As car owners, we are occasionally responsible for routine maintenance on our vehicles to make sure that they operate correctly, keeping ourselves and other road users safe.
The use of car headlights may seem like a small inconvenience but if you forget to change the bulbs when they need replacing, you’ll find yourself struggling when it comes down to driving in dark conditions.
Now most drivers will complete some form of night driving at some point. It’s almost impossible to guarantee that you wont. So for that reason, we’re going to introduce you to a few common questions that surround basic headlight maintenance.
How to perform car headlight maintenance:
Replacing bulbs is just the start of it really. It’s all well and good knowing what you need; but do you know how to fit it, when they should be changed and the frequency of replacements?
During this weeks guide, you’ll learn how to identify the correct bulbs for your vehicle, how to replace them and what causes them to depreciate, when to change and what bulbs you need and how to shine your lights correctly.
When to replace your vehicles car headlights:
Now then; before a cars headlights start to wear down, you’ll often be given a few hints that it may be time for a change. Most frequently, if your headlights are starting to dim this is more often that not, your vehicle telling you that the light bulbs need to be replaced.
See fading lights as your own eyesight – as soon as things start to get blurry or the quality of your vision is lowering, it could mean that you need an eye test and a pair of glasses to help get things back to normal.
If you don’t replace dimming bulbs when they need to be replaced then you’re going to pose a significant risk to your own and other road users safety as the quality of vision that your vehicle now provides is a lot poorer and may make your vehicle difficult to see in poor lighting conditions.
How to correctly replace your vehicles bulbs:
If you do notice that the bulbs are dimming in dark conditions then it is usually down to two main things. Number one being that the car bulb is just old, tired and in need of replacement. Or it could be a result of the constant UV lighting being presented on the vehicles headlamp.
Over time, the headlamps take a lot of heat and lighting from the sun; something that we certainly take for granted. However, this constant light beaming down on the headlights can cause the glass to go misty and fog up.
If that is the case, you’ll need to have the headlamp replaced. Car headlamps typically last between 10-11 years depending on the driving conditions and lighting.
When you do replace car bulbs, its very important that you remember to replace them in pairs. If you don’t, you’ll have a combination of new and old bulbs working together that could provide an uneven field of vision.
As a result of the low visibility – you could see an increase in distractions for the driver and other motorists. Remember that you have a responsibility to keep yourself, any passengers and other road users safe by maintaining your car correctly.
Upgrading your existing headlights:
Before you can start upgrading your cars bulbs, you need to know exactly what your vehicle requires and ask yourself ‘what headlights does my car have?’ only then can you start to consider any upgrades or replacements.
The easiest way to find out what headlights your car uses is to look through the vehicle maintenance handbook that came with your car as this can provide you with a lot of useful information.
If you go straight to the glossary at the back of the handbook, you can scan through for bulb maintenance. Here you’ll be able to identify the exact type of bulbs that your car uses, or that the manufacturer recommends.
If you want to make your vehicles headlights brighter, then you’ll need to upgrade the bulbs from the standard recommendation to something with a greater field of vision, downward visibility and whiter light. The better the general visibility, the better your reactions will be when driving in dark conditions.
This could lead to a better reaction time and could prove to be lifesaving in a serious, poorly lit situation. So just to confirm – if you want to know to make your car headlights brighter, use the following:
- Purchase car bulbs with a greater downward visibility
- Use bulbs with a whiter light than usual
How to aim your cars headlights correctly:
Poor headlights alignment could certainly be something that causes your car to fail its annual MOT test. Your best bet would be to make sure that you have checked all of the basics before taking it into a garage.
To shine your lights correctly, you need to ensure that you’re not going to affecting the oncoming drivers vision. If oncoming traffic has to reduce their speed or change direction as a result of your lighting – something needs to change.
Your cars headlights should be aimed down the road with an even field of vision. They should not be pointing directly ahead as this can affect everything that we have just mentioned.
As well as the oncoming traffic, the poorly aligned bulbs could have an effect on your visibility too, causing parts of the road to become invisible and start to produce a serious hazard on a regular basis.
The easiest way to adjust your cars headlights is to use the built in control panel. Most cars these days will include an automated system that allows you to adjust the alignment of your lights. However, some cars may need to be adjusted manually.
Again, for more information on adjusting your cars lighting settings, make sure that you read through the vehicle maintenance handbook as this will show you exactly what you need to do for each vehicle.