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new cars are weird
Old 12-08-2015, 03:34 PM   #1
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new cars are weird

I finally traded my 1990s vehicle for something 20 years newer and am shocked by some differences. In particular the headlights scatter virtually no light upward. Driving at night is akin to walking around while wearing an upside-down bowl on my head. The headlights shine OK into the distance on a flat road, but while approaching a hill there's no illumination of the road surface, signs, anything because they are of course slightly higher.

I gather this is a common complaint because the manual includes, "Headlights properly aimed at factory and do not need adjustment!" I adjusted them upward anyhow, but that made little difference. Is this the new normal on vehicles? I'm thinking of swapping to after-market lenses, if such a thing exists, to scatter light and remove the "bowl on head" experience.
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:49 PM   #2
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Yes, some of the new and improved auto headlights (HID/xenon vs halogen) do have some downsides. The new lights are so darned bright I suspect they have to aim them downward more than the old halogen bulbs to prevent blinding oncoming traffic.

To me the lack of lateral light distribution is even more problematic than the issue you describe. Turning into our driveway at night (no streetlights) is an act of faith - no light directed sideways from the headlights at all.
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:55 PM   #3
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We have both new and old cars in the family fleet and I suspect you have another issue, such as headlight aim or cloudy/ dirty lenses. Our newer car's headlights illuminate wonderfully, but cost a fortune to repair/replace when they burn out or become cloudy.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:17 PM   #4
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Our newer car's headlights illuminate wonderfully, but cost a fortune to repair/replace when they burn out or become cloudy.
I've seen videos of people using toothpaste to remove the cloudiness from headlights. Don't know if it really works but may be worth a try.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:27 PM   #5
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I tried toothpaste on cloudy headlights, but I don't think it helped much. I have done this procedure (wet sand, then clear coat). I think it works remarkably well. It takes a little practice, and maybe 30 minutes. I've done this on 5 cars, and they all turned out nice, and have not become cloudy again (so far).
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:28 PM   #6
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Interesting idea, but the lenses are clear. The edge between the illuminated area and the non-illuminated is so pronounced that it feels like driving within a circle of bright light. Looking out to the sides there's a sharp line between light and dark.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:43 PM   #7
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We noticed the same thing with the 2014 Honda Accord we bought. It isn't so bad as to be an issue for us but there is a definite "horizon" to the upper part of light on low beam. High beam is fine.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:50 PM   #8
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We noticed the same thing with the 2014 Honda Accord we bought. It isn't so bad as to be an issue for us but there is a definite "horizon" to the upper part of light on low beam. High beam is fine.
Sounds like GreyHare and you have the new HID headlights (as do I). Cross your fingers and hope they don't go out on you. From Consumer Reports:

Quote:
High-intensity discharge headlights do away with the heated filament of ordinary bulbs and instead use gas. The result is lower operating temperature and longer life. But HID headlights cost hundreds of dollars to replace, and they require a transformer that can run more than $500 if it goes bad.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:54 PM   #9
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HID's have a shield that drops down in front of the bulb when the lights are turned on. The shield is blocks the top 1/2 of the bulb and produces the "cutoff" you see if you shine the lights against a wall or your garage door. If they didn't do this, the HIDs would be too bright for oncoming traffic.

The lights are designed to do this.
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:22 PM   #10
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When I traded in my 1993 Shadow a couple years ago the biggest jaw-jacker I found in the newer cars was it costs 100 bucks to get a spare key made then then you have to go through this Rube Goldberg dog and pony show routine to program it
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:30 PM   #11
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When I traded in my 1993 Shadow a couple years ago the biggest jaw-jacker I found in the newer cars was it costs 100 bucks to get a spare key made then then you have to go through this Rube Goldberg dog and pony show routine to program it
Alas! one of the features not mentioned in the sales pitches: Don't lose your key with the immobilizer chip! Dealer only fix and with new key, about $300+

(don't lose all your keys...if you do, your are in for a real treat!)
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:35 PM   #12
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I also found a lot of other things that are weird on a new car. They now have power windows and no longer take cassette tapes...


