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Lighting and Safe Visibility

With the number of people in the world driving today, your lights are critical to the safety and visibility you need while driving. You need to see everything ahead of you clearly and accurately to react as quickly as possible and to avoid potentially dangerous encounters.

Making sure you have the right technology and the highest quality is the only way to assure that you’re getting the best option when it comes to seeing safely while driving. Review the maintenance topics below to assure your vehicle is equipped with the lighting necessary for the best safety.

How often should I check my headlamps?

Headlamps can go out anytime, for any reason. Burnt out, debris and rocks, minor fender benders, along with ice and snow, can shatter or crack a headlamp lens leaving it useless. Sometimes it’s not easy to notice a burnt out headlamp from behind the wheel. Checking them regularly during gas station stops is an effective method for inspecting headlamps.

How do I know what to replace?

Today’s vehicles are built with either a sealed beam headlamp or a replacement capsule system.

Sealed Beam: The sealed beam is a glass housing mounted to a metal frame. The bulb is permanently mounted inside. When this type of headlamp burns out, you need to replace the entire unit.

Capsule: The capsule is becoming more and more popular in newer vehicles. This is simply a removable bulb and base housing that is installed into a glass or plastic lens housing which is permanently attached to the vehicle.

How many headlights do I have?

Vehicles are manufactured with two different types of systems:

Four Headlamp System: This system uses different bulbs for the high beam setting than it does for the low beam setting. You will see four different sealed beam housings or four different capsules in your front headlight area.

Two Headlamp System: This system uses the same bulb for both the high and low beam settings. There will be one sealed beam or capsule on either side of the forward lighting area.

Do I replace both lamps at the same time?

Yes, always replace in pairs! Whether its both low beam or high beam headlamps or the dual beam lights, replace each like system in pairs. Like many other parts on your car where there is more than one (tires, brakes, etc.), changing all like parts at the same time is critical to managing maintenance schedules.

Can I install the sealed beams and capsules myself?

Of course! Many do-it-yourselfers do! Simply visit your favorite local auto parts store, purchase the correct pair of sealed beams or capsules and follow the easy-to-install instructions on the package. You should also refer to your vehicle maintenance manual for assistance.

Are all headlamps the same?

No, absolutely not. There are some big differences in the headlights available today.

Xenon gas - It is the brightest, whitest light on the road.

Halogen - A longer life bulb, keeping you from having to change bulbs as frequently.

Courtesy of the Car Care Council.