Not only are murky and dirty headlights not good for the appearance of a car, but they are particularly unsafe since they tend to reduce visibility at night. And headlights, just like many other car parts, are susceptible to dirt and they will deteriorate with time. No matter how clean the poly carbonate plastic appears when you buy your car, it will eventually turn foggy and obscure the brightness of your car’s headlights. This fogginess is usually as a result of typical filth accumulation and a natural chemical reaction after the plastic’s exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
This dirt buildup could make it difficult for you to illuminate the road and its surroundings when it is dark, which could increase the risk of unwanted incidents. Are you tired of those nasty-looking headlights and poor visibility at night? Here is a guide that will teach you how to clean your headlights.
Why Do You Need To Clean Your Headlights?
Simple stated, dirty bulb housings to not allow as much light to go through as compared to when they are clean. This means that it will be hard for other road users to see your car as well as decrease visibility on the road. Dirty headlights could also diffuse light which means that they will not throw light far much down the road as compared to when they are clean, which makes it harder for you to see hazards in the dark.
How To Go About Cleaning Your Headlights
If you found out that your headlights require cleaning due to mud and dirt, the simplest solution would be to use a washing cloth and some clean water. This will help remove any residue on the headlights quickly, and you will not have to spend too much on a headlight restoration kit. However, if your headlights have taken quite a battering and are cloudy, yellowing, and murky, you will need to undertake a more thorough process to clean the headlights. Here is how to go about cleaning your headlights.
- Start With An Initial Car Clean
While you might have the urge to get down and dirty with your headlights, it is advisable to give your car a thorough cleaning before going to the headlights. This is one of the best ways to guarantee the nest results from the cleaning. Wash the bulb housings and any adjacent panels, after which you should thoroughly dry the car so that there is no water runoff or droplets that will get into the inside when performing your headlight restoration.
Once you have given your car a thorough cleaning, it is time to mask or tape the headlight perimeter. You will need a painter’s tape that isn’t so adhesive. Tape carefully around your car’s headlight so that you do not cover a part of the bulb housing that requires polishing. It will obviously look weird if you have a yellow line next to a clear path on the bulb casing. Moreover, any other surface that could be damaged during sanding or polishing should also be protected.
Top Three Ways To Clean Your Headlights
- Using Toothpaste
Yes, you heard that right. One of the cheapest and simplest ways of cleaning your headlight covers is by use of basic toothpaste to polish and clear the plastic. The advantage of using toothpaste is that it is quick, easily accessible, and much cheaper than the standard repair kit. In this case, you will need a spray bottle, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and possible a cloth. Here is how to go about it:
- Smear some toothpaste onto the bulb housing with your hand or a piece of fabric.
- Using your toothbrush, continue rubbing until you see and feel the headlight getting clearer.
- Spray some lukewarm water onto the bulb housing and wipe away the toothpaste with your piece of cloth and that’s it.
Since toothpaste is a kind of light abrasive, it is going to scrape the gunk off while filling in any scratches present. It will even light polish your plastic in the process. You should, however, remember to use toothpaste that does not contain any crystals, cooling beads, or any similar components since they could scratch your headlights. Toothpaste could also be used to clear out the oxidization on the inside of your headlights as well.
- Using Sandpaper
While this method will give you better and long-lasting results, it is more complicated than using toothpaste and calls for exceptional care. When it comes to sanding, you could choose to remove the headlight or cover any adjacent paintwork with a masking tape to protect it from scratches. Here is how to go about the sanding:
- Using a masking tape, mask any adjoining bodywork or remove the headlight.
- Wet the headlight as well as about 400-grit sandpaper with some warm water.
- Sand gently with a circular motion, keeping the headlight and sandpaper wet.
- Try sanding in horizontal lines to finish.
- Now, using a wet 600-grit sandpaper, sand the headlight in a circular motion.
- Clean the headlight with warm water.
- Dry the headlight and apply some wax to protect the lens.
- Commercial Cleaning Kit
If you are willing to spend some money on a commercial headlight cleaning solution, there are numerous products and solutions to get the job done in minutes. Most of these products are usually cheap and readily available in car spare part outlets as well as brick-and-mortar stores. Although they are an excellent option, ultimately, they work just about the same as the less expensive methods mentioned above.
After having gone through all this trouble to restore your bulb housings, it would be a shame if they became murky and foggy in just a few days or weeks after the hard work. To prevent this fast return to ugly form, you could try a UV film, sealant, or protectant. These products help shield your headlights, light bars for sale from the wrath of filth build-up as well as UV punishment that made them look ugly at the beginning. And if your headlights are not clear after spending close to an hour working on them, the best option could be to have them replaced.