One of your headlights might be losing visibility due to numerous reasons. After using your headlights for an extended period, plastic coatings can form on the lights resulting in a clouded light which reduces visibility by 70%.
Thus it is intrinsic to occasionally inspect your headlights if you note one or both are dimmer. Remember, driving at night with dimmer headlights is quite a risk. What are the major reasons that can cause one of your car’s headlights to be dimmer than the other?
So why may one of your headlights be dimmer than the other? Your headlights may be dimmer than the others due to them fogging (or clouding up) up primarily, however it could also be due to damage, malfunction, or just a simple bulb being improperly installed.
1. Foggy or Cloudy Lens
The headlights have a clear coat lens which allows maximum light passage. Over time the lens can oxidize as they are in direct contact with air and turn cloudy, which will deteriorate the lighting function of your headlights. A foggy lens will reduce light output by an average of 70%.
When you note that one of your headlights is dimmer, you can remove the lens, clean the oxidized coating with something like this right here, and apply a new coating. If the problem has deteriorated in a great manner, the best solution is to replace the headlights.
It is important to note that some headlight models are more susceptible to oxidation than others. Also, it can depend on the angle, size, and materials used to craft the headlight. If you leave your car in a garage for a prolonged period or leave it parked in the outdoor environment, your headlights will be affected. The damage can vary from a haze that causes dimmer light or complete opaqueness that will entirely block all light.
2. Old or Damaged Headlights
Depending on the type of your headlights and how you use your vehicle, the headlights will show major signs of deterioration after three to five years of use. The most affected part is the bulb which is susceptible to frequent filament vaporization, which will leave a metallic deposit on the capsule of the headlight.
The metallic deposits block out light and will dramatically lead to a dimmer headlight. Ensure you remove the headlights and check for any metallic deposits; in mild cases, you can clean the deposits and replace the entire headlight in severe cases.
3. Malfunctioned Ground Connection
Another major cause of a dimmer headlight is the poor ground connection to the headlight. If the connection is impaired, the headlight will not receive enough power, thus producing reduced light output. Check the ground connection of your headlight or hire an expert to detect the problem.
4. Bulb Improperly Installed
Another major problem can be that one of your headlights is improperly installed.
It can be due to the bulb is not fitted properly in the headlight socket; thus, the headlight is not accurately projecting light. If such a malfunction occurs, the headlight will look dimmer than the other one.
After an accident, your headlight can be misaligned due to the compaction force.
This results in a misaligned headlight assembly which causes the beam of the light to point much lower.
If one of your headlights is affected, it will appear dimmer than the other one.
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5. Headlight Connector is Impaired
The manufacturer of the vehicle may have installed a poorly functioning headlight connector. In such a scenario, a reduced wire gauge is installed that connects to the headlight connector.
The impaired wiring system can cause the melting of the plastic connector. In such a case, there will be poor conductivity of power in the headlights, thus resulting in one of the headlights being dimmer.
How to Keep your Headlights Bright
- Examine your headlights regularly to avoid any oxidation or clogging of the lens
- If your lens is clear but the headlight is still dimmer, you might require a new headlight installation. You can get a new set here, as I have done that myself with my truck!
- Ensure you clean your lens regularly using a good household glass cleaner. Cleaning will ensure your lens are clear and will make your headlights produce bright light.
Properly functioning and bright headlights are quite handy in any vehicle; they guarantee the safety of your car, especially at night. When purchasing new headlights for your car, ensure fancy options do not sway you; functionality and brightness of the headlights should be your number one priority.
Also, ensure proper alignment in a vertical position to properly illuminate the road and minimize glare to other incoming drivers.