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We’ve all seen cars driving around in the dark without their headlights on, and hopefully, we all know the dangers of that already. But what if your headlights are simply too cloudy that over time they’ve become too dim to keep you and your precious cargo safe? Below we will discuss the benefits of headlight restoration, how to stay ahead of your headlights becoming clouded and when to call a professional.

What caused cloudy, yellow headlights?

  • Oxidation. Acrylic headlights come with a coating to prevent oxidation, but over time it wears off and sunlight turns the lenses yellow.
  • Debris. Rocks and gravel flying into your headlights cause scratches and other unsightly marks, making them look more cloudy and dimming the light they produce.
  • Dirt and chemicals. Over time, exposure to dirt and chemicals creates a transparent film that eventually builds up and dims headlights little by little.
  • Water vapor. The watertight seal headlights are manufactured with eventually breaks down and condensation forms inside the lens diffusing the light and adding to their cloudy appearance.

Benefits of Headlight Restoration

  • Headlight restoration removes scratches and marks.
  • It restores dull, clouded lenses on your car.
  • Restoring your headlights help maintain your vehicles overall value, functionality, and performance.
  • Headlight restoration increases safety and visibility.
  • It enhances or restores the overall appearance of your vehicle.
  • Restoring your vehicle’s headlights saves you the money you would otherwise spend replacing your headlights with new, expensive bulbs.

How to Stay Ahead of Cloudy Headlights

Staying ahead of cloudy headlights may seem like a challenge even for the most avid car owner. However, there are a couple of things you can do to at least try to stay proactive and keep some money in your pocket.

  • Clean your headlights regularly. This may seem like a no-brainer, don’t they just get clean every time you wash your car? The truth is, headlight lenses do tend to oxidize over time and require a little bit more effort to clean. Here are a couple of ways you can clean your headlights yourself:
    • The Toothpaste Method. The anti-plaque chemicals in toothpaste are actually great for getting some of the oxidation off of your headlights, and it’s a pretty cheap solution in comparison to spendy headlight specific cleaners. However, many people who have actually tried this haven’t noticed an improvement in the clarity of their lights AND it only lasts 2-4 months… so take it with a grain of salt.
    • The Sandpaper Method. Sanding the exterior lenses of your headlights is also another option that some people swear by. However, using sandpaper that close to your car’s exterior body has the potential to make your car’s appearance look even worse, so ideally, just call a professional.
  • Address the issue causing your headlights to yellow and cloud. While oxidation does happen naturally over time and sunlight will yellow the lenses as well, there are certain issues that can actually be the cause of your dirty headlights. For instance, smog in the air or chemicals from your car’s engine can also cause your headlights to turn yellow over time.
  • Park your car in the shade. The less exposure your headlights get from sunlight, the better. Ideally, you should park in a garage to have overall protection of your vehicle, but simply parking in the shade works well too. If there isn’t much shade for you to park in, at least park your vehicle with the headlights facing away from the sun.

When is it Time to Call in a Professional?

In a perfect world, our headlights would never get cloudy or yellow and spending money on something like headlight restoration wouldn’t ever even cross our minds. However, this isn’t the case and from time to time seeing a professional is the best option. If your headlights are dim enough that it’s affecting your visibility or making it more difficult for you to see while driving and you’re in the Treasure Valley or surrounding areas, it’s time to call McDowells.