Having your car’s headlight get hazy and yellow is a problem. They look terrible, yes, but the real problem is they can make it dangerous to drive at night. The good news is that there are some great DYI headlight restoration tips that are cheap and effective.
- Use some toothpaste. Buy a cheap tube of toothpaste from the dollar store. You do not want any toothpaste that has crystals in it. Get a rag and bucket of water. Put some of the toothpaste on the rag and then scrub your headlight with that until you have the desired results. Rinse. Some people repeat this process a few times until it looks clear. Others will apply the toothpaste and then let it sit for a few minutes and then rub it off. You can try all to determine what works for. This is a simple yet affective DIY headlight restoration option.
- Try vinegar. Take a large bucket and add distilled white vinegar. Take your headlight cover off of your car and drop it in the bucket. You can leave it in there or remove it, just make sure it is totally covered in the vinegar. You need to let the vinegar sit for at least an hour, if you think your headlight is really dirty, you can leave it on longer than that. Rinse and dry the headlight and put it back on your car. This is a more labor intensive DIY headlight restoration method but it is cheap.
- Try insect repellent. This is one of the more popular of the DIY headlight restoration techniques. Get some insect repellent that has DEET in it. You can get this almost anywhere. Spray the insect repellent on a rag. Do NOT spray it on the car directly. Most bug sprays can be very damaging to your car’s paint job. Scrub the headlight until you get the results you are looking for. You may have to stop and respray your rag a few times and keep wiping until the headlight is clear. Use a clean rag to wipe everything away. Rinse the headlight with water and wipe dry.
- Use metal or plastic polish. This method is best if your problems with your headlight haziness are due more to scratches than to grime. Read all of the instructions that come with the polish. Rinse and dry as directed.
- Use some sandpaper. This can be a risky way to do this and you should be careful with the kind of sandpaper you use. The finer kinds, like those that are included in a DIY headlight lens restoration kit may work but you should still be really careful as you can damage the headlight cover. Scrub the headlight gently, rinse with water and wipe with a clean and dry rag.
- Get a headlight renewal kit. These are some of the most commonly used products and are very simple to use. While the price tag of $15 is more than you will spend at the dollar store on toothpaste, it is still less than what you will spend if you take your care to a professional to have your headlights cleaned and restored. It does take about an hour to clean your headlights with one of the readily available kits.
- If after you have tried one or more of the DIY headlight restoration methods and your car headlights are still looking hazy or cloudy you should consider taking your car to a professional. These people will be able to do a much better job than you can do at home, though the DIY methods can help keep your car’s headlights clean and clear between professional cleanings.
The look of your headlights is not the real reason to be concerned. At night, there are are at least 60% less cars and trucks on the road yet more than 40% of all motor vehicle crashes that result in fatalities take place after dark. A recent study put out by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute showed that there are 2,300 pedestrians killed every year by drivers who could not see well at night. One way to have better visibility when driving is to have clean and clear headlights.