My latest rental started with a push button. The key fob was in my pocket, when I reached for the door handle, the door unlocked. Never a need to remove it from my pocket.

No gas caps. Just a self sealing nozzle.
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:47 PM   #13
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I have had occasion to rent a car several times in the past year, and I must say I don't like them at all. Far too many multi-function buttons and confusing computer displays for my taste. None of them work in any intuitive fashion, and I suspect it would take sustained study of the owner's manual to learn all the features and functions. Heck, even getting the radio to turn on was a major production in our last rental. I think my next car will be a 1955 Ford pickup.
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:48 PM   #14
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The lights are designed to do this.
I was thinking that might be the case. How have others dealt with this problem? Swapping out the headlights for a design without the trouble is the only practical one I can think of, seems wasteful to do on a newish car. Are the lamp assemblies generally separate such that the remainder (lens, etc.) can be kept?
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:56 PM   #15
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Far too many multi-function buttons and confusing computer displays for my taste. None of them work in any intuitive fashion, and I suspect it would take sustained study of the owner's manual to learn all the features and functions. Heck, even getting the radio to turn on was a major production in our last rental. I think my next car will be a 1955 Ford pickup.
I noticed that with the 2014 Honda. To many electronics that don't improve things over a plain knob. And the owner's manual is at least an inch and a half thick - I've seen thinner service manuals for machinery. Just figuring out how to set the clock was a chore.
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:41 PM   #16
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When I traded in my 1993 Shadow a couple years ago the biggest jaw-jacker I found in the newer cars was it costs 100 bucks to get a spare key made then then you have to go through this Rube Goldberg dog and pony show routine to program it
While you still have both keys, buy a cheap replacement on eBay and get it cut at a hardware store. With the two original keys, you can program the new key using the dog and pony routine yourself and save a bunch.
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:50 PM   #17
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Once you get used to Xeon headlights, you just about go blind going back to regular headlights. Turn a corner, and my headlights follow the steering.

I had a small collision, and a Xeon motorized headlight had to be replaced to the tune of $1000+. I was fortunate the light bulb didn't have to be replaced, however.
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:59 PM   #18
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I have had occasion to rent a car several times in the past year, and I must say I don't like them at all. Far too many multi-function buttons and confusing computer displays for my taste. None of them work in any intuitive fashion, and I suspect it would take sustained study of the owner's manual to learn all the features and functions. Heck, even getting the radio to turn on was a major production in our last rental. I think my next car will be a 1955 Ford pickup.
We recently rented a car and couldn't get it off the lot because we couldn't find the parking brake. It was controlled by a switch on the dashboard and even once we were shown it, it was never intuitive whether you were supposed to push it up or down or which of a group of switches it was. As you said, completely non-intuitive. Guess I'll have to find a new analogy.......I used to think car design was great because you could get in any car and drive away........no longer
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Old 12-08-2015, 07:03 PM   #19
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I've seen videos of people using toothpaste to remove the cloudiness from headlights. Don't know if it really works but may be worth a try.
It did work for me. After just a few minutes the light covers were improved enough for me so I stopped and did not know if I could bring them back to near new condition. I am not picky.
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Old 12-08-2015, 07:07 PM   #20
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I have had occasion to rent a car several times in the past year, and I must say I don't like them at all. Far too many multi-function buttons and confusing computer displays for my taste. None of them work in any intuitive fashion, and I suspect it would take sustained study of the owner's manual to learn all the features and functions. Heck, even getting the radio to turn on was a major production in our last rental. I think my next car will be a 1955 Ford pickup.
In Maui recently, the VW rental we got had its display in Czech! I did not bother to look through the manual to change it to English, as I was able to toggle the speedometer through its modes to get to mi/hr instead of km/hr, and ignored other messages that the display threw at me.
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