When is the last time you changed your headlights?
April is the perfect time to get your vehicle ready for spring and summer, when most road travel occurs. Not only does April mark the end of winter, but it's also National Car Care Month. While many focus on oil changes, brake pads and tire pressure checks, there's one safety element that's critical yet often overlooked – vehicle headlight maintenance.
Headlights are an active safety item and are the first line of defense on a vehicle; if drivers cannot see objects on the road, they cannot react. To prevent this, drivers must be proactive about headlight maintenance. Proper maintenance maximizes the amount drivers can see down road and side road, which can mean additional reaction time, helping you to avoid hazards that cause accidents.
To spread further awareness on automotive care, owners should follow four best practices when it comes to proper headlight maintenance, not just during National Car Care Month, but year-round:
- Understand the choices in headlight performance levels: When it comes to headlights performance, many consumers should know that there are a variety of choices available on the market to help suit their individual needs. For instance, there are options available that offer brighter down road visibility or whiter light which improves contrast and helps drivers distinguish objects on the side of the road better than basic headlights.
- Replace before burnout: All too often, vehicles with a burned out headlight can be found traveling on dark roads, posing a risk to both the driver and others on the road. With one headlight out, drivers are essentially seeing half as well as they potentially could. If a vehicle owner cannot remember the last time headlights were changed, it may be time for replacements.
- Always replace in pairs: It's very important to replace headlights in sets of two. Since headlights dim over their lifetime, a new bulb paired with an old bulb will create an uneven field of vision, which can be a major distraction on the road for both drivers and oncoming traffic.
- Do it yourself: Changing a vehicle's headlight bulb can be a simple process that doesn't require a mechanic or service professional. In fact, various online guides and resources exist to help consumers swap out headlight bulbs in a matter of minutes. Consult the vehicle's owner's manual for bulb/headlight replacement procedures, needed tools and safety precautions. Always wear safety glasses and work gloves, as well.
Asking a simple question such as, 'do you want to see better when driving at night,' can help motorists understand the importance of changing their headlights for an improved on road experience. Updating a vehicle's headlights can affect the lives of drivers and their overall experience on the road. Better headlights can help improve visibility and increasing chances of seeing objects sooner in the event of an accident or hazardous road conditions. This is a simple maintenance check that drivers of all ages should prioritize when it comes to overall road safety.
If you can't remember the last time you changed out your headlights, now is a good time to consider an upgrade. For more information to remain "car care aware," please read further tips on headlight maintenance here.
This article was published by CarCare.org on April 22, 2016
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