Why Are My Headlights Cloudy?

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Why Are My Headlights Cloudy?

You have probably at some point have noticed a car’s cloudy headlights. This means they are faded, yellowed, or old. It’s actually very common and it can happen to lenses that are made of plastic after being exposed to direct sunlight for years.

Many times, it’s possible to restore your headlights to near-factory condition without the hassle of installing a new set. If you are beginning to appear cloudy or yellowy, do a simple car wash to start. If after the car wash they are still looking discolored, it may be time to give it a nice restoration.

head lights

What Makes Headlights Cloudy?

  • Oxidation: Headlights made from acrylic oxidize when they are exposed to UV light. The lenses often come with a clear top coat to prevent this, but it wears off and direct sunlight turns the plastic yellow.
  • Flying debris: Headlights get damaged by gravel, road salt, and other debris that might get picked up as you drive. All of this wears the topcoat down and scratches your headlights.
  • Dirt and chemicals: A thin layer of them will form on the lenses after years of driving. It will create an opaque layer that will dim the beam coming out of your headlights.
  • Water vapor: Headlights are made with a watertight seal, but this seal can break by usage. This is when condensation forms inside the lenses and there is no way of wiping it.

How to Prevent Cloudy Headlights Turning Yellow

  • Park your car in the shade: Park your car in the garage if you can or under a shady tree. If you can’t try and face the headlights away from the sun.
  • Wash your car: wash the headlights with automotive soap every three months to clean any chemicals and dirt.
  • Polish the headlights: you can use a non-abrasive polish and a microfiber cloth and remove any early signs of yellowing.

Restoration Should Be Done Professionally

Sometimes the best tools and techniques make all the difference, and this is one of those times. There can be many home remedies out there for polishing headlights, but they can harm the paint and trim down components around the headlight.

Many people even use insect repellent to restore their headlights but they are actually damaging the lens’s surface. Unlike polishes, this method chemically melts the headlight lens so that when you polish it with a cloth or paper towel, you’re actually rubbing the molten plastic into a smoother finish. This is very bad. This will attract even more dirt and impurities that can make the finish look old and dull again within a couple of days.

Toothpaste polishing is another popular do-it-yourself method. But this type of abrasive is not specified for lens material (which is much softer than tooth enamel). And, it can prematurely wear down the surface, shortening lens life.

Professional Restoration Lasts Longer

Professional restorers can really make the job better by applying a UV-resistant clear coat on the polished lens. This keeps harmful ultraviolet rays from discoloring the plastic, like sunscreen for headlights. Professional restorers can avoid damage to seals, chrome, and the lens by using the right products and methods. Restoring your headlights can make a really big difference in their look and functionality.

Restore Your Hazy Headlights with Help from Sudden Impact Auto

You now know what makes headlights fog,  and it’s clear that the best option for you is professional headlight restoration. Let the team at Sudden Impact Auto restore your headlights to like-new condition. Our results are long-lasting for safer nighttime driving. Contact us today at  702-457-3002 to schedule headlight restoration services.