How To Fix Cloudy Headlights on a Car
How Do I Restore My Car’s Headlights?
Today’s automobiles are packed with cutting-edge technology that’s designed to help drivers avoid dangerous situations. However, there is still a strong argument to be made that clear and bright headlights are the best safety feature ever built. Not only do headlights help a car’s driver see the area around them at night, but headlights also help other drivers see one another. Not only is it important to promptly replace burned-out headlights but it’s also equally as important to make sure the lenses are as clear as possible. Vehicle owners could just replace the whole headlight unit, but that can be very expensive. However, there’s a fairly simple way to restore a car’s headlights, and one that’s much cheaper. Let a Southside Dodge service technician share some tips with you.
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What Items Do I Need To Restore My Car’s Headlights?
Extended exposure to sunlight is one of the most damaging things a vehicle can experience. The housing elements of a headlight will become cloudy and/or yellow when exposed over a long period of time. Replacing the entire headlight unit could cost hundreds of dollars. Restoring headlights is simple, takes under an hour and can cost very little — under $20 depending on what people need to buy.
- Flannel polish cloth
- Latex gloves
- Masking tape
- 1,000 to 2,500 grit wet and dry sandpaper
- Plastic polish
Step-by-Step Guide on Cleaning Your Headlights
1. Wash Away Dirt and Start Sanding
First, use warm soapy water to wash away dirt from the cloudy headlight housing. Thoroughly rinse it with plenty of clean water and allow the housing to completely dry. Use masking tape to protect the edge of the hood and components next to the headlight house you’re restoring. If the headlight housing has light scratches, start with 1,000 grit sandpaper that has been dipped in water. For yellowed lenses, start with 1,500 grit and work up to 2,500 grit. Be sure to keep all sandpaper soaked with water.
Lightly sand the headlight in only one direction, starting horizontally.
2. Rinse and Repeat
Rinse off the lens you’re sanding and dry it as best as you can. Repeat the above steps, this time with a vertical sanding motion. Begin with 1,000 grit sandpaper and work up to 2,500. Again, make sure the sandpaper has been properly soaked.
3. Buff That Right Out
Once again, wash the headlight housing with plenty of clear cool water. Next, thoroughly dry it off as best as you can. Apply plastic polish to one corner of the flannel cloth. Apply the polish compound in a circular motion using firm pressure.
4. Finish The Job
After the polish dries, use the clean portion of the flannel cloth to buff off any remaining polish residue. You may need to repeat the polishing process a few times – depending how damaged the headlight lens has become. Small areas may need more polishing attention than others. This is normal, just go over those spots again.
How Do I Prevent Headlights From Fogging?
Restoring headlights isn’t a terribly difficult thing to do. However, it does take some time and many of us don’t have much extra to spare. You can prevent headlights from fogging up by washing them often with a mild detergent and using a soft-bristle brush or sponge. Also, only use cleaning products meant for plastic. Don’t use wax.
Make an appointment with the Southside Dodge Service Department if you need any help taking care of your car, truck or SUV.