IIHS: New Tesla Model 3 Reflector Headlights Improve Car’s Safety


Tiny tweaks improve safety.

No car is safe at night if you can’t see the road that lies ahead. Yet, few safety agencies test headlights. One exception is the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

According to the IIHS, any Tesla Model 3 built after June 2018 has a “good” rating for standard LED reflector headlights. Meanwhile, those built before June 2018 only were rated “acceptable.”

The IIHS has yet to release full test results for the Model 3. However, this “good” headlight rating opens the door for a higher overall score. We expect the full results to be released soon, but the IIHS seems content to tease for now. Fortunately, we already know the Model 3 is safe, so says the NHTSA.

See more on initial IIHS tests of the Model 3 here.

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17 Comments on "IIHS: New Tesla Model 3 Reflector Headlights Improve Car’s Safety"

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That person needs to brush off their car!

I wonder if brushing off the car will mess with the paint at all… I’ve heard that Tesla uses a softer paint than other manufacturers…

Fortunately my car gets garaged at night and we haven’t had any meaningful snowfall during the days yet… no snow in the 10 day forecast yet, either.

They don’t use a thinner paint, it’s an old rumor. There are a bunch of discussions on it on the TMC forums.

Lol…i remember the old fud about “never wash your Tesla, the paint will come off”. People fall for everything…

Do they offer some kind of active LED headlights as an option?
That is surpricingly good. Tested BMW, Mercedes and Opel LED Matrix type headlights. The lazer version BMW use is super bright as well.

Porsche’s Matrix Beam LED lamps are incredible!

Constant improvement. Thats the best part of Tesla. Keep improving.

So hold off buying? The early adopters have gotten screwed.

It’s the computer argument, you pull the trigger when you need the product, if you wait for the next best thing you’ll be waiting forever.

VIN# cut off? Can you tell the difference just looking at the headlight? My Model 3 was built in mid-June, so it could go either way.

Turn the lights off, and shine a flashlight in there. If it reflects, then you should be good. The back of the light will look shiny.

Literally any headlight should pass the test you suggest, no matter how poorly they are rated by the IIHS. This is about improvements in headlight brightness and design — that is, the ability to throw a bright beam best shaped to illuminate the road ahead of the vehicle. This isn’t about a complete failure of functionality.

There’s a tad bit more than that, it isn’t about just amount of light you can throw but also the amount you don’t throw into oncoming traffic…

Glad to see this improvement! The IIHS has been on a mission to get auto makers to improve headlights. A year ago the IIHS made headlines after changing the way they rate headlights, rating 96 out of 100 models tested as less than “good”, which is their highest rating.

So the Model 3 will now be one of the minority of cars to get headlights rated “good” by the IIHS.

This is a safety-critical issue. Too bad this sort of thing doesn’t get far more coverage than minor cosmetic flaws such as tiny variances in panel gaps or microscopic flaws in the paint coating.


My C-Max has god awful headlights, but I am frequently bothered by oncoming lights, so I am glad that IIHS is trying to fix both problems.

Can buy the newer reflector headlights for the model three that was built before June 2018, that was noted to have a “good” rating for standard LED reflector headlights?

Headlights are too bright as it is for oncoming traffic! These newer high-intensity discharge headlamps you see on vehicles like Cadillacs are an unnecessary complication for oncoming traffic. This is particularly true here in Northern Virginia where even side streets are 4-lane! And it’s always busy – there’s no useful public transit outside the beltway, just occasional buses. Two lanes of headlights coming at you gets strenuous and adds to the frustration.

I’ve never had any problems seeing the road in front of me, as far as I needed to see, with any car that I’ve ever driven, except when our old minivan had the plastic cover start getting that cataract. Replaced the headlamp assembly, no problems going forward.

And don’t tell me that, if they were aimed better, it wouldn’t be an issue. Bull! You still have hills and regular ups and downs and turns across the terrain that always manages to put someone else’s headlight beams right in your face, or in your sideview mirrrors (that’s the worst, since you can’t see it coming and prepare for it).