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Poor Visibility Could be Caused by Headlights

With the change of seasons, many of us are spending a lot more time driving while it’s dark outside. Some of you may have noticed that your vehicle’s headlights are not lighting the road ahead as well as they should. There are several reasons why this could be happening.

One reason may be as simple as a burnt out bulb. Make it a point to regularly check headlights, turn signals, brake lights, back up lights, side marker and license plate lights. Most bulbs are available at your local auto parts store and are easy to change. Others may need to be purchased through an independent repair shop or dealer.

Another reason for poor visibility is a misaligned headlight. As you’re driving, you may notice that one or both headlights are lighting up the ditch or the tops of trees. A trip to your local repair shop will remedy this situation.

The final reason is the condition of the headlight lens. During the last twenty years, headlight lenses have been made with a plastic material called polycarbonate instead of glass. This material is lighter and easier to mold into the aerodynamic shapes needed to fit today’s vehicles. The problem is that polycarbonate is slightly porous. The pores in the plastic open because of the heat of the turned on headlight or from sunshine. The pores close when the headlights are off or the sky is overcast. When the pores are open, dirt and road debris is trapped inside. This causes the headlights to become discolored. In addition, heat and ultraviolet rays oxidizes the surface of the lens. As a result, less light gets through. One solution to this is to replace the headlight lens. This however, can be expensive. Another, less expensive answer, is to purchase a headlight restoration kit. As with anything, some products are better than others. These products work by polishing away the old oxidized and discolored layer. The renewed clarity of the lens will allow more light to get through.

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