Common Car Headlight Care

Common Car Headlight Care

Common Car Headlight CareOne of the most underappreciated, yet vitally important parts of any car, truck, or SUV is its headlights. A malfunctioning headlight makes driving at night or in low visibility conditions extremely dangerous. It is also in violation of the law. Don’t wait until you get pulled over by the cops, or end up facing hazardous, weather-related driving conditions to realize your automobile’s headlights are in need of service. Practicing common car headlight care helps ensure your own safety. Also, the safety of other motorists on the road because it’s just as important to be able to see what’s out there, as it is to be seen.

Visual Inspection

The first step in any common car headlight care regiment is visually inspecting the condition of each individual light. After determining whether or not each light properly illuminates, you will want to examine the headlight housing and lens. Aside from any obvious physical damage such as cracked or broken components, you will also want to check for cloudy residue build-up, moisture, and condensation as well as dimming or flickering lights. For newer cars and trucks, or vehicles with after-market upgrades, you will need to make sure your LED headlights are positioned correctly and working properly. Are you’re in the Winston-Salem NC area? Do you have further automotive lighting questions or need help servicing your vehicle’s headlights? Stop by or contact us today at Carolina Auto Service.

Burned-Out Bulb

The most common reason for an out-of-service headlight is a burned-out bulb. The solution is straightforward. First, check your vehicle’s owner’s manual or search online for your car or truck’s manufacturer-specified replacement bulb part number. Depending on your specific vehicle, you will either remove and replace the bulb from under the hood of the automobile or by removing the entire headlight. Again, please refer to your owner’s manual for more details. If you need further assistance, contact a high-quality, reputable mechanic such as Carolina Auto Service. You’d be surprised how many people seek professional help changing a burned-out headlight bulb, especially in newer vehicles with more complex lighting systems.

Moisture & Condensation

Condensation can naturally occur within a headlight when the air inside the light housing is heated, causing moisture to be released. This moisture becomes problematic if it is excessive or it is unable to release and begins to accumulate as liquid water. This moisture can lead to mold build-up, which is not only unsightly but can block the amount of light emitted. The built-up moisture and condensation will also lead to rust and corrosion damage to any metal parts such as the light bulb itself. The electrical contacts, and any screws or other pieces holding the headlight in place.

If you are experiencing excessive condensation or moisture build-up in your headlights, chances are your headlight seals need to be serviced or replaced. In terms of do-it-yourself common car headlight care, periodically removing the headlight and draining built-up moisture is an easy, no-cost solution. Drilling or poking a tiny hole where the moisture is accumulating is another low-cost alternative.

Cloudy Lights

Over time, UV light, as well as wear-and-tear from the elements can cause the plastic on your headlights to break down, causing a dingy, cloudy yellow film to develop on the lens. This cloudy appearance is not only an eyesore but also blocks the amount of light emitted, which diminishes visibility while increasing the risk of an accident. The solution is to replace your entire headlight. We do not recommend this. Do it yourself by purchasing a headlight restoration kit. Headlight restoration solution from your local auto parts shop. Baking soda and toothpaste can also be used to eliminate the cloudy yellow residue from your headlight lens.

Dimming or Flickering Lights

Dimming or Flickering headlights are usually a signal of a deeper underlying electrical problem. Most likely dimming or flickering headlights are the result of a dying car battery. They are also commonly associate with a damaging or worn alternator, a problematic voltage regulator, a burnout fuse, faulty wiring or a host of other electrical issues. Is your car or truck experiencing dimming or flickering headlights? You will definitely want to bring it into Carolina Auto Service. We will service your vehicle by an ASE-certifing technician.

LED Headlights

Many of today’s late-model cars and trucks come with LED headlights. LED headlights are also a popular after-market upgrade for motorists looking to add increase illumination. Also, modern style to their automobiles. LED light bulbs can also be tricky to install. It is extremely important when replacing an LED light to install the bulb in the correct position according to the manufacturer’s angle. An improperly position LED headlight can blind oncoming traffic.  This will create dangerous driving conditions for yourself as well as other drivers on the road.

Keep in mind, although this blog focuses on common car headlight care. A lot of the information above can also applies to taillights, turn signals, and brake lights as well. Do you live in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area? Are you experiencing difficulties with any of your automotive lights? Don’t hesitate to call us, message us, or stop in for a visit at Carolina Auto Service. Don’t let a minor electrical issue snowball into full-blown costly repairs.

car emitting smoke

Holy Smokes: Why is My Car Emitting Smoke?

car emitting smokeOne of the most obvious, telltale signs your car, truck, or SUV is in need of serious repair or service is smoke. Unless you’re 100-percent sure as to why your vehicle is emitting smoke and whether it is safe to operate, you should get it off the road as soon as possible. Driving a smoking automobile can further exacerbate any damage, leading to costly breakdowns, repairs, and even extremely dangerous engine fires. The type of smoke your car or truck is discharging helps identify the underlying mechanical issue causing your vehicle to smoke. The first thing you should do if you notice your car emitting smoke is bring it into a reputable automotive repair center like Carolina Auto Service and have it checked out by a certified mechanic.


