I would like to improve the quality of beam from my headlights in my 1998 ford Taurus. What is my best option?
Try a set of these lamps. http://www.pfyc.com/pc/GN1022/C6LIGHTING/Sylvania+SilverStar+ULTRA+Headlight+Bulbs.html
I second the Silverstar bulbs. I installed a set on my 2000 Blazer and are happy with the results.
Are the plastic headlights clouded over? I used to clean the headlights on my wife’s 98 Windstar every few month to remove the cloudiness. This greatly improved the quality of the beam.
I’ve had excellent results with Sylvania Xtra-Vision bulbs. I’ve tried tinted bulbs, illegal high-wattage bulbs (which work, but don’t last very long), etc.
Nothing has worked as well for me as the Xtra-Vision bulbs. I use them in both of my cars.
For more than you ever wanted to know about headlights, check out:
In addition to bulbs, are your lenses at all fogged up? There are polishes available if they are.
Yes they are, the car is 12 years old, how can I clean the glass as glass cleaner hasn’t helped.
Better bulbs work to a small degree but are akin to “putting lipstick on pig”.
Try polishing your headlights>>> I did this on some older ones for my mum and it worked out okay.
If you go to a car parts store (Autozone, Pep Boys, etc) they have headlight polishing kits. I’ve not used one, but I would trust the major brands like Meguiars and Turtle Wax. Search ‘headlights’ here, you should find discussions on polishing them.
Here’s Meguiars: http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/detail/MEG+G1900
You might try and eyeball if possible the reflective surfaces inside the lamp. If those surfaces are burnt, discolored, or even dulled by bulb heat new bulbs or lens polishing may not help.
On a car that age try parts houses and catalogs too.
Time and plastic don’t mix and even the inner reflector isn’t what it used to be.
The lamps on my Mark VIII (both current and previous ones) had horrible lamps that would not even illuminate a license plate on a vehicle about 2-3 car lengths in front of me.
I cut my lamps (high, low, turn sig. all in one) open and resurfaced the reflector suface with chrome Monokote, which is used on radio control aircraft.
The old reflector surface was horribly dull, and even burned, due to bulb heat and since heat would only kill a new lamp I provided an air inlet on the bottom of the housing.
A brass compression fitting was added to the air filter housing and nylon hoses were run to the top side of both lamps.
Whenever the engine is running air is contantly being pulled through the housings and at this point, voila.
Lamps are working like new and most importantly, they run cold to the touch and the prior problems with moisture accumlation in the lamps has disappeared completely.
Granted, this procedure was a bit of a job but it was worth it.
I have a 1997 that had diminished brightness thanks to the lenses being all yellowed.
I fixed it using sandpaper and polish. I started in wet sanding with around 600 grit, then switched over to 1800 micromesh and continued wet sanding up to 8000 (equivalent of about 3200 grit sandpaper - so smooth it feels like you’re sanding with wet leather).
Took only a few minutes per lens, then I finished up with good old fashioned plastic polish (the mequiars stuff). That stuff makes your lenses look good, but it doesn’t really solve the dimming problem.