One of the most important safety features of your car or truck, aside from your brakes and suspension, are your headlights. They shine light dozens (and up to a hundred) of feet in front of your car at night, providing the driver with much needed visibility. You shouldn't drive at night without them, and in most municipalities you could be subject to fines or get your vehicle impounded if the headlights are broken or missing. In fact, the NHTSA calculates that almost 50% of all highway deaths occur as a result of accidents at night, while only 25% of our driving is done at night. Most of the time, front-end collisions will result in the damage of at least one headlight. Sometimes, the lenses on one or more of your headlights could be foggy or hazy from age or road debris. In that case, you could try some of those headlight polishing kits. But if those fail to give you the results you are looking for, then the only option left is to replace them.
Believe it or not, the first headlamps used on cars burned oil to produce light. This was a reliable and easy method of illuminating the road in front of any driver in the late 19th century, but as technology improved so did the demand for brighter and better lighting. Headlights soon became fitted with electrically powered filament burning bulbs, multiple beams (high and low), adjustment switches & levers, fluting on the glass to minimize glare - and the list goes on. Sealed beam headlamps were popular in the early and mid-20th century, until the 1908's when halogen headlights became the norm. These were preferred over sealed beams thanks to their brightness and longevity, and because the bulb could now be replaced if it burned out rather than the complete headlight. Fun fact: your standard low beam headlamp provides an asymmetrical puddle of illumination on the road in front of you that skews slightly to the right.
Replacing your headlight assembly can be time-consuming, but it is not difficult. With the right tools and preparation, following the steps towards replacing your lamps should take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours (depending on how your car or truck's front end is assembled).