Why are there so many cars with faulty headlights on the road this winter?
I have seen hundreds of cars on the road with a fault of some description and it seems to be worse this winter than in the past. This is something that can be particularly distracting and a danger to road users.
All service schedules I have looked at include checking the beam alignment but look around in most garages and the beam setter is usually covered in dust, it does not get done. This of course assumes the car ever gets serviced...
In the light of the above, best to train yourself not to look at them but look to the left of them, and keep your windscreen clean.
Changing a headlight bulb in many modern cars is not a simple task like days of yore. Several Renaults require the bumper removing to allow removal of the headlight itself so you can change the bulb. Not many want to go to a garage and pay around £7.50 for a bulb and then another £20, £30 or dealer prices. Some also require the headlight aim to be set, not using the old beam setter, but using the diagnostic tool to program the correct aim for those with self-leveling systems.
Those that do not need the bumper removing are still very awkward and how they are fitted into the unit is a mystery for many. And small delicate hands that can get to them are a bonus.
And as for the high intensity ones, they cost a fortune.....
These are not excuses, just reasons you might get from a driver.
Since posting my message, I have driven around 150 miles. Encountered lots of vehicles with one headlight out, the first being an RAC patrol van...
Oh oops well it wasn't me my old van did seem to eat headlight bulbs.
Originally Posted by wildman
I belive a lot of failures now are due to plastic lens not allowing the cooling of the bulbs to happen correctly I don't remember changing as many bulbs when the lenses were glass.
There was an article on Top Gear about how difficult it was to change headlight bulbs, some of them were so awkward to get at, that they even wondered if the designers have given that job a thought?
I haven't noticed an increase in faulty headlamps this winter, I see them every time I go out when headlamps are necessary. I reckon about 50% over the last five years. There has definitely been an increase but it is not just failed bulbs. I took my Fiesta for three MOTs during the time I owned it, and on each occasion the headlamp aim was adjusted. I believe this was because of the plastic lugs used to fit the units, which were elongated slots to allow for adjustment, were a rubbish idea. I have plastic lugs on my current car, but they are not part of the adjustment process, and are proper round clearance holes for the mounting studs and bolts.
Quote......"I believe this was because of the plastic lugs used to fit the units"
That`s the sort of thing that should be reported to the manufacturers, as it could be a serious fault , that they could resolve in the factory?
Quite some time ago, a law was passed to make it an offence to have faulty/non-working lights, with a fine of up to £1,000. I've never heard of anyone being charged/brought to court for this offence.
Clearly, some commonsense is necessary, as a bulb can fail at any time and it isn't always, or even often, safe to stop and replace it immediately. The bad designs where bumpers/major components have to be removed for the operation add to the problems, and the Construction and Use Act should have prevented such designs in the first place.
However, if one buys a car so badly designed, the law does not make allowances for this. It would still be reasonable, if stopped, for the police to issue a ticket for the vehicle lights to be rectified and the vehicle presented to show correction within perhaps 48 hours.
Some owners fit illegal bulbs that are only permitted for off-road use; switching them for MoT purposes. These drivers are selfish and cause danger. Detection should result in immediate impounding of the vehicle, with confiscation for a second offence.
Car lights are intended for the promotion of safety; not for idiotic owners to play around with the system to suit their own peculiar ends.
During my time on the road in liveried vehicles, i was often stopped by the Police and asked to sort out lights on vehicles which they had stopped. Headlamp and stop/tail bulbs used to be a 5 minute job, so I never objected. With the advent of the 'idiot' fittings, I started to refuse. The Police would give the owner a few minutes to try to persuade me to take on the job, and if I still refused, the Police would put a report in, or issue either a Rectification or Prohibition Notice depending on which bulbs were 'out'. For what its worth, I have never seen a motorist being prosecuted for faulty lights in all the times I have sat in on Magistrates Courts.