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How Often Should You Replace Your Headlights?

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You probably don’t think about your headlights until you suddenly, urgently need them. When they work, they’re rarely a priority for motorists. Once they fail, they can put you in danger.

That’s why regular headlight maintenance is critical. Ignored, they dim over time and will eventually stop working altogether. But how often do you actually need to replace your headlights?

There are a lot of indications that you need to replace them. We’ll cover those in this article.

5 Warning Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Headlights

It’s important to know when you need to change your headlights. Here are the warning signs to look out for:

1.   Your headlights are dimmer than they used to be.

Dim headlights on a car

An obvious explanation for dim headlights is an accumulation of dirt and grim on the lenses. You can try to clean the headlights with professional cleaning products or with professional help. Failing that, it may be time to replace your headlights.

2.   You’ve noticed cracks or chips in the lenses.

A car headlight with a cracked lens

It may not seem like much, but even a small chip can expand over time, compromising your headlights. It’s important to replace your headlights as soon as you see visible cracks or chips on your lenses.

3.   The sealant around the lens is peeling or cracked.

The headlight of a green Mini Cooper

Your lens’s sealant is a vital, if often ignored, part of road safety. It keeps moisture away from the lenses that could otherwise fog up or crack your lenses. Once you notice peeling in the lens sealant, it’s time to think about repair or replacement.

4.   The headlight housing is starting to rust.

Rust buildup around a headlight

The headlight is encased in a metal housing that provides it with structure. Rust weakens this housing and can make your headlights more likely to break in an accident. Headlight housing rust is another indication that you should think about replacing your headlights.

5.   The positioning of the headlight is not correct.

A mechanic attaching a new headlight to a car

Headlights can be jolted out of position if you get into an accident or hit a pothole. A dislodged headlight may offer you less visibility. Pay attention to its positioning, and get this fixed or replaced.

How Often Should You Replace Your Headlights?

The answer may surprise you. Experts say you should replace your headlights every two years.

A happy mechanic holding a new headlight

This may seem frequent, but that could be because you’re underestimating the importance of proper headlight maintenance.

As we’ll explore below, the exact time you should wait to replace your headlights depends on your vehicle and the conditions in which you drive.

How Long Should Headlights Last?

Headlights can last anywhere from 500 to 5000 hours, but eventually, they need to be replaced. How often you need to replace your headlights will depend on how much you use them and the type of bulbs.

If you drive more at night or in bad weather, you’ll need to replace headlights more often than someone who only drives during the day.

The bulb type can also affect how often you need to replace your headlight. Halogen bulbs, for example, usually last about 1,000 hours, while LED headlight bulbs can last up to 5,000 hours.

No matter what bulb you have, it is important to regularly check your headlights and ensure they are still working correctly. You should also clean your headlights regularly to prevent them from getting too dirty and obscuring your vision.

Should You Replace All Headlights at the Same Time?

If one headlight burns out, you may be tempted to replace the faulty bulb. However, it’s best to replace both headlights at the same time. There are a few reasons for this:

A hand holding a headlight lamp

First, if one of your headlights is already damaged or not working well, the other headlight isn’t far behind. Replacing both bulbs ensures you have matching headlights providing the best possible light for driving.

Second, replacing both bulbs at the same time ensures that you won’t have to do the job again any time soon. Headlight bulbs tend to burn out around the same time, so replacing them in pairs will save you, in the long run, money and time.

Finally, replacing both headlights will give your car a fresh look. New headlights can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your vehicle, and it’s always nice to keep things looking new and shiny.

Should You Replace Headlights Before They Burn Out?

It’s best to replace your headlights before they burn out. This way, you can avoid being in the dark and potentially getting into an accident. Plus, new headlights can give your car a fresh look.

A close-up of a headlight lamp

If you’re unsure when to replace your headlights, consult your car’s owner manual or ask a mechanic. They’ll be able to tell you how often you should replace them based on your specific vehicle.

Should I Put LED Headlights in My Car?

If you’re considering LED headlights for your car, there are a few things you should know:

A hand holding an LED lamp

LED bulbs are more expensive than traditional halogen bulbs, but they also last a lot longer, so you may end up saving money in the long term. They’re also brighter than traditional bulbs, offering you more visibility.

It’s not all good news, LED bulbs can be more challenging to properly install and you may need to pay a professional to do it for you.

So, what’s the bottom line? If you’re looking for better light output and a longer life span, LED headlights are a great option. Just be sure to factor in the higher upfront cost when making your decision.

What Factors Determine How Often You Need To Replace Headlights?

A few factors tend to affect how often you need to replace your headlights. You may need to replace them more or less frequently depending on:

  • how often do you use your car
  • the conditions you drive in
  • the type of headlight bulbs you have

If you find replacing your headlight bulbs more often than you’d like, it might be best to invest in a higher-quality headlight bulb. Headlight bulbs can range in price, and while the more expensive option seems like a pain at first, it could save you money in the long run if it means you don’t have to replace them as often.

Last Words

How often you need to replace your headlights varies from vehicle to vehicle. Regardless of this frequency, you must replace them once they start to dim. Driving with dim headlights is dangerous. Always make sure you change them as soon as they start fading.

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