When most people think of headlight maintenance, the first thing that comes to mind is replacing a blown bulb. However, as a vehicle ages, another culprit can strike foggy headlights. With the average age of vehicles on the road being over 11 years, fogging (also known as headlight restoration) is an important maintenance item for safety.
With cars, this loss of “sight” manifests itself as an aging process on the headlight lens that is similar to cataracts: the lenses that usually cover the headlight bulb are made of plastic and over time become cloudy and cloudy. become clouds. become a cloud Dim, reducing the amount of light illuminating the road.
Cars that spend most of their lives parked outside, where sunlight, oxidation, UV rays, and air pollution take their toll on headlight lenses, are susceptible to this aging process. Unlike bulbs that are easily replaced when they burn out, lenses are permanent fixtures that usually aren’t replaced unless they’re damaged in an accident—or when owners discover they’re not on at night. . I can see Because they are so cloudy.
New bulbs may restore some headlight brightness; Bulbs can also dim with age. But fogged lenses that haven’t been restored will continue to reduce headlight effectiveness, potentially causing safety issues during nighttime driving and in low-visibility conditions. Also, despite bulb manufacturers’ claims, high-priced replacement bulbs may be brighter, but they don’t illuminate the road any more than original appliance bulbs and generally don’t last as long.
Fogged lenses cannot be cleaned with just soap and water; They are tarnished because the color of the plastic has discolored, not just the surface. There are a few different ways you can try to remove haze at home. Do-it-yourself type solutions include toothpaste: Put toothpaste on a cloth and wipe it in small circles over the affected areas to remove the discoloration. But this is not always effective and if your headlights are too low, more drastic measures must be taken.
There are several types of headlight restoration kits available for you to attempt to clear the haze yourself. The kit usually requires a multistep process of sanding the lenses with a mild abrasive, then polishing and coating them with a sealant that’s supposed to keep them clean. Results may vary depending on the amount of blurriness on the kit or lens chosen. Be careful when using these kits; Headlight lens surfaces are often near paint or other trim pieces and scratching them can add several dollars to the repair bill.
An increasing number of repair shops and dealership service departments offer headlight repair services. Prices vary widely, and so can the effectiveness and durability of products and services. Ultimately, restoring dull, foggy headlight lenses to their original or near-original condition can be like treating an older person with cataract surgery once they’ve regained their sight.
Buying new headlight lenses or used lenses from a salvage yard is an alternative to trying to restore old ones, but the cost of replacing parts is usually high. Aftermarket lenses are available at low cost, however, if they do not fit or seal as well as the original parts, moisture can seep into the headlight housing and corrode the electrical connections.
Keeping your headlights clean and clear is paramount to staying safe on the road, so as soon as you notice that your car’s headlights are losing performance, it’s time to clean them.