Headlights are essential for driving safely at night and in low-visibility conditions. They illuminate the road ahead and make your vehicle visible to other drivers and pedestrians. However, over time, headlights can become dirty, foggy, yellowed, or cracked due to exposure to dirt, dust, moisture, UV rays, and road debris. This can reduce their brightness and clarity, making them less effective and potentially dangerous. That's why, we will share some easy ways to maintain your car’s headlights and keep them in good condition.
How to Clean Your Headlights
The simplest way of cleaning your headlights is with a cleaning product (window cleaner works great) and a soft brush. This will remove any dirt and grime that may have accumulated on the surface of the headlights and restore their shine. You can also use a glass cleaner or a specialized headlight cleaner spray for this purpose.
- Wash your car with a cleaning product and rinse it with water.
- Spray some cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe down each headlight gently.
- Rinse the headlights with plenty of water and dry them with another microfiber cloth.
- Repeat the process if necessary until the headlights are clean and clear.
How to Restore Your Headlights
If your headlights are hazy, yellowed, or scratched due to oxidation or wear and tear, you may need to restore them using a more intensive method. DIY methods are countless and they all use household items to fulfill the task, but the results might be subpar. Alternatively, you can use a commercial headlight restoration kit that contains all the necessary tools and materials for the job. Here are the steps to follow:
- Tape off the area around the headlights with painter’s tape or automotive masking tape to protect the paintwork.
- Sand the headlights with fine-grit sandpaper (400-600 grit) in a circular motion to remove the oxidized layer and smooth out any scratches. You can wet the sandpaper with water or rubbing alcohol for better results.
- Wipe off the dust with a damp cloth and inspect the headlights for any remaining imperfections. If needed, repeat the sanding process with fine-grit sandpaper (800-1000 grit) until the headlights are smooth and even.
- Polish the headlights with a polishing compound or toothpaste using a microfiber cloth or a buffing pad. Apply moderate pressure and rub in a circular motion until the headlights are shiny and glossy.
- Rinse the headlights and dry them with a cloth or leaf blower.
- Apply a UV sealant or clear coat spray to protect the headlights from further damage and fading. Follow the instructions on the product label for proper application and curing time.
- Remove the tape and admire your restored headlights.
How to Prevent Your Headlights from Getting Damaged
The best way to keep your headlights in good condition is to prevent them from getting damaged in the first place. Here are some tips to follow:
- Park your car in a shaded area or use a car cover to avoid direct sunlight exposure that can cause UV damage.
- Avoid driving on rough roads or in bad weather conditions that can cause chips, cracks, or dents on your headlights.
- Replace your headlight bulbs regularly or upgrade to LED or HID bulbs that last longer and produce brighter light.
- Use a headlight protector film or cover that can shield your headlights from scratches, stains, and impacts.
If you see a crack or a malfunctioning light, make sure to stop by Hyland Auto Repair so we can take a look and fix things up!