Your car’s headlights are one of those parts that you don’t put much thought into until they start fading fast or are gone. When the road in front of you becomes unclear and your visibility is limited, you’ll be putting everyone including yourself at risk, meaning it’s in your best interest to get a replacement as soon as possible. Not only are you putting everyone at risk, but you’re also making yourself liable to a costly fine from local authorities. Besides, getting aftermarket car lights won’t break your bank, and you’ll find many different types, including LED and Xenon bulbs which will provide you with far more illumination than the incandescent or halogen lights you have right now.
So how do you know when it’s time to replace your stock lights with aftermarket car lights? Generally, if one bulb’s fading or gone, the other is likely to follow suit relatively quickly. Most modern vehicles feature a single bulb for both low and high beams. Older vehicles, on the other hand, have two separate bulbs on both sides, so you should look to replace all bulbs at the same time in order to get a consistent field of vision. When picking bulbs, consult your owner’s manual to find the ones you need for your vehicle.
Vehicles come with a specific type of headlight. Some of the most common types include LED, Xenon and Halogen. Most vehicles have halogen headlights, which utilise a tungsten-halogen filament that’s mixed with halogen gas to generate a bright light than conventional incandescent lights. LED lights are one of the most popular aftermarket solution, as they require less power to operate, last much longer than other types of lights, and run cooler. The only downside to LED is that they’re typically more expensive than most. And lastly, xenon bulbs are quite similar to halogen, but instead of using a heated filament, they use gas. They’re very bright, have a low operating temperature and last long just like LED lights, but they’re the costliest option and require professional installation.
As aforementioned, if you aren’t sure what type of headlights your vehicle uses, you can refer to your owner’s manual. As briefly aforementioned, most vehicles used to come with halogen light bulbs, but more and more manufacturers are turning to LED and Xenon for improved visibility. When selecting aftermarket car lights, the three main factors to consider are brightness, colour temperature and of course, price. Xenon and LED lights come in a wide range of brightness levels and colour temperature, so you can pick lights that match your specific needs.
There are two basic types of configurations for headlights: capsules and sealed beams. Sealed beams are commonly found on older cars, and they’re mounted directly to the car’s front. They’re rarely used today except on some SUVs and large trucks. Capsules, on the other hand, are mostly found on newer cars, and they plug into the car’s headlight socket assembly. Capsules are very simple to replace, and most handy people can do it by themselves. Basically, if you can change a light bulb in your house, you can change the bulbs in your headlights.
The first thing you need to do is remove the protective shield from the back of the lights’ assembly, turn and loosen the plastic harness which contains the bulb. Next, slide the plastic harness and the bulb from the assembly’s back. Remove the clip which holds the bulb in the assembly, and remove the headlight from the harness very carefully. Put on a p pair of cotton gloves to and insert the new bulb into the harness. Once you’ve placed the new bulb into the harness, reinstall the clip that secures it, push the harness into the rear of the headlight and twist it into place.
If the headlights are sealed-beam, however, the process goes slightly different. You’ll need to first remove the frames, plates and/or mounting screws which hold the headlight in place without removing the aiming screws which enable headlight adjustments. Then you’ll have to remove the headlight and the wiring socket from the back of the assembly by pulling the socket off. Once that’s done, you’ll need to plug the wiring into the new sealed beam headlight assembly and place it into the mounting bracket before securing it with screws that you previously removed.
If your headlight’s lenses are dirty or cloudy, even the most expensive and brightest-shining headlight bulbs won’t make a difference. This is when you’ll have to remove the grime and film that accumulates naturally over time from your lenses. You can do that by using a headlight restoration kit to accomplish that, and it doesn’t take more than an hour to do. Taking care of your headlights is an easy and affordable way to make sure you have a safer driving experience, and that you protect yourself from paying costly fines if you get stopped by law enforcement.