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The Road is Full of Reasons to Restore Your Headlights this Season


Fall Time Change, Winter Weather Heightens Risks of Limited Vehicle Visibility

ST. PAUL, MN -- When you set your clocks for the time change on Sunday, it’s also time to check your vehicle visibility. There is a safety issue on America’s roads that rarely comes to light: dim headlight bulbs and hazy headlight lenses, which may lead to reduced visibility. With Daylight Savings Time and winter weather, the importance of clear nighttime visibility increases.

Continuously raising awareness regarding the dangers of decreased headlight performance, 3M Car Care, the AAA Foundation and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) have again partnered to educate car owners about the issue. Over time, dim and hazy headlight lenses lead to reduced visibility. Headlights lose their effectiveness due to dirt, scratches, grime and other contaminates.

Additionally, 3M is proud to support City of Hope in their quest to prevent and cure cancer, and encourage consumers to join the effort. For every headlight or lens restoration kit from 3M purchased at participating retailers from September 1 through December 31, 2010, 3M will donate $1 to the City of Hope for cancer research, treatment and education, up to $250,000. Together, 3M and consumers can partner to not only improve their night driving vision and safety, but also help improve the vision on the road to a cure for cancer.

What Causes Hazed Headlights?

A chief culprit of dim headlights is the headlight lens. Millions of cars on the road today have plastic lenses. Unfortunately, these lenses typically don’t hold up to weather and time; they may become hazed and yellowed, reducing the light output from the headlamp. The problem increases with the age of the lens, and with the average age of cars on the road about 10 years old, the problem is growing. In addition, the more sun or salt a vehicle is exposed to, the more likely that its plastic headlight lenses may be hazy. This is a common issue on many domestic and foreign automobiles, and isn’t limited to less-expensive vehicles. It’s not uncommon for luxury cars to have hazy headlight lenses, too.

“Look around the next time you walk through a parking lot, and you’ll see a number of vehicles with hazed headlights, cracked taillights and broken side mirrors,” said Todd Mathes, automotive expert for 3M Car Care. “Every one of these cars may create a danger to the driver and other people on the road. But with some basic education about car care and maintenance, all car owners can take care of these problems before they cause accidents.”

What Is the Simple Solution?

Some of the tips and solutions offered through National Headlight Safety Month are Vehicle Visibility Safety Checks, repair projects for hazed headlights and guides for replacing headlamps and wiper blades.

“3M’s goal is to help reduce accidents that may be caused by limited visibility on the road,” said Cathy Markovitz, marketing manager for 3M Car Care. “By working with great partners like the AAA Foundation and the AAIA, we can get the message out to millions of people that there are simple solutions for improving your visibility in the car, and the visibility of your car to other drivers. And through our partnership with the City of Hope, we can help improve night driving vision and safety and also help improve the vision on the road to a cure for cancer.”

While replacing headlamps and windshield wiper blades have traditionally been inexpensive repairs, the solution for hazed headlights lenses hasn’t been quite so simple. Replacing the lenses can cost up to $1,500. The consumer repair products in the past just polished the lenses but didn’t completely repair the damage, remove the hazing or improve the clarity.

But now, an innovative category of repair kits makes it easy for car owners to do the repair themselves, and the category has grown an estimated 60 percent just this year. An innovative solution from 3M Car Care - the 3M Lens Renewal Kit - allows car owners to do the job themselves in approximately an hour, with just a cordless drill, all for less than $30. The Lens Renewal Kit features 3M’s industry-leading products that restore headlights to their like-new condition, maximizing night vision and increasing clarity while driving. It’s an easy, cost-effective and smart way to improve visibility, because the road is full of important reasons to shine a light on safety. 3M also offers a Lens Polish and Protector that helps extend the restoration, keeping headlights clear and bright.

“With one trip to a local auto parts store, a car owner can make their car – and themselves – a whole lot safer on the road,” said Mathes, who spends his days developing and testing innovative 3M automotive solutions and his free time working on his personal automotive projects. “It only takes a cordless or electric drill for the job. For less than $30 and about an hour of work, people can greatly improve their light output and visibility on the road, not to mention the appearance of their vehicle. These new headlight repair kits from 3M allow anyone to fix this problem themselves – saving money and helping them drive more safely on the road.”

The 3M Car Care product line can be found at leading automotive aftermarket retailers and online at For more information on 3M Car Care products, visit

About 3M

A recognized leader in research and development, 3M produces thousands of innovative products for dozens of diverse markets. 3M’s core strength is applying its more than 40 distinct technology platforms – often in combination – to a wide array of customer needs. With $23 billion in sales, 3M employs 75,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNews on Twitter.


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