How to Clean and Restore Car Headlights

car repair man working on headlight restoration

Imagine you’re driving late at night, and you notice that your headlight lenses are foggy. You’re probably starting to feel anxious. It’s not only a bad look — no pun intended — but it can actually be life-threatening. In fact, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an average of 9 out of every 10 cars on the road today have dirty headlights that significantly reduce vision and need some form of headlight restoration.

So how can you get rid of this headlight-hazing? Here is what you need to know about headlight restoration:

Clean Your Headlights the Right Way

Catching this early is ideal: if headlight lenses are only slightly hazy, a simple headlight cleaner may be enough to remove dirt and grime from the headlight surface.

For more severe cases, however, you may need to take a more in-depth approach. 

Try to mask off the area around the headlight using painter’s tape and then use an automotive wax or headlight polish to further clean the headlight lens. If headlight lenses are heavily oxidized, like on older vehicles, an automotive headlight cleaner may be needed to restore headlight clarity.

Often, we tend to brush it off because headlight restoration kits can be expensive. But it’s worth the investment because they usually include all the necessary abrasive materials (such as sandpaper) and headlight sealant to make sure that the headlight lenses stay clear for a long time.

Sanding and Polishing Like an Expert

If headlight lenses are really cloudy and the cleaning process didn’t seem to do much, headlight sanding and polishing is the next step. 

This headlight restoration process can be a bit tedious and involves multiple steps: 

  1. Tape off headlight lenses with painter’s tape
  2. Lightly sand the headlight lenses in a circular motion. Use fine-grade wet/dry sandpaper
  3. Clean headlamp lenses again with headlight cleaner or headlight polish
  4. Buff them out with a microfiber cloth

When done by experts and with the right headlight sealant, this can last for years. That said, restoration is an art if we do say so ourselves.

Apply a Headlight Sealant for Some Extra Insurance

Headlight sealant is something you’ll be grateful for after the process is over. It ensures that you will not have to go through headlight restoration again for a long time. Headlight sealant is applied to headlight lenses after they have been sanded and polished, creating a protective barrier that prevents headlight lenses from becoming cloudy again.

Because the only clouds you want are the ones in the sky.

No Time? How About Some Quick Fixes?

If you don’t have time for restoration, some quick fixes may provide temporary headlight clarity. But be forewarned —  restoration is the only real way to get headlight lenses looking like new again.

Some headlight quick-fix methods include using toothpaste, headlight wax, and headlight restorer products. These methods work in removing minor dirt or haze from headlight lenses but not for long.

Professional Headlight Restoration at Valley Collision

If headlight restoration becomes too time-consuming or you don’t feel comfortable taking on the task yourself, head over to Valley Collision. Our technicians are trained and certified and can get your car looking like new again in no time!

Plus, you’ll get expert hands on deck instead of having to go through the guesswork. Want an online estimate? No problem, we got you covered. Any other questions? Contact us today at Valley Collision where we value not only top-notch quality service for your car but honest transparency.

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