How To Clean Car Headlights On A Budget
If you cant quite stretch to a purpose-built cleaning kit and all the other equipment youll need for it, there are thankfully much more affordable ways to clear surface dirt of your car headlight lenses. For instance, if you already manually wash your car with car shampoo, you can use that along with a cloth and some warm water to wipe away any muck.
If you dont have any car shampoo on hand, any water-based cleaning product should do the trick just make sure that you make sure you buff or wipe off any excess residue, as youll need to break out the cloth and cleaning equipment again to remove the mark itll leave when it dries.
Its important that you dont use washing-up liquid or acidic cleaning products, as these can cause damage to the cars headlights and any other part of the car they come into contact with.
Rub Toothpaste With Towel
Of the three cleaning methods, the ol toothpaste fix is the easiest and least expensive. As is often the case with quick fixes, this may not be as effective as the other methods, but how many opportunities are there to use toothpaste for anything other than cleaning your own teeth? Live a little.
The process is simple. Apply some toothpaste to a rag or towel, then spread it in circular motions over the entire headlight.
How To Clean Plastic Headlights Using Wd
As far as we are concerned, the WD-40 is one of the most versatile household items that anyone can find and sometimes people are amazed at what it can do. This product has been found to be very useful for decades now and lets remind you that the WD-40 is a silicone-based spray that is rightly formulated to help in displacing water. You are quite fortunate if there is a can of WD-40 sitting in your car garage as it can also be used in wiping clean foggy plastic headlights.
The best advice we can give when cleaning plastic headlights using the WD-40 is to first wash the entire headlight using car shampoo and clean water and this is just to make the entire area clean before proceeding with the main washing itself. After washing using car shampoo and clean water, the plastic headlight should be wiped using a clean cloth and after that, the WD-40 should be sprayed on to the foggy plastic headlight.
After spraying, it should now be wiped clean using a dry towel and after the first wipe, results would start to appear immediately. However, if the plastic headlight is heavily oxidized then the process might need to be carried out two or three more times so as to obtain desired results.
After cleaning, a separate towel should be used in wiping finally and this process can be carried out with a high level of confidence that no damage would come to your vehicle paint.
Also Check: How To Get My Car Title In Florida
What Are Foggy Headlights
If you notice that the light emanating from your headlights is a lot less clear than it once was, chances are your vehicle is suffering from foggy headlights. Sometimes drivers will also notice that their headlights are not only a lot less bright, but also that the light has a yellowish, dingy tinge to it. This is also caused by headlight fogging.
The reason for headlight fogginess is a bit scientific. Most headlight lenses these days are made from a thick plastic comprised of polycarbonates. Unlike the glass lenses that were used in older cars, these plastic lenses are much more scratch-resistant and durable. However, over time, as this polycarbonate plastic is exposed to UV rays from the sun, the outer layers begin to break down and degrade. These changes cause the lenses to absorb blue light from the bulbs and cause a less potent, yellowish light to be emitted. The good news, however, is that cleaning foggy headlights is fairly easy.
The Best Solution Have A Professional Do It
While the methods above may work fine for a DIY project, they are not optimum solutions. The reason why is that your lenses will generally cloud or fog back up in a matter of months.
The difference between the DIY methods and a Professional job is that there is a special type of protective coating that should be applied after cleaning. This coating is relatively expensive, and generally only available to those in the automotive industry. It is not included in most kits .
A professional can make your headlight lenses look factory new . Prescott Import Car Service offers a high quality headlight cleaning service that will polish your lenses to look like new. The coating makes a difference, and your lenses will remain clear for up to two years, and longer in many cases. There is a difference in what we do compared to DIY methods.
You May Like: Car Rental Discounts Aaa Aarp
What Causes Headlights To Go Cloudy/yellow
- Most of the modern cars are made of polycarbonate plastic in order to save manufacturing costs and increase safety, in comparison to the glass headlights that were used traditionally up the early 90s.
- As the plastic headlight lense experience wear & tear throughout time, resulting in damage to the sealant film, which makes the lens surface more permeable over time.
- With continued damage and exposure to UV rays, the clarity reduces and the wear & tear shows up as yellow/dull surface on your headlights.
How To Clean Plastic Headlights
Every good thing about life is bound to have one or two downsides and the same applies to clean plastic headlights with household items or items that can be found around your home. The major downside is cleaning foggy headlights using household items might only produce temporary results and the reason why headlights tend to turn hazy, cloudy, faded or dull is as a result of oxidation and ultraviolet degradation.
Making use of a headlight restoration kit is simply the only tested and trusted the way that that clarity of a faded, dull, hazy or cloudy headlight can be restored permanently. If a headlight kit isnt used then the headlight lenses might just be replaced.
However, all headlight restoration kits are not designed or built to be or function the same as there are some that come in the form of pre-mixed chemicals.
It also involves a simple process that requires applying the solution on the foggy or faded headlight using a clean microfiber cloth. Furthermore, other headlight restoration kits can also come with polishing pads or abrasive sanding discs and here is the truth about using this particular type of kit, it permanently gets rid of oxidation, cloudiness and hazing just to make sure that your headlights shine like it just left the factory.
#TIP After cleaning headlights, ensure that an ultraviolet protectant is used in sealing them
Also Check: Who Accepts Synchrony Credit Cards
How To Clean Headlights: A Simple Guide To Lift The Fog
Even if you washed your car every week, using only the best car soaps and products to wipe it down, chances are that the headlights would still get foggy over time. Its not your fault, and you shouldnt be too hard on yourself if your car has a pair of foggy headlights. Unless you park your car in a garage or keep it under a cover 24/7, your headlights will turn foggy eventually.
If the headlights on your car are foggy, theres some good news. Cleaning the gunk off your headlights is an incredibly simple job that you can complete with things that you probably already have at home. It may sound surprising, but everyday household items like toothpaste can work wonders on foggy headlights. Of course, there are all-in-one kits you can buy that can get the job done, but all this task really requires is some elbow grease.
Below, well outline the three most common methods for cleaning your headlights, including a before-and-after look at our own ride.
Sprinkle Bkf On Headlight Lens
Once the dirt and debris have been sufficiently wiped away from the headlight lens, its time to apply our cleanser. For the purpose of cleaning headlights , we recommend using the classic Bar Keepers Friend powder cleanser. Lightly sprinkle some cleanser onto the surface of the headlight. Make sure that the surface is still wet.
Are you more of a fan of Bar Keepers Friend soft cleaner? Heres a great tutorial by YouTuber, Andrea Jean Cleaning:
Also Check: What Could Be Draining My Car Battery
How To Clean Oxidized Headlights Using Glass Cleaner And Automotive Polish
Gather the correct materials – You will need the following materials to clean headlights with glass cleaner and automotive polish: Automotive polish, Car wax , Glass cleaner, Masking tape, Plastic or vinyl gloves , Rotary buffer , Soft cloth, Water
Tape off surrounding area – As with the previous method, tape off the areas surrounding your headlights to protect your trim or paint job, and wear plastic or vinyl gloves if you have skin sensitivities.
Spray headlights with cleaner – Generously spray your headlights with glass cleaner, then wipe the surface clean with a soft cloth.
Apply automotive polish – Apply automotive polish to another clean, soft cloth and firmly rub the surface of each headlight in a circular manner, adding more polish as needed. Plan to spend at least five minutes on each light in this manner. For a speedier repair, you can use a rotary buffer to apply the polish.
Rinse – Rinse with water, and apply car wax as a protectant against future oxidation damage as described in the previous method, if desired.
Droplets Of Moisture On The Inside Of Headlights
Oxidation can occur both on the outside and inside of your lights . If you notice tiny droplets of moisture on the inside of your headlights, you will need to remove them for any attempts at repair to be effective. Treat the inside in the same manner you treat the outside.
If any of these methods fail to reduce the haziness of your headlights you may need to seek professional services, such as those from YourMechanic, to fully diagnose why your headlights arent working.
Read Also: How Much Freon Does A Car Hold
Rub Sandpaper With Water
Too good for hygiene products? The sandpaper method requires only a bit more effort but can shave away more grime from your headlights. Follow the same steps above by cleaning your headlights with soap and water, drying thoroughly, and taping around the lights.
