Fall is almost here and its arrival means fewer hours of daylight. Fewer hours of daylight means your headlights become even more important. Yet, proper headlight maintenance is an area that is often overlooked. Headlights play a critical role in safe driving, so it's never a bad time to make sure yours are in working order.

Proper Car Headlight Maintenance: Best Practices

Proper headlight maintenance can maximize visibility and ensure a safer ride. If the road ahead is well lit and the driver has a clear view, it should lead to more reaction time, which can help motorists avoid people, obstacles, and potential hazards.

Headlights are normal wear items that require regular inspection and replacement. The Car Care Council has four best practices when it comes to proper headlight maintenance:

  • Understand you have choices
    First, consumers should understand that there are a variety of headlight choices available. Some options offer brighter down road visibility. Others boast whiter lighting which can help improve contrast. Different options will have various performance levels, so do some research to find which type best suits your needs.
  • Replace before burnout
    If a driver is traveling at night with one headlight out, they are essentially seeing 50% of what they should be. Reduced visibility poses too much of a risk for both the driver and others on the road. If you notice one or both of your headlights are dim or out, it's time for replacement as soon as possible.car headlight maintenance
  • Always replace in pairs
    Headlights naturally dim over their lifetime. If you replace one but not the other, it can create uneven visibility. This can be a major distraction on the road for both you and oncoming traffic. Replace yours in sets of two to avoid this problem.
  • You can replace them yourself
    Looking to save some money? Changing a headlight bulb is usually a simple process that can be done without professional help. In fact, the task can usually be completed in a matter of minutes. You can consult your owner's manual or various online resources for instructions.

Proper Headlight Maintenance: Cleaning and Aiming Tips

Headlights in proper working order can help improve visibility. If you know your lamps don't need to be replaced, you could still stand to increase visibility. Proactive headlight maintenance also entails cleaning and proper aiming.

  • Cleaning your headlight lenses
    On top of exterior dirt and grime, headlight lenses cloud over time due to exposure to the sun. Together, these factors can make them less effective. Never fear, cleaning them is relatively easy, inexpensive and worthwhile. Here's a run down on how to do it: (1) wipe them off with soap and water or glass cleaner and dry the area; (2) tape around the headlights and sand the lenses thoroughly; (3) polish them and apply a UV sealant. You can buy headlight restoration kits with the needed tools and supplies relatively cheaply. If you've never cleaned your headlights before, you'd be surprised at the wonders a good cleaning can do.
  • Make sure your headlights are properly aimed
    Few car owners ever do this, but the vertical aim of headlights can be adjusted on most vehicles. Headlight aim can change over time, and misaimed ones can reduce your ability to see the road. Change in aim comes naturally over time, usually as a result of a difference in ride height, vehicle load, tire size, worn shocks and even minor fender benders. You can either consult some resources online on how to perform this task yourself or take it in for service. Note that some manufacturers advise consumers not to change headlight aim, so make sure to consult your owner's manual as well.

Auto Financing First

Proper headlight maintenance and upkeep is essential to driving safely. Hopefully these tips and best practices will help ensure you have maximum visibility when needed on the road.

But if getting approved for an auto loan is your top priority, then Drivers Lane can help. We help consumers with less than perfect credit find the auto financing that works for them. Our dealership connections even have programs for little or no money down. You can be next if you simply complete our secure and easy online application. Start today!