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4 Care Tips for Maintaining Your Vehicle’s Headlights

4 Care Tips for Maintaining Your Vehicle's Headlights

If you love your car, then you most likely want to do everything within your power to preserve its appearance and ensure it is as safe as possible. One big part of maintenance is ensuring your vehicle’s headlights are clean and safe to use.

With the right headlight care tips, vehicle owners can keep their headlights in good condition, which often allows them to last more than a decade without developing any serious concerns. The following is an overview of effective, easy and routine headlight care tips for your vehicle’s headlights.

How to care for your vehicle’s headlights

There are headlight care tips that vehicle owners can do to get the most out of their headlights. Through simple routine maintenance tasks, you can ensure your headlights look great, work well and last for more than a decade. Most notably, vehicle owners should inspect and clean their headlights, repair damage and promptly address issues with oxidation.

Inspect your headlights regularly

It is encouraged to check your headlights at least once a week for signs of any concerns. This ensures that you catch complications early and can work towards prompt repair. Otherwise, the concern may worsen and cause more complex aesthetic or safety concerns.

One of the main issues to check for is the early signs of oxidation. These issues include excessive dirt and grime buildup on the headlight lenses and a clouded look. If these issues exist, then you can possibly clean them off with just soap and water. For more severe concerns, you may need to try home remedies for defogging.

It is also helpful to check for signs of damage such as chips and cracks. While larger signs of damage are obvious, inspecting the headlights closely for minor chips and cracks and working towards a repair may prevent the need for replacement.

Lastly, you should inspect for signs of dimness. Dim headlights are typically the result of foggy, clouded or oxidized headlights or headlight bulbs that are going out. If the headlights appear clean and are not damaged, simply changing the headlight bulbs might be all that is needed.

Routine headlights cleaning

The best way to deal with moderate to severe issues with your headlights is through preventive care. Through routine cleanings, you can get rid of dirt and grime buildup on your headlights. This not only keeps your headlights looking great, but it also reduces the risk of them appearing cloudy or becoming oxidized, which makes driving safer.

You can keep your headlights clean by using soap and water. Routine cleaning of your headlights should only take 10-15 minutes at most, whereas cleaning for more severe concerns can take much longer. To clean, you can either use a simple washcloth or gently go over the headlights with a scrub brush.

If headlights are foggy and the issue is not resolved through soap and water, then you may need a more extensive solution. The most common remedies for defogging headlights include vinegar and baking soda. They can often remove residue that cannot be removed by soap and water. Toothpaste may work as well.

If cleaning your headlights with vinegar or baking soda does not work, then you may need a  professional cleaning or a new replacement headlight set.

Repair damage promptly

The longer headlights remain damaged the harder it is to deal with the concern. Minor damage such as early signs of oxidation is often reversible, whereas more severe damage often leads to a need for complete headlight replacement. Of course, there are many ways in which headlights can become damaged. In addition to oxidation, headlights may need replacement due to chips and cracks. This may result from a minor fender bender,  a golf ball striking the headlight or another type of accident.

Minor damage can be repaired in some instances, but it is also important to replace headlights that are beyond repair. This includes most headlights that are damaged. If they are severely oxidized to a point where cleaning them does not fix the concern, then replacement is necessary as well.

It is important to promptly repair the damage or promptly seek a replacement set if the damage is severe to ensure a safe driving experience. Otherwise, it may make it more challenging to see the road and other drivers clearly. Damaged headlights will cause the car to not look as good either, which is a concern for many owners.

Address issues of oxidation

Oxidation is one of the leading reasons vehicle owners need to replace their headlights. The tricky part about oxidation is that it happens slowly over time, so the car owner may not notice the concern if they do not regularly inspect their headlights. Also, the early issues of oxidation are detected and treated the less risk there is of it becoming permanent.

As discussed, oxidation may first appear as being dirty or cloudy and worsen over time. Although headlights will most likely become oxidized over enough time, the process can be slowed by keeping them clean and protected from excessive sunlight exposure.

If concerns of oxidation do develop, then car owners may be able to reverse the oxidation with a headlight lens restoration kit. If this does not work, however, then owners should consider a replacement set if the oxidation creates a safety concern or leads to an undesirable appearance of the vehicle.

Invest in a quality headlight set

You should be able to keep newer headlights looking great and lighting up the road the way they should for years by following effective headlight care tips. However, another primary factor that dictates how long your headlights last is the quality. A low-quality and outdated set of headlights naturally will not look as good or hold up as well long-term as a new and improved replacement set.

Our sister company Headlights Depot offers quality headlights for hundreds of car models. If your headlights are excessively dim, outdated, damaged or oxidized and want more attractive and safe headlights, then feel free to browse through Headlight Depot for your new headlight set.

Aaron Westbury
Aaron is a content writer with a passion for cars. He enjoys learning new things and loves to share what he learns with others. Aaron also has a Bachelor's in English and years of experience as a writer, and he constantly seeks to improve and make his writing more informative and helpful for readers. Although a writer by day, Aaron enjoys his free time by getting outdoors and staying active anyway he can.

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    9 Comments

    1. It is important to realize your headlights are a wear and tear item and are subject to oxidation no matter what you do. They will not last forever. If you have an older vehicle, especially 15+ years, a headlight replacement may be needed. Restoration kicks can only do so much.

    2. And, over time, just maintenance will not be enough. Headlights will change color and fade with time, forcing you to have to replace them.

    3. Great Advice! I gotta try this out!

    4. When it comes to headlights upkeep oxidation is the most common issue that creeps up without you noticing sometimes. For up keep you should always take proper steps to make sure your headlights are visible when on. Easy cleanings to remember is baking soda, toothpaste, bug spray. Before applying any of these test it first so you dont cause more damage being that some products might be more harmful than others.

    5. These tips are super simple and easy to keep your headlights in tip top shape. Taking a few minutes out of your week to give your headlights a little attention really goes a long way.

    6. When dealing with an older car, it may not just be your lens that is reducing your light output, With time the chrome inside your headlight also breaks down causing you to have less light output.

    7. You can clean and polish dirt and oxidation from the lens of your headlights many times before they wear out. Eventually, the best option is a replacement when you have reached a point of no return for the materials the lights are made from. Plastic will break down and become brittle over time, no matter what you do.

    8. It’s amazing what a new set of headlights will do for you if you’re current headlights are faded. You will definitely look better, and drive safer!

    9. This article is very informative. Regular inspection of your headlights is a must! The headlight is the first thing that should be checked to avoid any accidents and to help people drive safer. I will definitely be applying these tips.

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