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2. Problematic Wiring
Bad wiring can cause a fuse to blow, but it can also manifest itself in many other ways. Even if the fuse is still intact, a problem with the wiring in your Subaru could cause the headlights not to turn on. Because the wiring is so complex, it’s best to leave these repairs to the people who really know what they’re doing.
4. Retrofit your headlights fog lights
Another great way to improve the brightness of your vehicle’s headlight and fog light is to completely replace your existing halogen headlight assembly for either an LED or HID headlight assembly. This process is known as a retrofit.
However, unlike a conversion kit, not every car is eligible for a retrofit and retrofitted headlight assemblies can cost upwards of $2,000. Further, you’ll likely need a mechanic to complete the job, which will run you a couple more hundred dollars on top of that. Lastly, a retrofit may void your vehicle’s warranty, assuming it’s still covered.
Nonetheless, like conversion kits, a retrofit would upgrade your current lighting system from halogen to LED or HID and dramatically improve your lighting by up to 500%.
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Reason #3: Burned Out Headlamp Bulbs
One of the benefits of LED technology that is slowly replacing ordinary halogen bulbs is that LEDs don’t really burn out. They’ll die eventually, but not until long after the car has lived its entire service life. By contrast, you’ll need to replace a few headlamp bulbs in your car from time to time if they’re still equipped with regular halogen lights.
If your brights aren’t working at all, it’s unlikely that the bulbs are burned out — because it’s very unlikely that two bulbs would burn out at the exact same time. You’re likely to notice one of your high beams has stopped working before they both go bad if the bulbs have died. Simply replace them with new ones and you’re good to go — but be sure to have this procedure handled by a professional. Improperly installed headlamp bulbs can wear out prematurely.
Brighter lights and blue tints
Queensland's peak motoring body, the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ), said it had not seen an increase in complaints but said it was apparent it was an issue of "constant concern" to drivers.
"[We haven't seen an increase] from month-to-month or year-to-year that I'm aware of, but it is a constant area of concern," Steve Spalding, RACQ's Head of Technical and Safety Policy, said.
Increasingly car manufacturers are making vehicles with LED or High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights which come across as brighter and often have a blue tint to them.
Not only do these lights provide better illumination than halogen lights, LEDs claim to consume less energy which translates into fuel savings and emissions reductions.
But the RACQ says HIDs and LEDs are typically the source of frustration for fellow road users.
"There's always general concern about being dazzled by lights and often it's about people using auxiliary or driving lights as well."
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Vehicles with bright — but not blinding — headlights
The IIHS, which was established in 1959, began rating headlights in 2016. That year, only one headlight system out of 80 received a good rating. Last year, the IIHS created more stringent criteria for its Top Safety Pick+ award. Now, vehicles qualify for the top award only “if they come equipped with good or acceptable headlights across all trims,” the IIHS stated. And multiple 2020 vehicles didn’t make the cut.
However, the following six 2020 models offer bright headlights, according to the IIHS. They feature LED projector lights for low-beams and high-beams. And they provide high-beam assist. Three models also boast curve-adaptive lights, which focus on the direction of travel.
- Hyundai Genesis G70: This is one of the three models with curve-adaptive headlights. Both low-beams and high-beams offer good visibility on straightaways and curves, and the low-beams don’t exceed glare limits.
- Honda Insight: Visibility on the straightaway is good on the right side for both low- and high-beams and fair on the left side. On curves, the low-beams are good on gradual and sharp right turns and inadequate and fair, respectively, for the left side. High-beams are good on the gradual right turns, fair on sharp right and gradual left turns, and inadequate on sharp left turns. The low-beams don’t exceed glare limits.
- Hyundai Nexo: Visibility on the straightaway is good for both sides of the road. On curves, the low-beams are good for gradual turns and fair for sharp turns. The high-beams are fair on gradual turns and inadequate on sharp turns. The low-beams don’t exceed glare limits.
- Lexus NX: This is another model with curve-adaptive headlights. Visibility on the straightaway is good on both sides of the road for low-beams and good on the right and fair on the left for high-beams. On curves, the low-beams are good on right turns and sharp left turns; they’re fair on gradual left turns. The high-beams are good on all four turns. However, the NX’s low-beams create some glare.
- Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid: Here’s the third model with curve-adaptive headlights. Visibility on straightaways is good on both sides of the road for high-beams and fair for low-beams. On curves, the Crosstrek Hybrid’s low-beams are good on both right turns and inadequate on both left turns. The high-beams are good for both right turns and fair for both left turns. Plus, the low-beams didn’t exceed glare limits.
- Tesla Model 3: This EV’s visibility on the straightaway is good for both sides of the road. On curves, the low-beams are good on sharp right turns, fair on gradual right and sharp left turns, and inadequate on gradual left turns. The high-beams are good on both right turns and gradual left turns; they’re fair on sharp left turns. The low-beams don’t exceed glare limits.
Beware new technology
Dr Oviedo-Trespalacios said there was little evidence to support the notion that headlights are too bright, but conceded it appeared to be an emerging issue among drivers.
"It is very interesting and certainly something open to research but we do know some people do experience longer periods of blindness due to the change of lights on the road," he said.
Another issue of concern is lights that are retrofitted, or modified, which Dr Oviedo-Trespalacios said in some cases are "not necessarily legal".
"We need to be very careful with what kind of technology we are including and certainly that is a concern of the government and they work very heavily to prevent these kinds of situations," he said.
"We don't have a very clear understanding of the risk because it is new technology."
The penalties for drivers using lights on a vehicle that dazzle other road users vary from state to state, but in Queensland drivers can cop a $52 fine while in Western Australia drivers are fined $100 and lose 1 demerit point.
Some of the feedback received from ABC Radio Brisbane listeners:
Seems like any modern ute has lights like a weapons array from a spaceship and they are often on high beam especially if behind — Michael G
I absolutely agree that the LED headlights are far too bright to the point of blinding when driving toward the vehicles. If it's a 4WD it's worse because the vehicle is already high. I have to turn my rear view mirror to the side when the vehicle is behind me. — Charlie H
I cannot see at all until they go past a lot of the time. It's quite dangerous for other road users — Nicole S
I have driven thousands of kilometres at night and the benefits of LED's are fantastic. Truckies use them for a good reason, they reduce eye strain and fatigue. — Phil H
Yes they are blinding. And when you are on a country road with no street lights and a car with those lights passes on the other side it is virtually impossible to see for a split second. — Daniel W
These lights are often blinding. I have been forced to sometimes pull over to the side of the road to let the vehicle pass me. Other times I have had to push up my rear view mirror to avoid the lights. — Narelle C
I have to agree. I'm not sure why they need them to be so blinding. The rest of us poor mortals with normal lights on our cars get by so why cant everyone else — Helen E