Most people know they need to clean their windshield: it becomes a pretty obvious problem when you can’t see the road in front of you! But did you know why you also should clean your headlights?
Today, we’re explaining why you should take a look at your neglected headlights, how you should clean them, and when it’s time for replacement lights. Keep reading to learn what you need to know!
Why You Need to Clean Car Headlights
There are a lot of things that can dirty your headlights: dirt, dust, bugs, tar, salt, air pollution, car wash chemicals, and even UV light from the sun can all degrade the plastic lenses! Over time, headlights can become dirty, cloudy, scuffed, and yellowed.
When this happens, the light from the headlight’s bulbs won’t shine through the lenses as brightly, even if you just bought new bulbs. That means dim headlights—a big safety hazard when you’re driving at night or through fog.
Keeping your car headlights clean is just as important as keeping your windshield clean. Clear headlights not only let you see the road; they also let other drivers see you!
How to Clean Your Headlights
We recommend cleaning your headlights whenever they get dirty. Simple! If the rest of your car is dirty, you can bet your headlights are, too.
If the dirt isn’t too bad, you can just quickly wipe them down. If your headlights are really dirty, it’s a good idea to dedicate a few extra minutes to them.
First, use painter’s tape to seal around the edges of your headlights. (This protects your car’s paint from any cleaning products you use: cleaning products can cause fading or discoloration.) Then, use a window cleaner and a rag to really scrub all of the dirt and grime off your headlights. When you finish, carefully remove the tape.
Clean your headlights regularly, and you’ll be much safer on the road!
If a thorough cleaning doesn’t budge the cloudiness of your headlights, it’s because the plastic lenses have degraded. When this happens, it’s time to restore your headlights.
You can go to the pros to restore your headlights, or you can go the DIY route. To restore headlights yourself, you’ll need to buy a headlight restoration kit and follow the instructions carefully. (Headlight restoration involves sanding off the scratched, cloudy layer of plastic, and you don’t want to accidentally ruin your headlights or your car’s paint.)
When to Replace Your Car Headlights
Eventually, cleaning your headlights won’t be enough. The bulbs will burn out (or dim too much), or the plastic will degrade too much to restore. When this happens, you’ll need to repair or replace your headlights.
If a bulb burns out, that’s a simple enough fix: just buy and install new bulbs. We recommend replacing both headlights when one burns out. (You might think this is overkill, but it’s important that the light in front of your car is even for safety!)
If the plastic lenses of the headlights degrade beyond repair, you’ll need to replace them. Like with bulbs, we recommend replacing both at once.
Need Help with Your Car Headlights?
If you don’t have the time or inclination to restore or replace your car’s headlights by yourself, you can always count on Jack’s Glass!
We’re here to help you get back on the road, fully lit. Call us today for a free quote.