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Are cloudy headlight covers putting you at risk?

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Are you dreaming of a new car with the latest technology and safety features? While having Apple Car Play and ventilated seats is certainly nice, nothing beats the comfort of knowing that your car has all the best safety features: lane departure awareness, blind spot detection, airbag technology, automatic braking, etc.

While these technology-based safety features are great, one of the most important safety features is much more old-school and cost-effective: new headlight covers.

How old are your headlight covers?

By the time your car is just a couple of years old, your headlights could already be so clouded or yellowed that they are virtually ineffective. According to a study by AAA, as the plastic coating on headlights ages, the output of light is reduced by as much as 80 percent. Certain factors, they say, speed up the deterioration of the plastic.

Factors leading to headlight deterioration

  • UV light: Over a relatively short period of time, UV light breaks down the clear top coat covering your headlights, opening the door for oxidation, which clouds and yellows the plastic.
  • Road debris: As pebbles and other debris hits your headlight covers, the clear top coat is damaged, obscuring the transparency.
  • Broken seal: UV light, debris, age and normal wear and tear often leads to broken headlight seals. When this happens, water is trapped behind the plastic cover creating cloudiness from the trapped water.
  • Residue: Tar, dirt and other chemicals create layers of film over your headlights that is very hard to remove.

A new car's headlights provide up to 350 feet of reaction time. However, damaged or cloudy headlights may function at only 20 percent, reducing reaction time to about 60 feet.

Increasing your car's safety is relatively cheap: replace the headlight covers or purchase a restoration kit. Not only will you see better, you will be seen better. All good things to help you avoid accidents.

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