YOU might not notice your foggy headlights or diminished visibility until the problem is severe. It is important to stay vigilant and inspect them every few months to catch any problem before it becomes too late.
There are two main problems with headlights. These can either be too bright that can blind other drivers or these can be yellowed and foggy, making it difficult for the driver to see at night.
Unless you are guilty of riding around with high beams on, there is not much you can do to correct the first issue. The second problem, however, happens over time on all vehicles. This one can be easily solved, even if you don't have any repair experience.
Headlights are on the front of the vehicle. This means they get bombarded with everything that is on the highway, such as gravel, exhaust, mud, chemicals, rainwater and more. These elements gradually build up on the surface of the headlights, coating the protective polycarbonate cover until it is no longer clear. In some instances, these abrasives can scratch and pit the plastic as well.
Another vulnerability headlights have is sunlight. The ultraviolet rays of the sun gradually turn the clear polycarbonate into a dingy yellow mess. The good news is both these issues are superficial, so they can be easily fixed.
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Another reason headlights can get foggy is if they lose the watertight seal that keeps water vapor from entering. Over time, the seal may dry out and crack, eventually letting moisture inside. No matter how much you clean the exterior, the headlights will remain foggy because the problem is on the inside.
If you do nothing, your headlights are going to get foggy.To help keep your headlights from getting hazy, there are a few things you can do:
– Don't park your car in direct sunlight. When you drive your car, your headlights will be exposed to damaging UV rays. That is unavoidable. If you can park in a garage or in the shade, you will diminish your vehicle's exposure to those damaging rays and prolong the time needed between deep cleanings.
– Wash your headlights. Whenever you wash your car, wash your headlights as well. This removes road grime and chemicals before they have a chance to build up and create a visibility issue.
– Polish your headlights. After washing your headlights, consider polishing them. This should be done with a non-abrasive product and a microfiber cloth. Polishing your headlights is the best way to keep them clean and clear.
It is important to identify the general cause of your foggy headlights. If you see condensation inside, that means there is a leak in your headlight seal that is letting moisture in. While this isn't a huge problem, it is one that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Also, it requires a little knowledge about cars, headlights, and sealants to repair. If these are foreign terms, or you have no experience resealing a headlight, it is best to ask your mechanic for help.
For all other foggy headlight issues — exterior problems as opposed to interior problems — you can easily restore the headlights yourself.
– Clean your headlights. Rinse off any grime or debris that has accumulated on your headlights. You want them as clean as possible to get the best results from the restoration process.
– Dry your headlights. Completely dry your headlights with a microfiber towel.
– Restore your headlights. If you are using baking soda, mix up a thick paste and apply it to your headlights. For people who want to use toothpaste, simply apply a large dollop and start working it around. If you purchased a headlight restoration kit, follow all directions.
– Clean your headlights. Once you are satisfied that you've covered every inch of your headlights and worked the medium in, wash your headlights clean using only water.
– Polish with a dry towel. After washing, polish your headlights with a dry, microfiber towel.
– Inspect your work. In most instances, at this point, you will be done. However, sometimes, it can take two applications (or more) to get the clarity you desire. If you see spots that you missed, repeat this process, focusing on the troublesome areas.