What causes foggy headlights?
Foggy headlights are less common on older cars that use glass lenses instead of the plastic ones used today. Plastic lenses are both cheaper for automakers to obtain and aren't as prone to damage. However, when these plastic lenses are exposed to UV rays, the coating wears down over time and leaves a yellow tinge.
There are other reasons for foggy headlights, though. The coating can be worn down if too much debris, like small pebbles, hits the headlights while driving. Headlights can acquire a layer of chemicals or grime just from being exposed to the elements. Over the years, the water seals on your headlights can also split open, causing condensation to form inside.
How can I clean my car's headlights?
No matter the cause of your foggy headlights, there are plenty of ways to fix them. You can find several headlight restoration products online or at your local auto parts store. However, if you need a quick fix after-hours and can't wait for a delivery, there's a DIY method.
You'll need a few old rags, a mild cleanser, and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can use either baking soda or toothpaste for the cleaning agent, and those with sensitive skin should have latex gloves.
First, give your headlights a few sprays with your cleanser of choice. If you don't have a car cleaning solution, a little soap and water will work. Let it sit for a few moments, then use one of your rags to wipe the lenses dry.
Use your cleaning solution and distribute a thick layer over each lens. Baking soda will need to be mixed with a little bit of water before application. Allow it to dry a little before wiping it away with your toothbrush.
Be careful to use gentle, circular motions so that you don't damage the plastic's surface. Once the yellowness has disappeared, you can buff out the remaining bits of cleaner with water and a new rag.
How long do clean headlights last?
Foggy headlights really detract from your car's appearance, but they're also very dangerous. At night, they could prevent you from seeing large obstacles or animals. Your lights probably also won't work well in rain and fog. Poor visibility combined with slippery pavement could lead to a deadly accident.
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