A close up of a 2020 Ford Edge's headlight is shown.

Proper Lighting For Winter Driving Safety

Posted on by Gregory Wiesen
Categories: Lamps and Bulbs

When it comes to safe winter driving, two of the most important factors are traction and visibility. You will want to make sure and check your tires, replacing them when necessary while making sure you’re using the right tire type for the weather conditions and vehicle you drive. The second is visibility. This goes both for you and for other drivers. You need to make sure you’re able to see the road around you. At the same time, you need to ensure other drivers can see you as well. White and gray cars driving with even minimal snow can be difficult to see at times. To help with your winter driving safety, here is what you need to know regarding lamps and bulbs on your vehicle.

Check Your Lights

The first step to make sure your vehicle’s lamps and bulbs are ready for winter driving is to have the lights checked out. If you’re driving a newer vehicle, it will likely tell you if a bulb has burned out or not. If any of the bulbs have burned out, make sure to replace them. Our maintenance staff here at Kings Ford Quick Lane can help you with this. If you’re looking at replacing the bulbs yourself, make sure to check with your owner’s manual for the correct bulb type.

Clean Your Headlights

Have you noticed the lenses of your headlights have turned a murky yellow instead of clear? Vehicles using LED lighting configurations tend to not have this kind of a problem. However, if you’re vehicle does not use LED lights, there is a very good chance this problem has crept up. If so, you need to do what you can to correct the problem. The situation occurs when oxidation takes place, plus the heat generated from the lights within the lenses can compound this problem.

A man is cleaning his headlight lenses.

You may assume you need to replace the headlamp covers, but this is not necessarily the case. You can purchase a headlight restoration kit at many automotive stores, which will help clean off the yellow fog and restore the clear look of your lights. While the yellow grime will eventually return, this should get you through the winter. Not addressing the yellow fog on the lights does reduce the intensity of your lights, which reduces your own visibility while making it difficult for other drivers to see you at the same time.

If the lens restoration kits fail to remove the fog (it might take a few applications of the cleaning solution), you will want to bring your vehicle in to be looked at by a mechanic. It’s possible it needs a heavier duty cleaning solution, or the cover might need to be replaced.

Replacing Covers Or Installing A New Seal

The oxidation occurs within your headlamp covers because oxygen is getting in. Realistically this should not happen. However, over time the seals between your bulbs and the headlamps may crack, allowing in both air and moisture (this is also why you might notice some condensation or small amounts of water within the headlamp cover). By replacing either the headlamp cover or the seal, you will help avoid this problem. Additionally, if the seal around the bulb is cracked, the bulb may have shifted positioning, which can cause the light to be directed downward or in an incorrect location, which will reduce visibility.

When you bring your vehicle in for servicing, our staff will be able to check your lights to see if you need a new seal or if the cover needs to be replaced. Loose headlamps are a common issue with drivers all around the country (especially in winter conditions where the roads are less than great, which causes additional vibrations and the headlight assemblies to break down).

How Often Should Cab Light Bulbs Last?

This depends specifically on not only the make of your vehicle but the kind of bulbs you use. If your vehicle uses LED lights, you shouldn’t need to replace these lights at all. However, if your vehicle is not using LEDs, you will need to change these lights eventually. If you’ve noticed any kind of dimming with the lights, or the road visibility isn’t as far as it once was, now is the time to change the bulbs. Also, you want to change the bulbs in pairs. If one is starting to fade, it means the other will not be far before it also dims. Think of replacing bulbs like replacing tires. You don’t just buy one tire. You replace them in pairs (or all four at a time).

If you have the older halogen lights, you can install new halogen lights. The newer bulbs will make a world of difference. However, you should consider upgrading to higher intensity HID/Xenon bulbs. These kinds of bulbs will cost more upfront, but the bulbs last longer and are brighter.

Changing Bulbs

A mechanic is changing the headlight bulb in his car, which you must do sometimes when checking over your car's lamps and bulbs, at a Cincinnati, OH, garage.

If it is time to change the bulbs, the best way to go is to bring it into our shop and let our service department handle it. Changing out bulbs on your vehicle is not as simple as screwing in a light bulb at home. First, there is likely some disassembly required to reach the bulb. The housing will need to be accessed, and the bulb removed from it. When installing a new bulb, you can’t touch the glass on the bulb. Oil (even the ones humans naturally produce) on the bulb may cause the lights to explode when turning on. Additionally, the bulbs need to be properly directed to make sure the light shines at an accurate angle. Otherwise, you might have a bright light pointing straight down at the ground.

If you have halogen bulbs and are considering an upgrade, you can move to an HID or even an LED lighting. However, you will need an adapter for this kind of upgrade. Regular halogen lights generate heat, and it is actually this heat that causes the bulbs to turn on and off. LED bulbs do not create heat, so this can lead to a performance issue (especially with turn signals). On a turn signal bulb, the heat generated by the bulb is cut on and off, which is what causes it to blink. Because an LED does not generate heat, it will not receive the same on/off heat generation, which means the bulb will not blink at all.

It is possible to upgrade to these improved lighting configurations, but before you start ordering light bulbs online, you’ll need to know if you require an adapter or not. It’s simply much easier to have this taken care of by our team of professionals. We can also help winterize your vehicle at the same time. This way, you’ll be fully ready to take on the road.

Ready Your Lights For Winter Driving

Visibility is extremely important when it comes to winter driving. The days are shorter, and the weather is not always all that great. Due to this, you need to make sure you can see the road around you, while also letting other drivers see you. To help prep your vehicle lighting for the upcoming winter months now is the time to bring your vehicle to Cincinnati, Ohio, into Kings Ford Quick Lane for complete servicing. From new bulbs and improving your car’s heat to upgrading tires and winterizing your vehicle, our service staff is here to take care of your vehicle and prepare it for any driving conditions. And you know just how bad the roads can get out in Ohio during the winter and how dark the nights get. Make sure you’re taken care of with the right vehicle lighting.