‘My headlights seem dimmer than before. What would it cost to fix this?’

The Car Doc weighs in.

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Q: I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 161,000 miles on it. The headlight covers are fogged and I feel my headlights seem to be dimmer than before. I was just wondering if new lenses and new headlights would solve the problem. Are the new, higher power lights better to buy than regular lights? And what would this all cost?

A: The high performance bulbs do put more light on the road but at a cost. Typically, a high performance bulb can cost three or more times more than a stock bulb and have a shorter life. Regarding the headlight covers/lenses, sometimes they can be polished to a clear look again. You can also consider replacing them. The factory parts can be $200 per side but some aftermarket parts can be found online for as little as $40 per side. Depending on how damaged the lights are, the aftermarket solution may be a reasonable choice.


John Paul, AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor, answers questions from drivers every week. He has 40+ years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician.