Cleaning Foggy Headlights | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Cleaning Foggy Headlights

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The lights on your vehicle are an important part of your car. They are a safety feature, but they also help you operate it properly. Having bright, clear lights keep you safe on the road. It also helps you keep others safe as well. If you have foggy headlights, we’re here to help. 

Inspecting Your Headlights

You need to check the function of your headlights and taillights and make sure they’re still bright and lighting up. In addition, you need to make sure the lights are clear. 

Headlights can get foggy when they’re exposed to UV light. Foggy headlights can affect the way you drive at night. Headlights can get foggy because of oxidation, debris and dirt, water vapor, and more. If you keep an eye on them and take care of them before they get too bad, it’s something you can fix at home. To keep headlights from getting cloudy, follow these tips.

What Causes Foggy Headlights?

In modern times, headlights are now made of plastic. It’s very light and can be easily used for many makes and models of cars. However, plastic is also susceptible to oxidation. Plastic headlights come with a protective coating, but being out in the sun can cause the clouding you see.

Oxidation is when the car headlights begin to look cloudy or yellowed. Along with oxidation, foggy headlights can also be caused by dirt and chemical buildup in the atmosphere.

When headlights are foggy they don’t light up the road well for you while you’re driving, but they can also make it harder for other drivers to see you on the road. If you’re not checking your headlights regularly, you’re not only putting yourself in danger, but also everyone else on the road as well. 

Cleaning Up the Fog 

Foggy headlights can be hazardous, especially when driving in inclement weather. Here are some tricks from the Today Show that you can try at home to get them clear and shiny again. 

Use toothpaste:

If your headlights are only mildly foggy, you can use an agent like toothpaste with some elbow grease. To do this:

  • Clean the headlights with soap and water
  • Take a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on a soft cloth and rub onto the wet headlight (tip: try adding baking soda to your toothpaste for extra grit!)
  • Scrub while keeping the surface wet
  • Apply more toothpaste as needed
  • Once complete, finish by adding a sealant 

Use a headlight-restoration kit:

Before you buy your kit you’ll need to make sure it includes sandpaper, plastic cleaner, polishing cloths, and a protective coating. Consumer Reports recommends this guide to choosing the best kit. To use a restoration kit, be prepared to take up to 15-20 minutes per headlight. An overview of the process is:

  • Wet the headlights
  • You’ll sand rough spots on the headlights, being careful to not scratch paint
  • Dry the headlights and apply protective coating 

You might need to clean your headlights a couple of times before you see a big difference. However, after multiple cleanings if you don’t see a great difference, it might be time to get further help. 

Use a professional:

If you need help cleaning up deeply foggy headlights, or need to replace them completely, see a professional. A professional will help make sure that the process is done correctly so you can rest assured knowing you’re safer on the road. 

Call Scott’s

Scott’s Fort Collins Auto and Scott’s Loveland Auto want to make sure you’re safe in your car at all times. If you notice your headlights are foggy and can’t get them clean yourself, visit one of our two convenient locations. Call for an appointment today at our Fort Collins location: (970)-682-4202 or our Loveland location: (970)-541-4404. 

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