Lighting is one area on older vehicles that can stand much improvement. For those vehicles with electric lights, head lamps produce more light with higher voltage. Unfortunately, the factory wiring is not always designed to deliver the full voltage available at the battery to the lights. For older vehicles, the grounds and contacts in the wiring harness can deteriorate such that there are now significant age-related resistances in the circuits. The end result is that many electrical systems do not operate at new-car levels and, in particular, the headlights are much dimmer than they should be.
Headlamp Circuit Upgrade
An easy way to improve vehicle lighting (to even better than OEM) is to modify the headlamp circuit so that the the head lights are powered directly by the battery and they are switched on by a relay controlled by the original lighting circuit. For more information, please visit Dan Stern Lighting's Headlamp Circuit Upgrade page. This modification is simple and effective. DSL can also provide a headlamp circuit upgrade kit specific to your vehicle.
A headlamp circuit upgrade is completely unobtrusive and can be easily hidden from view. If you do any night-time driving, this is a modification you should seriously consider.
Rather than going to Canadian Tire and buying the cheapest replacement lamp available, you should also consider upgrading to premium headlamps from manufacturers like Cibie and Bosch. They provide more light and, like the Cibie CSR, provide a better distribution of light. For those of us whose night vision isn't getting any better, a major improvement in night-time visibility is extremely welcome. A headlamp upgrade should be done in conjunction with a headlamp circuit upgrade for maximum benefit.
Daytime Running Lights
For the same reason that modern vehicles now have OEM Daytime Running Lights, older vehicles can also benefit from the added safety of DRLs. These systems are wired into your lighting circuit, usually unobtrusively under your dashboard. With the Headlamp Circuit Upgrade, you may have to instead mount this system under the hood after the relay. These systems are commonly available and can be easily found on the Internet. Dan Stern Lighting offers a DRL retrofit kit.
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