Foggy headlights can be hazardous especially when you are driving under harsh rainy weather. Trust me, the last thing you want on the highway at rush hour is making emergency stops simply because you can’t see clearly the next vehicle or motorcycle in front of you. That single act can confuse the driver behind you and might result in a collision. When the headlight of your car becomes dirty or oxidized, it’s advisable to restore them because less light gets through the headlight lens to illuminate the road and other oncoming drivers may not see you on time. You might be thinking “oh I just got my car recently, or it hasn’t been long I did a headlight replacement!” The truth is headlight fogginess is inevitable and it doesn’t get better if you don’t restore them ASAP! You have to know how to restore headlights because that fogginess you’ve noticed is due to degradation on the lens and that’s as a result of the following:
Oxidation: Most headlight lenses are made of polycarbonate and Acrylic plastic materials. These materials are more durable compared to the former glass headlight housing, yet they oxidized when exposed to UV rays. Although every headlight lens comes with a protective coat to prevent this, with time, the coating depreciates and sunlight turns the clear and transparent plastic headlight lens to yellow.
Flying Road Debris: As you cruise on your favorite car, your headlights are faced with gravel and other road debris that gets kicked up by other vehicles in front. This creates scratches and pits that wear down the protective coat on your headlight and contribute to the cloudy appearance of your car headlights.
Dirt and chemicals: After several years on the road, a thin layer of dirt and chemicals form on the lenses. This opaque layer dims the beam coming from your headlights.
Water vapor: Headlights are manufactured with a watertight seal, but wear and tear can cause this seal to break. Condensation then forms inside the lens where you can’t wipe it away. The water droplets scatter the beam of light, further impairing nighttime visibility.
As we’ve seen, polycarbonate or acrylic is a porous material. So, once oxidation begins to take place, it can quickly degrade the headlight lens. It’s important to have clear headlights for many reasons. The obvious one is for your safety during night driving, but it can also be a major factor in the resale value of your car.
How To Fix Foggy Headlights
Before you spend hundreds to thousands of dollars replacing your headlight each time you notice they look foggy, you should try removing the oxidation from the headlight yourself. When you do, you will save a few bucks and make your driving at night safer and easier. To fix and remove oxidation from headlights, start by washing the polycarbonate plastic lens with good automotive soap and water so you can have a clean surface to work on. Then, try any of these techniques to fix your foggy headlights and make the headlights shine.
- Soft microfibre cloth
- Automotive soap
- Latex gloves
- Automotive masking tape
- Wet & dry sandpaper (1000 to 2500 grit)
Note: The following procedure is best utilized when the fogginess of your headlights is minimal. If you have thick fog on your headlight or if your headlights are badly discolored from the inside, you should get a CLT headlight restoration kit. That will restore any oxidation and protect the plastic lens with a protectant solution again UV lights.
Step One: Wash, Tape, and Sand Gently
- First things first, wash the foggy headlight with warm automotive soapy water.
- Next, rinse thoroughly with plenty of clean water, then allow it for some minutes to properly dry.
- Once the headlights are dried, mask around the edges of the headlight lens to protect the paint on the body of the car from scratch as you sand.
- To sand effectively, dip the sheet of sandpaper in water, then sand gently with the grit that fits your car headlight situation.
Note: if the headlight only looks a bit foggy or cloudy, you can start with a lower grit like 1,000 and work your way up to 2,500 grit.
Step Two: Rinse and Repeat Sanding
As you sand, you have to rinse and change the direction you have been sanding to make sure every area of your headlight lens is covered. So, if you were sanding horizontally, rinse to see how clear your headlight looks and sand again vertically. You can also sand circularly to ensure you sand every area until you finish with the 2,500-grit sandpaper.
Step Three: Polish the Lens with a Buffing Pad
Wash the headlight with plenty of clear, cool water and dry.
- Wet one corner of a microfiber cloth with the polishing compound. You can use an abrasive toothpaste if you don’t have a polishing compound.
- Apply firm pressure and in a circular motion, polish the headlight lens until it becomes very clear and smooth as when you got it newly.
Step Four: Repeat Polishing and Rinse Finally
- After polishing your headlights lens, allow the abrasive solution to dry for some minutes then, use a clean and wet microfiber cloth to clean any residual of the abrasive.
- Repeat the polishing process until you are satisfied with the result of your headlight.
- Depending on how foggy the headlights have become, some areas might still appear cloudy. To permanently get rid of this, you can try polishing your headlight with vinegar or baking soda compound.
Regular maintenance of your headlights whether during summer or winter is as important as checking your engine oil level and tire gauge. To avoid extreme fogginess and to make your headlight shine, wash your headlamp often with mild automotive soap and soft microfiber cloth or sponge.
Note: Avoid cleaning your plastic headlights with wax, polish, or any chemical that’s not produced or intended for washing or cleaning car headlights. To prevent any damages to your car headlights while ensuring they are Crystal clear, use clear lights tech car headlights restoration kit. Ranking one of the top sought-after headlight restoration products on Amazon, this product comes with a simple three-way application method and restore foggy headlights in less than 3 minutes.
For non-mechanic types, working on a vehicle may seem intimidating, but with the help of some DIY car maintenance tips, it’s surprisingly easy! So, when looking for a solution to your foggy headlights, we suggest you get a recommended restoration kit.