How to Fix Foggy Headlights

by Maddi Butler

Nothing will make your car look old faster than foggy headlights. Luckily, these are simple to fix.

Headlights take on a foggy or discolored appearance when they’re exposed to sunlight over a period of time. Ultraviolet rays cause tiny pocks to form in the plastic of the headlight lens, which makes it appear cloudy.

Sometimes, this can also be caused by a build-up of dirt and grime, so make sure your lights need more than a good wash before you go through with repairing them.

If the damage is on the inside of the lens—often indicated by condensation caused by moisture intrusion—you’ll likely have to replace the whole lamp assembly. If the damage is on the outside of the lens, you’re in luck! This is a pretty easy fix to do yourself or for auto body professionals.

If you take your car to a shop to get your cloudy headlights fixed, it will probably last a little longer, but it will be more expensive, too. Shops typically use buffers and several weights of sandpaper to make the surface of the light even again. Then, they use a sealant to make sure it stays clear as long as possible.

The other, less expensive option is to do it yourself at home. Kits are widely available, or you can use any kind of toothpaste and a soft cloth to buff out your headlights.

However, be sure to clean them first and use masking tape around the lights to protect your paint. Expect to spend at least five minutes on each headlight, then rinse off the toothpaste and use wax for further protection once the lights are dry.

Clean headlights are brighter and safer to drive with, ensuring you stay safe on the road.

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