car headlights

When Should You Need to Replace The Headlamps of Your Car

Replacing your Car’s Headlight Bulbs is Key to Safety

Exterior lighting has always been a critical aspect of vehicle design since the days of the horse and carriage. The need to light the path ahead and remain illuminated during night driving is one of the biggest safety issues in the industry. It is critical and in most cases a legal requirement, for motor vehicles to have proper and sufficient lighting on the road in order to both see and to be seen.

Car Headlight Replacement

Car headlamps are becoming increasingly integrated into the body design of the vehicle, and are thus designed to be semi-permanent fixtures. Typically, modern car lights assemblies allow for replacing your headlight bulbs relatively easily. This process is simple with most car halogen headlamps. However, sometimes a car owner may need to change the entire vehicle headlights unit. This could be to replace fading headlights or to replace a factory headlamp with aftermarket car headlights or car light covers. Headlight assemblies may also need to be replaced after a collision or other malfunction that cannot be fixed with a bulb replacement.

Headlight Bulb Technology

In general, the headlights of your car are engineered to be reliable and long-lasting. Halogen bulbs, which have been common to the industry for decades, will last 2 to 3 years of regular use with no need for replacement. Many vehicles now are utilizing high output LED lighting for headlights. This lighting technology is noted for drawing very little power and for being exceptionally long-lasting. LED headlights are able to last 5 years or longer in typical use. This ultra-efficient lighting technology has been made available to cars designed for halogen bulbs through replacement car LED bulbs. These bulbs fit in a standard headlight socket but utilize LED lights. LED bulbs for a car are often a good option for replacing car halogen headlights, as they last much longer and often provide a more crisp and white light.

How to take the headlight bulbs out

Replacement of car headlight bulbs, whether LED or halogen, can usually be performed by hand without tools or special equipment. Vehicle headlight assemblies are sealed units, so bulbs are typically inserted to the rear of the headlight assembly. As such, headlight bulb replacement occurs under the hood of the vehicle. Engine compartments of most modern vehicles are very crowded, and though the process is very simple, it may be difficult to manipulate parts in tight spaces. Many automakers adopt standard bulb sizing and socket types to make selection and replacement easier. Bulb replacement involves removal of the sealing cover or housing door first. Typically, this will expose the bulb and bulb socket. To remove the bulb, simply rotate one-quarter turn and pull straight out. Some vehicles have a sealing gasket through which the bulb must be squeezed through carefully. Reverse this process when Replacing your headlight bulbs.

How to take the headlight assembly out

When using standard halogen car lights, or LED headlights, there are a few key times when replacement is recommended or necessary. While halogen bulbs will require replacement every 2 to 3 years, headlight housings may eventually need replacement as well. The plastic used in typical headlight assemblies is formulated for clarity, durability, and impact resistance. However, the clear plastic is sensitive to UV exposure and heat degradation. Over time, clear plastic headlight lenses begin to oxidize, becoming foggy and yellow in color. This oxidation can reduce the effectiveness of headlights and turn signal lights by clouding the beams and altering the spread of lights shining through the oxidized lenses. This condition worsens over time if left untreated. There are various headlight restoration products available on the aftermarket. While some of these products are very effective at clearing fogged headlight lenses, most of these products are temporary at best. Oxidation in plastic of this type is a degradation of chemicals which cannot be reversed. Therefore, oxidation may be removed, but unless treated with a sealant of some type, will always return. Often, when oxidation is exhibited, the best option for correction is to simply replace the car standard headlamps.

While replacing headlight assemblies in many modern cars can be intimidating, it is often not as difficult as it seems. The process may be slightly different for various makes and models, but the prevailing methods involve a system of clips and brackets which secure the assemblies but are relatively easy to access for servicing. Clips and brackets for car headlights can be a little harder to find, so care must be taken when removing the headlight to retain them. Headlight assemblies are typically held in place with 1 to 3 screws from the top just underneath the hood with press fit clips or prongs holding the unit in from the sides. Some sports cars or cars with more complex front grille geometry may require the removal of bumper or grille pieces in order to access retaining screws, but this condition is much rarer. Replacement is the reverse of the process, with care taken to transfer screw clips, bulbs, and fittings into the new headlight prior to installation.

Maintaining the lighting system of your car standard headlights keeps you safe and secure and keeps your car looking it’s best.

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