It’s True - Most U.S. Vehicles Have Truly Awful Headlights

April 23, 2019

Clean your headlights and tail lights regularly and replace burnt out bulbs to keep yourself and other drivers safe on the roads.Headlights and tail lights have one job - to provide illumination.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the best), what would you rate as the effectiveness of your vehicle’s headlights?

Unfortunately, even if you think your vehicle’s light are doing a great job - they’re probably not. Not according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), at least.

According to the IIHS, most headlights on U.S. vehicles are lousy at doing their one job. 

  • In 2016, 31 mid-size 2016 model year cars with more than 80 headlights systems were evaluated: only one system received a good rating from the IIHS.
  • In May 2018, only 8 percent of headlights systems on 2018 model year vehicles received a good rating.

Chances are that the headlights on your car or truck don’t pass muster according to the IIHS.

Even worse? The older your vehicle, the greater the likelihood that the bulbs and lenses have deteriorated and are providing reduced visibility.

How to clean your headlights like a boss

Does the plastic coating on your headlights look yellowed or cloudy? According to AAA, headlights that have a clouded or yellowed plastic coating may only give off 20 percent of the light they emitted when new.

How safe do you feel driving at night with headlights that could be 80% less effective than when new?

Aside from changing out the entire lighting system on your vehicle, the best way to improve the amount of light coming from your headlights is by basic maintenance and restoration.

Steps to keeping your headlights bright:

  • Regularly clean your lenses with household ammonia-free glass cleaner to remove road dirt, sand, and salt. Make sure it's "ammonia-free" because ammonia will actually cause your headlights to turn yellow!
  • Check your headlights and tail lights periodically for yellowing or cloudiness that can diminish the brightness of the bulbs.
  • Decide between DIY headlight restoration and professional restoration.
  • Choose your products with care, and watch instructional videos if available.
    • Be careful with lense restoration kits. Restoration kits are often abrasive and can easily damage lenses that don’t need severe restoration.
  • Replace your bulbs. If the lenses are clear but the light appears dim, you may need new bulbs. All bulbs need replacing from time to time.

Need to replace your headlights or tail lights?

If restoration is no longer on the table, make sure to do your car right and purchase OEM headlight and tail light assemblies.

Find the perfect fit headlight and/or tail light assembly AND save up 40% off MSRP!