Headlight matters

Auto

Headlight matters

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor ---
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@
jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 21, 2020

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PROPER headlights may mean the difference between life and death, according the Road Safety Unit (RSU).

“We have a situation in Mountain Side, St Elizabeth, with a set of bikers that call themselves No Headlight Crew. We hope that they have realised the folly of their ways, because its a serious matter when you deliberately remove your headlight out of the motor vehicles. We have had a few head-on collisions that have transpired with that set of road users,” Kenute Hare, RSU director, told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine. “It does not look good.”

Up to yesterday, the islandwide road fatality figure stood at 258.

Michael Little, principal of the Mannings Hill Road-based Pure Liquid Mobile — headlight restorers — said in addition to obscuring your visibility, hazy headlights reduce the value of your vehicle.

“I regard foggy headlamps as cataract in the eyes; it lessens your visibility. When your lights are cloudy and foggy, it can reduce your visibility by up to 30 per cent. It is also unattractive and can decrease the value of your vehicle,” said Little. “We are fortunate that insurance companies don't include that as part of their policies, as there are some really bad ones out there.”

Headlights become discoloured for a number of reasons. They include:

Oxidation: Acrylic headlights oxidise when exposed to UV light. Headlight lenses come with a clear top coat to help prevent this, but eventually, the coating wears off, and sunlight turns the hard plastic yellow.

Flying debris: Your headlights take a beating from gravel, road salt, and other debris that gets kicked up as you cruise down the road. This wears down the top coat and creates pits and scratches on your headlights, adding to their cloudy appearance.

Dirt and chemicals: After several years on the road, a thin layer of dirt and chemicals form on the lenses. This opaque layer dims the beam coming from your headlights.

Water vapour: Headlights are manufactured with a watertight seal, but wear and tear can cause this seal to break. Condensation then forms inside the lens where you can't wipe it away. The water droplets scatter the beam of light, further impairing night-time visibility.

Little, who offers a mobile service and three-year warranty on restoration, recommends a knowledgeable professional to restore your headlights.

“There are people using WD-40, toothpaste, and acetone; these can damage the headlamps,” he said.

He offers some tips to protect your headlight:

Park your car in the shade: If possible, park in the garage or under a shady tree. If you don't have that option, face your headlights away from the sun when parking outside to reduce UV exposure and slow the oxidising process.

Wash your car: Every three months, wash the headlights with automotive soap to clean away dirt and chemicals that promote fogging.

Polish the headlights: Use a non-abrasive polishing medium and a micro-fibre cloth to polish your headlight lenses and remove early signs of yellowing.


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