Dangerous Problems of Dim Headlights

This is an article I found on CSB3’s website at http://cbs3.com/topstories/Dim.Highlights.Tom.2.300657.html that discusses dim headlights.

by Ukee Washington

Is being on the road hard on the eyes? Hard to see what’s in front of you? CBS 3 Anchor Ukee Washington reports, maybe you’ve got a dangerous problem, dim headlights.

Before you even notice it, a clear headlight can become a foggy one.

“People are driving and you can only can see about ten-percent of the light capacity,” said Florida auto restorer Mike Patrick.

And the less you can see, the more likely you will have an accident.

It’s a potentially dangerous problem across the country — including in Philadelphia.

Mechanic Tom Flora showed us headlights at his repair shop in Center City. You can see how much more clear one looks than the other. And it doesn’t take much to cause the problem.

“This is a sealed unit,” said Flora. “Any time you get a crack in it that allows it to get moisture in it, the heat of the lens will cloud the lens over immediately.”

Another way it can fade — the sun. Most headlights today are plastic, not glass, and over years they can yellow. That’s what happened to Gene Borger’s 1988 Volvo. “I could barely see at night when I was driving,” said Borger.

And it can happen to any make and model.

The Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers told CBS 3, replacing a fogged headlight is “routine maintenance,” even if it costs $300 to $1000 a piece.

“I don’t anybody’s budget has $300 to put a headlight in today,” said Flora.

So are today’s headlights defective products? Florida attorney Ralph Patino is considering suing auto and headlight manufacturers. “In order to replace one of these headlights, it’s very, very expensive, and the manufacturers know it,” said Patino.

Florida auto restorer Patrick said, “I believe it’s getting worse because, I hate to say it, but I think a lot of the auto manufacturers are finding ways to cut costs to build their cars, keep more money in their pockets.”

His company markets a product to make a headlight brighter — far less than a replacement.

So how bright does your headlight have to be? It varies by state. Keep an eye on your headlights, so they can keep an eye out for you.

(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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