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How to Clean Faded Headlights

Headlight Restoration

Faded headlights are not just an aesthetic concern; they pose significant dangers to driving safety. 

Over time, headlight covers can become cloudy or yellowed, which drastically reduces the effectiveness of the headlights. 

Less clarity can compromise the driver’s ability to see the road clearly at night or in poor weather conditions, and it also makes the vehicle less visible to other drivers.

Over 50% of all car crashes occur when it’s dark. Therefore, it’s imperative that one keeps their headlights in good condition so they, and the traffic around, stay safe during a night-time drive.

Why Headlights Fade Away?

The most common culprit behind foggy headlights is oxidation. UV light from the sun can degrade and discolour the plastic used in headlight lenses, causing them to turn yellow. 

Additionally, exposure to harsh environmental conditions like rain, snow, and road chemicals can further accelerate this degradation. 

And then there is water vapor, which can enter the headlight assembly through worn or degraded seals, leading to condensation inside the lens.

When enough time passes, all of these factors can contribute to having a poor sight on the road at night. 

Is It Dangerous to Drive With Foggy Headlights?

Driving with foggy headlights significantly increases the risk of accidents. Diminished headlight clarity impairs a driver’s ability to see the road, pedestrians, and other obstacles at night or during bad weather conditions. 

Furthermore, vehicles with obscured headlights are less visible to other drivers, especially on unlit roads, increasing the likelihood of collisions. The reduced visibility can delay reaction times, making it harder to avoid sudden hazards. 

In an essence, clear headlights are critical for safe driving and are as important as any other safety feature of a vehicle. And studies confirm this! Another article shows that cars with good headlights are 20% less likely to crash.

What Products Do You Need for Headlight Restoration?

For effective headlight restoration, specific products designed to clear up the cloudiness and protect the lens are essential. 

Headlight restoration kits are available and typically include abrasives for sanding, polish, and a sealing compound to protect the lens from future damage. Popular brands like 3M and Turtle Wax offer comprehensive kits that cater to these needs. 

Prices for these kits range from $10 to $30, making them a cost-effective alternative to headlight replacement.

Steps to Cleaning and Restoring Faded Headlights

Now, here comes the crucial part. Restoring faded headlights involves several steps:

  • Cleaning: Start by thoroughly cleaning the headlights with soapy water to remove any dirt or grime.
  • Sanding: Use the sandpaper provided in the restoration kit to wet-sand the surface. This step removes the outer layer of oxidation.
  • Polishing: Apply a small amount of polish from the kit and buff the headlights using a buffer or a microfiber cloth. This smooths out any scratches from sanding and restores clarity.
  • Sealing: Apply a UV sealant, which is crucial to further protect the headlight from future oxidation and discoloration.
  • Drying: Allow the headlights to dry completely.

The entire process can take about an hour per headlight, depending on the extent of damage.

How Often Do You Need to Clean Headlights

It is advisable to clean headlights every three to six months, or about two to four times per year. This frequency helps maintain visibility and ensures that headlights remain in good condition, free from excessive oxidation and cloudiness.


If you find the process challenging or if results are not as expected, professional headlight restoration services are a viable option. Search up a company in your local area that does these. It may seem more expensive, but you can’t put a cost on your own safety, especially if you have not managed to take care of the clean-up yourself.

That’s it for today! Best of luck with this. Of course, if you have any more questions, make sure to reach out to us.