sign of a loose alternator belt, but we won’t know that for sure unless we check it for you. If the light is always too dim, check your headlight covers. They could be dirty or foggy, which is not uncommon on older vehicles. You can clean foggy headlight covers with this recipe:
- Clean the surface of debris and dry it well.
- Apply headlight restorer. Sounds fancy, but just use a good supply of toothpaste or baking soda paste (mixed with water).
- Remove the toothpaste or baking soda paste with a brush (a toothbrush works great!).
- Wash the excess off with a clean towel then dry.
Replace Headlight Bulbs
It’s a good idea to replace old bulbs at the end of their product lifespan before they burn out completely. Your owner’s manual will tell you which bulb you need for replacement, and how long they normally last before needing replacement. Mention you want these changed when you bring your car in for scheduled maintenance and we can do this for you.
Accidents That Damage Headlights
Book an appointment with us to have your damaged headlight replaced along with all the needed bodywork. AUTOPRO Alignment and T & H AUTOPRO in Kamloops are both part of a national chain of independent repair shops backed by NAPA AUTOPARTS, the largest chain of parts stores in North America. This fact means that no matter what kind of headlight you need, we can find it for you and install it along with our national affiliation warranty that covers all of our repairs for 24 months or 40,000 km.