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How to Clean Car Headlights

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Headlights are a vitally important component of any car. Not only do they allow you to drive in the dark without bumping into everything, they also make you visible to other motorists. If they’re dirty, their ability to do these things diminishes, which can soon create a critical safety issue.

If your car is reasonably new and the headlights look clear (you should be able to easily see the gubbins inside through the lens), you’re in luck – cleaning your headlights will be super quick and easy. Own a car that’s a little older though, and you may find that its headlight lenses are ‘cloudy’ or ‘foggy,’ preventing you from being able to clearly see through them.

This, of course, also prevents some of the light generated by your headlight bulbs from making it onto the road. Leave it long enough and your car is likely to fail its MOT as a consequence (and you’ll notice your headlights’ effectiveness is significantly reduced).

Want to know how to bring your cloudy headlights back to their former glory? Read on for a step-by-step guide.

Begone, dirt!:

To begin with, clean your headlights and the surrounding bodywork thoroughly using car shampoo and water, just like when you wash your car. You can use a microfibre cloth or wash mitt to comprehensively rid your headlights of surface grime and loose dirt.

Once you’re done, make sure you dry them totally with a clean cloth; any moisture left on the lights will reduce the effectiveness of your chosen restoration product.

Restore foggy headlights:

There are an overwhelming number of ways to remedy foggy headlights. From household products like toothpaste and baking soda through to off-the-shelf restoration kits from companies like Autoglym, there are plenty of different routes you can take here.

If your headlights aren’t too terrible and you’d just like to give them a quick spruce up, we’d recommend opting for a cheap and cheerful home remedy like toothpaste. If you’re a bit of a perfectionist though – or you want quick and easy results – you’ll likely find the £15-£30 cost of a dedicated headlight restoration kit to be a worthwhile investment.

Get stuck in:

First, tape off the areas surrounding the light to prevent any damage being done to your car’s paint (and to avoid making a complete mess). You could also take the headlights off the car, but on many modern vehicles this is quite an ordeal and may be more hassle than it’s worth.

If you’re using toothpaste or baking soda, massage a generous amount of it into the light with an old towel or cloth. Using circular motions, polish the entire surface of the lens; move fairly rapidly and apply a little pressure – you don’t need to press too hard, though.

Once you’re confident you’ve covered the entire lens, simply rinse it with water and a clean cloth. You should notice an immediate improvement.

If you’ve opted for a dedicated headlight restoration kit, all of the instructions you’ll need will be in the box. Follow them to a tee and you should achieve excellent results.

It’s worth noting that neither fix is a permanent one, however. Often your headlights will turn cloudy again after six months or so, but you can slow this process down by regularly applying car wax to them.

If you want an even more permanent fix (and don’t mind doing a little extra work), you can spray clear paint over them for additional UV protection. Done correctly, your lights can then remain fog-free for a number of years.

Enjoy your hard work:

Now you can get out on the open road and enjoy driving at night a whole lot more. If you’re yet to pass your test, though, GoGoGo Intensive driving school Peterborough can help. Our five-day courses will help you get your licence in no time. Find out more today.

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