Apply a bit of water to the sandpaper , then work it in circular motions around the headlight, followed by a horizontal path. Do this lightly pressing too hard can scratch the housing.
Best Cleaners For Foggy Headlight Lenses
Use a headlight restoration kit or a headlight renewal kit to get your headlights looking brand new again. These headlight restore packages can be found at your local auto parts store and are designed specifically for clearing up dull, foggy headlights, but they can get rather pricey.
Your other option is to use household items to create a headlight lens cleaner that provides fantastic results with all brands of headlights, including Toyota.
You May Like: 1-888-601-6302
Washing And Taping Off Your Headlights
Lifehack: Using Toothpaste To Clean Foggy Headlights
Are the headlights on your Toyota RAV4 starting to look a little hazy or getting cloudy? One of the easiest ways to clean your foggy headlights at home is to use toothpaste and a rag. All you need to do is grab an extra tube of toothpaste maybe you dont like that gross peppermint flavor and apply it generously to your headlights. The mild abrasive properties of your toothpaste will help to scrub the damaged, deteriorated surface, giving your headlights a bright new shine. Simply apply the toothpaste and rub it in with a rag, using small circular motions to improve the clarity of your headlights. It might take a little elbow grease, but it will do the trick.
Also Check: Carvana Lease Car
How To Apply The Wd
To defog your headlights using WD-40 as your headlight lens restorer, follow these easy steps:
However, like every other product ever on the market, the Wd-40 has several sides its coin:
- Effective in removing dried stains on certain surfaces
- Easily accessible
- Can be used on more surfaces than just headlights
- Easy to use.
Ii The Bug Spray Method
Washos does not highly recommend this method. The DEET in bug spray is noted to remove the oxidation of headlights. However, this is a quick and easy way to instantly improve the appearance of the plastic.
The DEET in the spray actually works because it tends to melt the film on the plastic, and can actually melt the outer layers of the plastic itself. While it produces results, they are temporary. The dull and cloudy appearance will return within a month, and begins within days.
Washos specifically recommends that the bug spray should be applied with a towel and never sprayed directly on the headlight.
Then rinse the bug spray residue from the clean headlight lens.
A word of caution: Even though the car headlight is rinsed, chemical residue can still run during wet weather and damage the clear coat, or paint, with which it comes in contact.
Also Check: How To Restore Clear Coat On Car
How To Keep Your Headlights From Clouding
Oxidation of headlights will develop the longer they are exposed to the elements. The headlights will become cloudy and hazy from years of exposure to UV rays from direct sunlight. Dirt, gravel, soil and sand, salt and other road residue also take a toll.
Here are a couple of steps you can take to ensure that your headlights maintain their visibility and operate safely every time you travel.
- Park your vehicle in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If you use a residential parking lot, consider buying a protective cover for your vehicle.
- Focus on your headlights when you wash the rest of the car and use a microfiber cloth for drying.
Foggy, oxidized or otherwise obscured headlights make your car look old and worn. Those headlights are also a safety hazard on dark nights and difficult roads with dim streetlights.
Cleaning the headlights yourself will save you a considerable amount of money compared to having a professional detailer do it. Use the methods described above for how to clean your headlights and you can say goodbye to dull, dim light beams from any type of vehicle. This will save a considerable amount of time and money compared to having a detailer do it. Download the Home Depot Mobile App to find the cleaning supplies you need for your car.
Shop this Project
How To Clean Car Headlights With Toothpaste:
If the headlights are only slightly foggy, you can try and restore them using an abrasive, like toothpaste, and lots of scrubbing. First, clean the headlights with Windex or soap and water. Then, using a soft cloth, rub a fingertip amount of toothpaste onto the wet headlight. Start scrubbing. Keep the surface wet and apply more toothpaste as needed. Once youve removed the protective coating, apply a sealant.
When choosing a restoration kit, look for one that contains several grades of sandpaper, a plastic cleaner/polish, polishing cloths and a protective coating. One kit usually has enough to clean two headlights.
Noble has the following advice when using a DIY headlight restoration kit:
You May Like: What Commission Do Car Salesmen Get