How to Clean Foggy Headlights

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How to Clean Foggy Headlights

If you drive a high-mileage vehicle, your headlights probably aren’t as clear as they used to be. All of that exposure to sunlight is tough on plastic, and over time it causes headlights to become foggy and yellowed. That doesn’t look very nice, and it isn’t very safe either. Foggy headlights don’t give off as much light as they should, and that really hurts your ability to see – and be seen – at night. In fact, Consumer Reports did a study, and found that foggy headlights can cut your visibility by as much as 80%. Yikes!

Fortunately, cleaning your headlights, can remove that foggy haze in a matter of minutes. My husband cleaned the headlights on our Jeep yesterday, and I documented the process, so you could see what was involved. Check it out.

Foggy Headlight

Here’s what our Jeep’s headlights looked like when he started. That’s 14 years of sun damage.

Note: My husband had the grill off the car because he was in the process of replacing our A/C compressor. You don’t have to remove your grill to clean your headlights. We just took advantage of it being off because it made it really easy to polish our round headlights.

Blue Magic Headlight Lens Restorer

He used Blue Magic Headlight Lens Restorer. I can’t claim any brand preference. He just happened to come across a bottle at a yard sale or estate sale, so that’s what he used.

Apply Lens Restorer with Sandpaper

The bottle recommended starting with 2000 grit sandpaper, if your headlights were really bad, so that’s what he did. He applied a small amount of the cleaner, then worked it into the headlights with the sandpaper, moving in a circular motion.

Headlight After Sanding

Here’s how one of the headlights looked after the first application. Not that impressive. But …

Second Application of Lens Cleaner

He applied a second coat of the cleaner, this time working it in with a soft cloth …

Restored Headlight

And this is how it looked afterwards. Pretty impressive, eh?

We have a lot of deer around our cabin, so having the extra visibility at night is a big deal. It’s safe to say we’ll be adding this to our yearly maintenance list.

Headlight Before and After

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  1. We have found cleaning our headlights makes a huge difference in visibility and safety. Maybe it’s because our cars are older, but the cleaning doesn’t seem to last more than a few months. I’d like to know how long it lasts for you!

    1. Yep, I’m curious to see how long it’ll last, too. They sell a separate sealer that’s supposed to make it last longer (haven’t tried it), Even if we have to repeat the process every few months, I’ll be good with that. I’ll have to do an update to let everyone know how long it lasts for us.

  2. That’s so funny. I was just rinsing the car off yesterday and thinking, “I wish I could do something about the headlights!” I really want to try this especially since the daylight hours will be getting shorter soon.

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