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Headlight Modification For Old Car  
User currently offlineCba From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 4531 posts, RR: 3
Posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2584 times:

I've been having problems recently seeing while driving at night. At first I thought my vision is going out on me, but I've had it recently checked and still have perfect 20-20 vision and require no correction.

My car is fairly old... a 1993 Infiniti G20, although it has less than 100k mileage and still runs very well. I am beginning to believe that the problem is with the vehicle and not the eye sight. It's become almost impossible for me to see on a highway when it's raining at night, or even with no rain or not. The problem is exacerbated because it seems as all other cars on the road have the new xenon headlights which blind my rear and side mirrors and make it hard to see behind and in front of me.

I also think that more powerful headlights could improve the problem. Is there an option to install newer brighter xenon headlights on the car? What type of cost am I looking at? Also, is there any sort of tint that would help increase visibility and mitigate the effects of other cars' high powered lights?

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePhoenix9 From Canada, joined Aug 2007, 2546 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2568 times:

Is it just while driving or is it all the time at night? If its all the time, then you might have Vitamin A deficiency and you doctor can do some tests.

As for getting brighter headlights, you can buy higher intensity replacement bulbs which should be fairly cheap. Getting good quality Xenon bulbs would be more expensive (~$150, that is if you install them yourself). Another option would be do get night driving glasses...I've seen them advertised but haven't used them myself so I can't say if they work.



Life only makes sense when you look at it backwards.
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4491 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2566 times:



Quoting Cba (Thread starter):
I also think that more powerful headlights could improve the problem. Is there an option to install newer brighter xenon headlights on the car? What type of cost am I looking at? Also, is there any sort of tint that would help increase visibility and mitigate the effects of other cars' high powered lights?

Have you ever just replaced your headlight bulbs? Bulbs can lose brightness before they go out. Turn on your headlights, preferably with a newer vehicle beside you for comparison, and take a look. I've seen MANY an older car with dim headlights.

Replacing the traditional style with HIDs is probably more trouble and expense than it's really worth. You can get some pretty bright standard bulbs and spend no more than about $20.

Any "tint" is going to reduce your visibility even further.

Less likely, your headlights could be out of alignment (simple fix) or your voltage regulator could be bad (fairly unlikely).



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineMrChips From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 937 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2567 times:



Quoting Cba (Thread starter):

I also think that more powerful headlights could improve the problem. Is there an option to install newer brighter xenon headlights on the car? What type of cost am I looking at?

This is a really bad idea. Xenon HID headlights require a very different light fixture than the reflector or projector style halogen lights found in most vehicles. If you fit an HID kit to your existing headlight reflector, you won't see any increased illumination, and all you'll do is increase the glare off the road for yourself and other drivers.

Having said that, if your car did have an HID option, you can go to a scrapyard or on eBay and track down a set of igniters, bulbs and reflectors and install them in your car. Just whatever you do, do not fit HID bulbs into your existing reflectors.



Time...to un-pimp...ze auto!
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2541 times:

Also, if you're headlight assembly is faded, or crazed, that wont make much of a difference even if you were to put laser beams in them. Get the whole unit replaced if that's the case.

User currently offlineCadet57 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 9085 posts, RR: 30
Reply 5, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2519 times:

It sounds like you need new headlight bulbs. I recommend Sylvania Silverstar Ultra's. I just put some in my car and they are much better than my old bulbs. A word of warning, if you buy cheap xeons they look bad and frankly suck to look at as an oncoming driver. I hate xeon lights.


Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2518 times:

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 5):
A word of warning, if you buy cheap xeons they look bad and frankly suck to look at as an oncoming driver. I hate xeon lights.

I agree. The cheap ones you see all the rice rockets using aren't even real, they're just halogen bulbs with a blue tint on them.

Real Xenons however come with their own transformer. As they don't have a filament, they basically work by creating a constant spark. Hence why the hue of the light they produce is similar to what you find in an arc welder or plasma cutter.

[Edited 2009-11-27 15:39:02]

User currently offlineBill142 From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 8465 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2511 times:

Dont know about the US but installing a Xenon system without the proper self-leveling lenses and washer systems is illegal in Australia.

User currently offlineCadet57 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 9085 posts, RR: 30
Reply 8, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2501 times:



Quoting Bill142 (Reply 7):
Dont know about the US but installing a Xenon system without the proper self-leveling lenses and washer systems is illegal in Australia.

Few cars have self leveling lights, let alone washers.


Btw CBA, this is my car with those Silverstar Ultra's

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v612/Justin82287/lights1.jpg



Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
User currently offlineCba From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 4531 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2430 times:



Quoting Phoenix9 (Reply 1):
Is it just while driving or is it all the time at night? If its all the time, then you might have Vitamin A deficiency and you doctor can do some tests.

The visibility problems are almost always at night. During the day they only occur with heavy rain and fog. During normal conditions I have no problems seeing the road.

The main difficulty I have is seeing the road ahead of me or immediately around. The other night in moderate rain on a highway, for example, I had a very difficult time seeing the lane markers. The problem mostly goes away when my brights are on, but as I live in a city I don't use them out of courtesy (and safety) for other drivers on the road.

So the Xenon headlights wouldn't really help and they would be more trouble than they are worth. I am thinking of just replacing my current bulbs and fixtures. A windshield wiper replacement is also in order as the current blades don't clear but just leave a wet film.


User currently offlinePhoenix9 From Canada, joined Aug 2007, 2546 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2426 times:



Quoting Cba (Reply 9):

The visibility problems are almost always at night. During the day they only occur with heavy rain and fog. During normal conditions I have no problems seeing the road.

Even if someone has a 20/20 vision, vitamin A deficiency leads to a "weaker" vision under dark conditions. Does that happen even when you are not driving i.e. anytime you are in dark conditons?

I'm not saying that it is what you have, but you might wanna check with the doctor just in case...it doesn't harm.

Quoting Cba (Reply 9):
Xenon headlights wouldn't really help and they would be more trouble than they are worth.

 checkmark   checkmark 

Xenon headlight are nice and all but the cost + installation doesn't justify the improvement you get. My brother installed Xenon headlights on our Camry....but he did it just for looks and a full kit cost $350+.



Life only makes sense when you look at it backwards.
User currently offlineCadet57 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 9085 posts, RR: 30
Reply 11, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2419 times:



Quoting Cba (Reply 9):
I am thinking of just replacing my current bulbs and fixtures.

Unless the current lenses are fogged or damaged. You dont need new fixtures. Heck, even if they are fogged, you can buy a polish to take the fog out, it works well. I've done it to mine. It sounds like you just need new bulbs.

Quoting Cba (Reply 9):
A windshield wiper replacement is also in order as the current blades don't clear but just leave a wet film.

I recommend Bosch Icon wiper blades. They clear great. Thou they are a bit pricier than regular blades.



Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2419 times:



Quoting Phoenix9 (Reply 10):

Xenon headlight are nice and all but the cost + installation doesn't justify the improvement you get

Depends though. If you were to slap on some random Xenon bulbs on a stock headlight housing with stock reflectors/lenses then yes it's a waste of money.

OTOH if you were to get an OEM replacement specifically designed for your car then yes there will an improvement, a major one in fact. Xenon's work best with projector lenses. Of course those kits are even more expensive (upwards of $500)


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