See and be seen

Weekend Herald - - MOTORSPORT -

Jif and whiten­ing tooth­paste. Though these all work to some ex­tent, there are now au­to­mo­tive sup­pli­ers who stock prod­ucts specif­i­cally de­signed for the job — Head­light Doc­tor by CRC is ef­fec­tive and rea­son­ably priced.

If your ve­hi­cle head­lights aren’t bright enough, you may want to con­sider up­grad­ing them, But, be warned; it’s not as sim­ple as re­plac­ing the old bulbs with higher wattage or LED bulbs. It re­quires a bit of home­work.

Bulb up­grades must be with the same wattage but you can get some that are de­signed to give an in­creased per­cent­age of light ( plus 120 per cent) and brighter colour ( cool blue, arc­tic white). If you make the mis­take of up­grad­ing your light bulbs for higher wattage out­put, you risk the head­light lens, the bulb holder and the wiring melt­ing and po­ten­tially catch­ing alight. The chrome re­flec­tive ma­te­rial can also be dam­aged by the fit­ment of higher wattage bulbs be­cause of the ex­ces­sive heat.

Af­ter­mar­ket HID ( high in­ten­sity dis­charge) kits are avail­able to fit into fac­tory head­light units, but it’s im­por­tant to note that these are Pic­ture / Sup­plied su­per bright, high- volt­age light­ing sys­tems that should be in­stalled only into ve­hi­cles that were orig­i­nally equipped with this sys­tem or ve­hi­cles de­signed for off- road pur­poses. It’s il­le­gal to retro­fit an af­ter­mar­ket HID kit to a ve­hi­cle that didn’t have it in the first place.

The ma­jor­ity of new ve­hi­cles are now equipped with LED front, rear and day­time run­ning lamps and some main head­light beams also in­cor­po­rate LED tech­nol­ogy com­bi­na­tions. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are switch­ing to LEDs for their lamps be­cause of their bright light out­put, longevity and low power con­sump­tion. But there is an im­por­tant fac­tor to con­sider be­fore bling­ing out your car ( just like af­ter­mar­ket HIDs) — these types of lights are un­likely to meet the ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers’ stan­dards and could fail a WoF.

We are now start­ing to see the next best thing in au­to­mo­tive light­ing — laserlight. Laserlight head­lights have a beam dis­tance two times longer than that of con­ven­tional sys­tems. This sys­tem can be used only for high- beam ap­pli­ca­tions and is avail­able as an up­grade op­tion on a few lux­ury ve­hi­cles in our mar­ket.

If you’re pack­ing up your car for a long week­end with all the fam­ily, you may also need to ad­just your head­lights to avoid blind­ing other driv­ers. Some ve­hi­cles have au­to­matic ad­just­ing head­lights so when you load the ve­hi­cle up, the beam height should ad­just it­self. For those with a ve­hi­cle that has a man­ual ad­justable sys­tem, there’s often a small thumb scroll switch num­bered 0- 4; zero be­ing the high­est set­ting for your lights. You can then lower the head­light height from the “stan­dard” po­si­tion, but don’t for­get to switch it back af­ter un­load­ing. This is still ef­fec­tive only if your head­lights are aimed cor­rectly to start with, and is a re­quired check as a part of ev­ery war­rant of fit­ness.

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