How To Make Headlight Brighter

In this article, we’re going to show you how to make your headlights brighter.

How long has it been since you paid any attention to your car’s headlights? Amazing how that is the one piece of equipment on our automobiles we tend to ignore, isn’t it?!

For a long time, I ignored mine until they weren’t capable of throwing more than a brackish pool of yellow light right in front of the vehicle. The road ahead was never anything more than guesswork!

It turns out there is much you can do with your headlights to make sure they continue to work as they should. All of these steps are simple DIY tasks, none of them take more than 30 minutes, and without exception, they will make your car safer for you and your family.

Coming up is a list of elementary tasks and step-by-step instructions to make your headlights brighter.

Why You Might Want To Make Your Headlights Brighter

Low-level headlights are dangerous. And they make driving at night or in adverse weather a stressful task. In a nutshell, those are the reasons you would want to take care of dim headlights as soon as possible.

In certain areas (it’s like that where I live) potholes are an issue. I have ruined tires at night simply because my headlights didn’t pick up the hazards on the road. Because I live in a rural area, I also have to contend with pedestrians and bicycles in low-light conditions. Again, hazards that are easy to miss if headlights aren’t up to par.

If you’ve been noticing either dim headlights, or even if they seem to fluctuate, it’s worth doing a closer inspection.

How To Make Your Headlights Brighter

Practically, there are three ways to make your headlights brighter, and you can do all three of them yourself, without any technical knowledge.

The first is to clean your headlights – and believe it or not, this is the most common cause of dim headlights!

Headlight lenses are made of polycarbonate plastic, and although this material is scratch resistant, it oxidizes. That oxidation is what causes the yellow discoloration, and the dim glow.

It could also be the bulb that isn’t happy anymore. There are three types of bulbs in the headlights of modern cars. By far the most common are halogen bulbs. These are cheap – they’ll set you back between $10 and $20, and installing them is a simple task. Your car’s owner’s manual should have a section on how to do this.

The second type of bulb is Xenon – this is the kind found in most upmarket cars. They are more expensive than the halogen bulbs and are also substantially brighter.

The third type of bulb is LEDs. These are fantastic, they last long, and they’re bright without blinding oncoming traffic. But they’re the most expensive.

So, if cleaning your headlights doesn’t make them brighter, replacing the bulbs may.

Federal laws and regulations place limits on the brightness of headlights. Bulb manufacturers are policed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so the products you buy from the shelves of automotive spares stores will probably fall within those regulations if you use them according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

And we strongly recommend staying within the manufacturer’s specifications at all times. This is not only to keep you within the confines of the law but also for road safety in general.

Problems With Making Headlights Brighter

By far the most common issue with making headlights brighter is the glare it causes for oncoming motorists. That said, there have been tremendous advances in automotive lighting that have largely addressed these problems.

Most pronouncedly, the advent of LED technology in automotive headlights now provides a terrific balance between exceptional illumination and a very low irritation factor.

A parting shot

The two factors that always make a difference to the brightness of your car’s headlights are the condition of the light bulbs and the cleanliness of the lenses. Once you get those checked out and put a simple maintenance routine in place to ensure they always stay right, you should have no problems with your headlights.

And both replacing the bulbs and keeping the lenses clean and free from oxidation, are simple DIY tasks you can perform in under thirty minutes.

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Richard Nickleson is the author and owner behind Headlight Reviews. He first started the site as a hobby to share his insights on car parts and specifically headlight bulbs, but it soon ballooned and now he writes on all topics surrounding headlights bulbs. If you've got a bulb question, contact Richard here.