In terms of dealing with a car emitting smoke, the best-case scenario is coming across vapor. Often mistaken for white smoke, the vapor is actually condensation or steam naturally released from the engine’s exhaust. It is completely normal for even brand new cars to release vapor from their exhaust when starting their engines. This especially true in colder climates or in vehicles that haven’t been driven in a while. If it isn’t clear whether your automobile is emitting smoke or vapor, or if you feel your car is releasing an excessive amount of condensation, you should definitely have it inspected by a quality mechanic right away. Here at Carolina Auto Service, our ASE-certified automotive technicians will ensure the vapor coming out of your car’s exhaust is simply normal condensation and not something more serious like burning coolant, which is a sign of major engine trouble.

White Smoke

If thick white smoke is consistently pouring out of your automobile’s exhaust or from under the hood, it usually signals your vehicle is burning coolant and is most likely suffering from one of these significant engine issues:

  • Coolant Leak
  • Blown Head Gasket
  • Cracked Engine Block
  • Damaged Cylinder Head

If you suspect your car or truck is experiencing any of the above problems, do not drive it in to get repaired. Driving an automobile that is burning coolant will inevitably overheat causing even further irreparable engine damage. It may even trigger an engine fire. Rather than risking a high-priced engine replacement as well as your own safety. The automotive professionals at Carolina Auto Service recommend towing any car emitting smoke in for repairs, even if it is “technically” capable of starting and driving.

Black Smoke

Thick black smoke billowing out of your car or truck’s tailpipe typically indicates your vehicle is burning an excessive amount of fuel. While normally not as serious as white smoke. The presence of black smoke probably means your automobile is experiencing one of the following problems:

  • Clogged or Dirty Air Filter
  • Clogged or Leaking Fuel Injectors
  • Damaged Sensors or Regulators
  • Damaged Carburetor (in carbureted vehicles)
  • Poor Air to Fuel Ratio Mixture (in diesel vehicles)

Sometimes older vehicles will send out a cloud of black sooty smoke when starting up. This is fairly normal as long as all of its engine components are in working order. The smoke quickly dissipates. While some of the causes of black smoke emissions only require simple, do-it-yourself fixes, the auto experts at Carolina Auto Service strongly advise bringing your vehicle into a reliable mechanic anytime you’re dealing with a car emitting smoke.

Blue or Gray Smoke

The most common reason for an automobile to be spewing out blue or gray smoke is burning oil. Blue or gray smoke is commonly associated with the unmistakable smell of burning oil as well as significant drops in a vehicle’s oil level, without any noticeable leaks. Blue or gray smoke emissions due to burning oil can stem from a variety of mechanical difficulties such as:

  • Too Much Oil or Overfilled Oil
  • Spilled Oil During a Recent Oil Change
  • Oil Leak in Combustion Chamber
  • Clogged Oil Lines
  • Damaged Valve Seals
  • Damaged Piston Rings
  • Transmission Fluid Leak
  • Damaged Transmission Modulator Vacuum
  • Damaged Turbocharger (for turbocharged vehicles)

You will definitely want to bring your vehicle in to an automotive expert if you notice any persistent blue or gray smoke emitted from its exhaust. While the presence of blue or gray smoke can be caused by something as minor as spilling a little oil on the engine during your last oil change, it can also signify something major like worn out seals and rings, a faulty transmission or a failing turbocharger (for turbocharged vehicles).

Hybrid & EV Electric Vehicles

Hybrid automobiles are subject to the same smoke-related mechanical issues as traditional gas and diesel, cars and trucks. Also, hybrid cars along with EV electric vehicles must also contend with the potential for smoke. Even fire stemming from their battery or other damaged electrical components overheating. It is especially alarming to see any type of smoke emitted from a fully electric EV, since they don’t burn fuel. Aren’t constructed with any type of exhaust system. If you’re in need of high quality, hybrid auto service in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area. Look no further than Carolina Auto Service, we’re conveniently located on South Stratford Road near Interstate 40.

Here at Carolina Auto Service our team of friendly, ASE-certified automotive technicians can quickly. Accurately, diagnose the root mechanical issue(s) of any car emitting smoke, while promptly providing honest, reliable, service and repair. Not only do we specialize in servicing and repairing smoking cars, trucks and SUVs, we’re also a North Carolina State authorized automotive emissions testing center. For more information regarding a car emitting smoke. To set up an obligation-free appointment. Contact us today or drop in for a visit.

Carolina Auto Service