It was a dark and stormy night ……..
To play off of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s opening sentence in his novel, Paul Clifford, once we set into the shorter hours of daylight for the winter season, here in the US, our night drives are certainly dark and may often be stormy. In these winter season months, we should be extra vigilant in our vehicle maintenance. And, of course, if we are in the snow-belt, we should be running four snow tires. Additionally, there are some basic, easy, upgrades that we can perform to improve our safety, confidence and driving experience.
Making sure that our headlights are at maximum efficiency is key to assuring a safe and enjoyable drive. With many of us leaving for work in the dark, and returning home in the dark, headlight function is quite important. What can we do to make sure our headlights are offering us the highest performance?
* Keep the outer lenses clean – cleaning the lenses and applying wax to them, will help to keep the lenses clear and allow maximum light transmission.
* Polish/restore cloudy lenses – If the outer plastic headlight lenses are faded and cloudy, this greatly reduces the focused light transmission. The cloudy lenses reduce the light that comes through AND disrupts the beam’s focus. Restoring the lenses to a polished clear look, will restore the focus and brightness of the headlights (and make the car look much better too). BAVauto offers three kits for restoring BMW and MINI headlight lenses.
* Upgrade the headlight bulbs – A very noticeable headlight improvement can be made by installing PIAA Xtreme White headlight bulbs (for Halogen bulb headlights) or Morimoto high performance Xenon bulbs (for HID bulb headlights). Both of these upgrade options offer improved light output over the original headlight bulbs. More usable light = better nighttime and inclement weather vision.
DAY AND NIGHT DRIVING:
Visibility at night is extremely important to safety, but don’t forget that our winter driving can also be severely hampered in the daylight as well. Rain, snow, road grime and ice all play a role in reducing our visibility. Our only defense is a good set of wiper blades that are not damaged or worn out. This becomes doubly important as we drive through the dark hours.
* Windshield Wipers – Keeping our windshield wipers clean and in good shape is our best defense against heavy rains, snow and sleet. Our wipers take a real beating through the winter months, due to increased usage, road grit and running over ice and snow on the windshield. We recommend to always start the winter months with a fresh set of wiper blades (don’t forget the rear blade(s)). This gives us a running start against the increased wear and shorter wiper life that the winter months assure.
Windshield Treatments – Treating the windshield with a water repellent product will help it to shed the rain and snow and allow the wipers to work at their most efficient levels. The Aquapel windshield treatment allows water to shed from the windshield so efficiently that, in rain, the wipers often do not even need to be used. This affords extra safety through increased vision. The Aquapel far outperforms the other common product that are offered in local box stores and auto parts stores.