How to Clean Your Car Headlights Like a Pro

Cars are one of the most common and largely used automobiles in the world today, over the past few years the sales of cars have gone up. The trend of choosing a car over public transport or a two-wheeler is on the rise these days and if you are such a person and if you already own a car. Cleaning your car headlight is one of the most important things that you should do.

Most people commonly assume that a car headlight cannot be cleaned and prefer replacing a headlight. This is what most of the garage technicians advise their customers to do; this is just a marketing trick that serves the purpose of moving their merchandise. However, let us tell you that instead of replacing the headlights, you could clean the headlight periodically and increase the headlight’s lifespan. There are several ways of cleaning a headlight, and here is everything you need to know on how to clean your headlight.

Car Headlights

  1. With toothpaste
  2. Sanding
  3. Polishing

Each of the methods mentioned above could be used to clean the car headlight voluntarily. However, before cleaning, you should know when to clean the headlight, there an important thing that you should know. Headlights do not come with an unlimited lifespan, if they are exposed to harsh conditions, the headlight will lose its features. Here is how to determine whether your headlight requires cleaning and here are some of the simplest methods of cleaning.

  1. Inspect the headlight regularly – One of the common things a car driver or owner do is neglect the brightness of the light, and most of them do not notice the difference in brightness. This is where people should be careful while using a car at night, always pay attention to the brightness of the headlight. A comparatively lesser brightness is one of the main reasons for cleaning the headlight.
  2. Clean the headlight regularly – Washing the car to clean it is one of the regular things that a car owner should do, this is when you should check the headlight and clean it with regular soap.
  3. Hazing – Haziness of headlight happens when the hard coat on the headlight is worn off or damaged. Haziness could reduce the brightness of the headlight. One of the main reasons for haziness is that polycarbonate is exposed to too much sunlight or the coating is full of scratches. Therefore, look for hazing.
  4. Yellowing – Yellowing of headlight happens when the coating on the headlight is exposed to light and loses its adhesion. This phenomenon results in a yellowish appearance. Therefore, look for yellow coatings on headlights.
  5. Cracks and peels – One of the main reasons for cracks on the headlight is accidents or excessive exposure to heat; on the other hand, peeling could be the same. However, peeling here refers to the exterior protective coating on the headlight coming off. Therefore, if you find such an issue, it demands cleaning.

Based on the aforementioned issues, you could use any of the below-mentioned methods to clean your headlights.

1. With toothpaste

The pre-requisite for cleaning the headlight using a toothpaste requires, a tube of best toothpaste and a piece of high-quality microfiber.

  • Step 1: First, squeeze the toothpaste and take the paste in your fingertips, now, wipe the paste on a clean piece of microfiber.
  • Step 2: Wipe clean the headlight and make it dry. Now, wipe the cloth on the headlight to apply the toothpaste on the headlight. It would help if you scrubbed the toothpaste on headlight in an elliptical motion.
  • Step 3: Now, dampen the same cloth in tap water, remember, do not use water with chlorine or salt. Chlorine and salt combined with toothpaste could harm your headlight, therefore, use water without these.
  • Step 4: With the dampen cloth, scrub the headlight again.
  • Step 5: Once you have completed, scrubbing the headlight, dampen the cloth again to remove the paste and dirt.
  • Step 6: Now, with the cloth, wipe the headlight to clean it. Voila, your headlights would look good as new.

Remember, this is the simplest cleaning method that could be used to clean your headlight, so it cannot be used to clean mazing, yellowing, and scratches.

The next two methods, sanding and polishing, are interdependent. After you do the sanding, you will have to polish the headlight more efficiently.

2. Sanding

The pre-requisite for cleaning the headlight using the sanding method is wet or dry sandpapers, water spray bottle, and insulation tapes. The sandpaper should include one with a coarser grade around 1500 and one with finish abrading of around 2000.

  • Step 1: First, tape off the headlights. One of the most important steps involved in this cleaning method is to use the sandpaper on the headlights. Taping the area around the headlight would prevent the sandpaper from scratching the paint and destroying it. It is best recommended that you use an alcohol and clean paper towel to clean the headlight before taping the headlight.
  • Step 2: Now, with a water spray bottle, spray some water on the headlight and with coarser sandpaper wet sand the headlight thoroughly. It is very important that apply even pressure while sanding. Do the sanding until a headlight has a dull finish. Remember, the sanding is done to remove the coating.
  • Step 3: Once you have achieved the dull finish, you will have to switch to the sandpaper with a higher grit count. Repeat the sanding until you achieve a satiny finish from the dull finish.
  • Step 4: After sanding is done, it is best recommended that you wipe clean the headlight with a clean cloth. If you find the surface has too much harsh material, pour some water and then wipe the surface.

3. Polishing

Polishing a car headlight is one of the most complicated cleaning methods that you could do to keep your car headlight look clean as new. Some of the prerequisites for buffing compound, microfiber, plastic adhesive, and grease. Here is how to do the polishing.

  • Step 1: Once you have decided to polish the car headlights, you will have first to purchase a buffing compound. Remember, the polishing should be done only after the sanding is completed. We recommend that you go for aluminum polishing compounds over others. If you are looking for a temporary solution, we recommend that you consider blue toothpaste that does not have peroxide in it.
  • Step 2: Now on a microfiber, apply the buffing compound and then select a specific section of your headlight. Scrub the compound on this space and then move the cloth in a circular motion for maximum buffing compound spread.If you are using a device to do the buffing, then we recommend that you start with a medium speed and then reduce the speed eventually.
  • Step 3: The buffing should be done in a circular motion to cover the maximum area, you could stop the buffing once you have achieved a clear headlight.Remember, buffing should be done carefully, never rush.
  • Step 4: After the buffing is completed, the headlight would boast clarity and freshness. However, the method does not end there, if you want a long-lasting clarity, then you should consider coating the headlight with clear-coat. It is best recommended that you go for more than one coating, as it could increase the lifespan comparatively more.

Bottom line –

As mentioned above, cleaning the headlights of a car involves several steps; however, these could be avoided if the headlights are regularly cleaned while washing the car and avoiding parking in extreme sunlight. On the other hand, if you are not in a position to follow such instructions, methods like sanding and polishing would help you clean the headlight.

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