One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is “why do I need a headlight restoration kit when I could just use my toothpaste?” The answer is simple “headlight restoration kits are specially produced with formulas intended only to restore your headlight lens while toothpastes were produced with the intention of whitening your teeth.” But don’t take our words for it! Read on as we uncover the difference, prove which is best, and answer your question of “how to restore headlights with toothpaste Vs headlight restoration kit?” No matter which way you choose to clean your headlight, your high beam headlights should illuminate at least 500 feet in front of you, while your low beams should light up to 160 feet. This way, other motorists can spot you easily and you would be able to see the road clearly to navigate through potholes, sharp bends, and other road obstructions. However, your headlights can’t do that if they’re foggy or damaged.
The USA government only requires auto manufactures headlights to last 3 years without becoming cloudy or hazy while the range of bulbs manufacturers used in headlights typically lasts about 500 to 1,000 hours for Halogen, 30,000 hours for LED, and 10,000 hours for Xenon. Still, we’ve seen headlights that degrade and become oxidized before the expected date of expiry. So, why is that?
Reasons why headlights become cloudy
There are several reasons why your headlights can appear cloudy or become hazy. Reasons such as:
Wear and Tear: Every car headlight lens is manufactured with a protective coating layer, but as you drive, your headlight casing is exposed to road grits and debris, which can result in scratches. Once these scratches exceed the protective layer of the headlight lens, it becomes damaged and appears cloudy.
Oxidation: The material used in most modern car headlight production is polycarbonate plastic. After production, these headlight lenses are coated in a clear layer to help prevent them from oxidising. Over time the coating wears off, and UV light and Sun rays oxidise the casing, turning it to yellow.
Water vapour: Despite the change in headlight production from sealed to plastic, each casing comes with a watertight seal that prevents water from getting into the headlight casing. But with time, the seal breaks through wear and tear and the water that gets in scatters the beam of light and causes the headlight lens to look discolored.
Dirt: after miles on the road, a thin layer of dirt and chemicals from pollution can gather on headlight casing, dimming your beams.
Seeing that headlight oxidation is inevitable and would happen to every car manufactured, the main question is how best to clean yellow headlights to get rid of fog for a very long time?
How to restore foggy headlights?
Most brick and mortar auto parts stores stock at least a product or two that were specifically manufactured for removing oxidation from headlights when they’ve become hazy or foggy from UV exposure. Look for products labelled “headlight restoration kit” or “headlight restore wipes.” Using these products is a straightforward way to get rid of foggy headlights. However, before you shop, it’s important to know exactly what you are buying. With so many headlight restoration kits out there it’s only wise to know the best from reviews of those who have tried certain products. To get started, here are some of the best headlight restoration kits in 2020.
Furthermore, if you are in-a-bind, and need to clean your dirty headlights immediately, there are a few other options that can get the job done. According to a lot of posts published as you will find on the internet, using Toothpaste can be effective in cleaning headlights. But does it truly work? To answer that, let’s look at how to clean headlights with toothpaste, the advantages, and disadvantages of using toothpaste to restore headlights and compare it with that of a headlight restoration kit.
Toothpaste vs headlight restoration kit
Before restoring your car headlight lens, it’s essential you start with a cool and clean surface. To achieve that, use automotive car soap with a sponge or a microfiber towel to wash and cool the surface before applying your choice of headlight restoration tool.
Using toothpaste as headlight restoration tool
Toothpaste contains some abrasives like calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts, and silicates. Just as these abrasives help the toothpaste to remove unwanted particles from your enamel, it is said to have the ability of wearing off a surface of scrapes and scratches on the headlight lens – giving a clearer look and brighter beam. To put the toothpaste hack to test, try the following steps below:
- Apply a bit of toothpaste gel to your headlight lenses, using a toothbrush.
- In a circular motion, gently rub the headlight lens with the toothpaste until it turns dirty or starts to discolor.
- Allow a space of 5 to 10 minutes for the toothpaste to dry.
- Gently wash the toothpaste off with warm water and a microfiber
- Lastly, dry thoroughly and observe the outcome. You can repeat the process severally until you are satisfied with the outcome.
- Very affordable.
- Easily accessible.
- Simple application process.
- It could make your headlight look worse (if not properly done).
- It’s not intended for car headlights restoration.
- Ineffective on headlight lense.
Using headlight restoration kit
In my opinion, if you’re looking for the most effective method for completing a DIY headlight restoration, purchase a headlight restoration kit. This is because a headlight restoration kit is specifically produced for headlight restoration and contains every tool you need for an effective restoration process. For this test, we will be using Clear Light Tech (CLT) Headlight Restoration Kit. This product ranks one of the best on Amazon and comes in a simple three-way step to headlight restoration. To get started after you must have purchased your CLT headlight restoration kit, follow the simple steps below.
- Clean your headlights with an automotive soap and microfiber towel. Allow drying then, open your kit and bring out the folded wipe. Using the wipe, clean the entire surface area of your car headlight lens.
- Wait for about 10 to 15 minutes for the solution to work on the headlight discolouration and remove every fog or build-ups. Now, using another neat towel, clean the surface of the lens and repeat the process. (Depending on how foggy your headlight looks, you can re-clean with the restoration wipe till your headlights look perfect).
- Lastly, bring out the last unfolded wipe from your restoration kit and wipe the surface of your headlight lens the last time. This wipe is different from the first because it contains a special protective solution that protects your headlights from UV rays.
- It’s relatively cheap.
- The results from your headlight restoration with CLT headlight restoration kit can last for another 500 hours.
- It’s specifically designed for headlight restoration.
- It’s simple to use and come with a user manual.
- It’s easily accessible and available in both local auto stores and online.
- Each pack of CLT headlight restoration kit is designed for a single restoration process.
Headlight restoration kits aim to include everything you need in one set which is why it’s the best option to restore your foggy headlights. Although household items like toothpaste can clean dirt off your headlight lens, the results are always temporary, and the continuous usage of this abrasive could damage your headlight lens. When that happens, you would have no choice but to opt-in for a replacement which is way expensive. So, to avoid any damages on the long run get clear light tech restoration kit and be rest assured your car headlights are