This is all started during turkey season. I was driving down a secondary road well before dawn and was having a hard time locating the turnoff to the field where I was going to meet my hunting partner. I thought: “Are my headlamps even on?”

They were, but they really looked like dim bulbs to me.

My truck is a 2001 Explorer Sport Trac, with the OE headlamps. They’ve seen a lot of miles. Later, in the full light of day, when I took a closer look, I could also see the lenses had “fogged over,” the haze a product of exposure to years of ultraviolet rays. No wonder I had trouble finding my turn.

Owners of older trucks face a similar problem, but here’s a quick and easy fix, courtesy of Sylvania Automotive Lighting.

First, I replaced my old halogen bulbs with new Sylvania SilverStar Ultra bulbs ($49.99). The company claims the bulbs are designed to let you see “40 percent farther down the road” while improving side-to-side vision as well. I can’t verify the 40 percent, but I can tell you the road ahead at night is now definitely brighter.


The second half of the solution is the company’s Headlight Restoration Kit ($19.99). This is a do-it-yourself deal that takes about an hour. One thing I greatly appreciated, an excellent set of step-by-step instructions. Essentially, what you are doing is wet-sanding (with three different types of sandpaper) the lens to remove the glazed-over surface. Then you apply a UV Block Clear Coat designed to help protect the headlamp from future UV damage.

When I drove the truck that night, the road before me lit up like a roman candle. It truly was the difference between night and day.