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How To Clean Foggy Headlights in 5 Easy Steps

Unlock the secret to restoring your car's headlights with our 5 step guide. Transform foggy, yellowed headlights back to their original shine, improving both your car's aesthetics and your night-time visibility.

If you've ever noticed your car's headlights becoming foggy, yellow, or just not as bright as they used to be, you're not alone. This common issue can not only affect the appearance of your car but also reduce visibility during night driving, which can be a safety hazard. Thankfully, learning how to clean foggy headlights is a manageable task you can tackle at home. Here's how you can bring back that showroom shine and clarity to your headlights.

Why Do Headlights Become Foggy?

Before diving into the restoration process, let's understand why headlights lose their clarity over time. The primary culprit is exposure to UV light, which can cause the protective coating on the headlight lens to degrade. This degradation leads to oxidation, which makes the lens appear cloudy. Additionally, exposure to road debris and chemicals can further damage and discolor the lenses.

What you'll need

  • Automotive masking tape
  • Sandpaper (400, 800, and 2000 grit)
  • Clean cloth or microfiber towels
  • Water (in a spray bottle or container)
  • Headlight restoration kit or automotive polish
  • UV sealant or protective coating
  • Protective gloves

Step 1: Clean the Headlights

Start by cleaning the surface of the headlights with soap and water to remove any surface dirt and grime. Dry thoroughly with a clean cloth. This step ensures you're working with a clean surface.

Reviving a foggy headlight, Gentle hands scrub a soapy solution over the cloudy lens.

Step 2: Mask Around the Headlights

Using 3M Precision Masking Tape, carefully tape around the headlight to protect the paint and other parts of the car from accidental sanding or damage.

Careful hands meticulously tape around the headlight, ensuring precise protection before polishing

Step 3: Wet Sanding

Begin with the lowest grit sandpaper (400 grit), soak it in water, and gently sand the headlight in a circular motion. Keep the surface wet to prevent scratching. This step removes the outer layer of oxidation. Rinse the headlight and move up to a higher grit sandpaper (800 grit), repeating the process. Finish with the highest grit (2000 grit) until the lens is clear. Keep the lens and sandpaper wet throughout this process to ensure a smooth sanding.

Step 4: Polishing

Once the headlight looks uniformly clear (but still a bit hazy), it's time to polish. Apply 3D GLW Series Headlight Restore to a clean microfiber cloth and rub it onto the headlight in a circular motion. This step will remove any fine scratches and restore the shine to the headlights. You may also use a polisher with a gentle polishing pad for more efficiency.

Wiping down the headlight with polish and a soft microfiber cloth

Step 5: Apply UV Sealant

The final step is crucial for long-term results. Apply a UV protective sealant like CarPro HydrO2 Touchless Sealant according to the product's instructions. This will protect the headlight from future oxidation and UV damage. Allow it to dry completely before removing the masking tape.

Tips for Maintaining Your Headlights

  • Regularly clean your headlights with soap and water.
  • Apply a wax or sealant every few months or SM Arnold Headlight Taillight Polish Kit twice a year to provide additional protection from UV rays.
  • Consider using headlight covers or films that can protect the lenses from physical damage.
how to clean foggy headlights made easy

Conclusion

Restoring your car headlights can dramatically improve the look of your vehicle and enhance driving safety by providing better night-time visibility. With a bit of time and effort, you can achieve professional results at home. Remember, the key to keeping your headlights in top condition is regular maintenance and protection from the elements. Safe driving!


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