Headlights are an essential component in every single car. They serve a very practical purpose; showing us the way during the night. While it’s obvious that headlights reduce nighttime accidents, research has shown they can reduce accidents in the day as well.
Keeping headlights on all the time reduces the number of accidents overall. It reduces pedestrian accidents by 12%, motorcycle accidents by 23%, and vehicle accidents by 5.7%. Because headlights play such an essential role in keeping people safe, it is important to keep your headlights clean and running.
Foggy Headlights Are a Hazard
If headlights are fogged up and faded, they represent a hazard at night as well as in the day. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 9 out of 10 cars have “dirty or yellow headlights.” Foggy headlights can reduce light output by almost 95%, drastically reducing vehicle visibility.
To avoid accidents, here are a few easy ways you can clean car headlights:
Toothpaste and Baking Soda
This is the easiest way you can restore car headlights. You’ll need:
- Baking Soda
- Spray Bottle
Begin by adding baking soda to your toothpaste and mix well. This increases the whitening effect of the mixture. Apply the paste to the headlights by hand. Then, use a toothbrush to work the paste properly into the light. Spray the headlight with warm water and clean off the paste with a cloth. A paper towel will also do the trick.
Dry the headlight off completely and cover it with wax. This is to keep the plastic from immediately getting dingy again. The wax forms a protective layer that will keep the headlight clean for as long as possible. Then, wipe off the wax completely with a cloth.
Sandpaper and Polishing Compound
For this, you’ll need:
- Wet and Dry Sandpaper (1000, 2000, or 3000 grits)
- Polishing Compound
- Paste Wax
- UV Sealant
- Blue Painter’s Tape
- Microfiber Towels
- Spray Bottle
First, wash your headlight lenses with soap and water. Make sure you get the surrounding areas clear of dust. Use painter’s tape to block the surroundings of the headlights.
Use 1000-grit sandpaper for this step. Wet the sandpaper and the headlight, then sand it with straight, horizontal strokes. Make sure you don’t go against the grain. Keep the surface wet with a spray bottle as you work to prevent scratching.
Repeat with 2000 and 3000 grit sandpapers. Sand the headlight diagonally this time, the opposite direction from before.
Dry headlights and apply a polishing compound with microfiber towels. Use a circular motion for a few minutes. This should clear up the lenses. Then, apply paste wax for a protective layer.
In the next step, wipe off the wax and apply a UV sealant. Since the sandpaper scraped the previous sealant off, you need to reapply a fresh coat. This keeps the lenses from hazing.
If you apply these two techniques, then your headlights will look good as new and keep you safe on the roads!