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Car Light Replacement
Prior to 1912, electrical systems were absent from most vehicles. This meant that the earliest examples of vehicle headlights were flames powered by acetylene gas. Today, your vehicles lights are a crucial component for safety, illuminating the road after the sun has gone down. Modern vehicles feature many different lights for different applications. Eventually these lights can burn out or become damaged through driving. To start, lets look at the types of lights found on your vehicle:
The most common type of vehicle light is the headlight. The headlight is the forward facing light on a vehicle, offering a bright light that is designed to illuminate the road ahead. Modern vehicle headlights can be powered by halogen, LED, Xenon, or lasers.
Halogen bulbs offer a low cost, traditional type of yellow to white light. While not as bright as the other options, they present the lowest cost and are often simple to replace.
LED bulbs are slightly more expensive than halogen bulbs, but offer a brighter, white light. The advantages of LED bulbs include their instant power on (said to increase reaction time in drivers by 30% when used as brake lights), the lack of heat generated by the bulb itself, and an incredibly long life cycle compared to other bulbs.
Xenon, or HID (high intensity discharge) bulbs are beneficial in that the provide one of the brightest lights available for drivers. Unfortunately this means that other drivers find the light given off to be glaring and distracting, something that has forced lawmakers in Australia to regulate their use. Xenon bulbs don’t last as long as other bulbs, but are the brightest.
Laser lights are a new option to drivers. The recent BMW i8 was one of the first vehicles to use this technology. While many people think this means lasers are being pointed at the road, the actual process is different. Within the headlight assembly, a laser is targeted at phosphorus gas. When the laser hits the gas, it excites it, creating a bright white glow that shines on the road. The compact size, energy efficiency, and nearly double the illuminated distance of other systems are making laser headlights a popular choice.
Fog lights are designed to create extra light on the road when driving during adverse conditions. A fog light aims a concentrated beam of light at a lower angle directly in front of the vehicle. Their low angle means a reduction in glare from falling snow, rain, or fog, making driving in these conditions safer.
In some jurisdictions, it is prohibited to drive with fog lights on in clear weather conditions.
Signal lights are used exactly as you’d expect, to signal to other drivers that you wish to turn in a certain direction. Hazard lights often active both signal lights simultaneously. Signal lights are normally made of basic bulbs and are a yellow or orange in color, with some vehicle models opting to place them on the side mirrors as well as the front and rear. In a return to traditional design, the Ford Mustang features signal lights built into the hood.
While not technically a light, vehicle reflectors help increase your visibility on the road in the same way lights do. Composed of simple plastic, reflectors shine light generated by other vehicles back at drivers, alerting them of your presence.
When Is It Time For Service?
Judging the need for a car light replacement is a fairly simple process. If the light is burnt out, it’s time for a replacement. Modern vehicles can often have complicated headlight assemblies, so you can save time and effort by having one of Gary’s mechanics quickly change your bulbs or assemblies.
A little known fat about signal lights is that if you notice a turn signal is blinking twice as fast as normal, it means the other side is burnt out and needs replacement.
Get to Gary’s Automotive for expert car light replacement!
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