Most headlights manufactured today are made from polycarbonate or plastic material. It is, therefore, typically less expensive, easier to style, and lighter than glass, thus making it a more popular choice. The bad thing is that when these polycarbonate headlights are exposed to the light from the lenses, they heat up easily and expand. The expansion causes pores in the plastic headlight to become bigger. The expanded pores allow different elements like wind, moisture from the air, light, and dust to enter and pile up on the surface of the headlights. The whole process is called oxidation. It makes your headlights foggy and light that is supposed to come out of it becomes dimmer. Not only is it an eyesore, it can also be dangerous when you are traveling along a poorly-lit road at night. Here are some ways of getting rid of those foggy oxidized headlights.
If you can afford it, you always have the choice of having it repaired professionally. Just go to the auto shop or auto dealer where you purchased the car. Have them clean your headlights or install a new batch. This kind of service would cost you from a few hundred to a thousand bucks.
For people on a tight budget, you can accomplish the same tasks with some effort and with the help of supplies from auto repair shops near your place. The quick easy steps would include: sanding, rubbing and waxing.
Sanding. For sanding, you will need sandpaper of different grits and a bucket of water. It is up to you to choose from the 600, 800, 1000, and 2000 grit sandpaper or a combination of any. Immerse the sandpaper in the water. You can start with the coarsest sandpaper and gradually move to the finer one. Before performing the sanding, secure the surroundings of the headlights to avoid scratches and paint from tearing off. Sand the headlight cover in a circular motion. Make sure that the sand paper is adequately soaked in water as you go along the process so you would not damage the headlights. Do the sanding until your headlights are satisfactorily clear of the piled-up particles.
Rubbing. For the next part, you will need some rubbing compound and rags. Both can be bought in sets at auto repair shops. Choose flannel or any other soft rag. Again, this is to avoid scratching the headlights or any part of the car. Wipe the compound on the surface of the headlights in circular motion until the foggy appearance of the sanded headlights is gone.
Waxing. The last step would be waxing. This would conclude the cleaning of your headlights. It would be the same process as the rubbing. Only this time, you would be using a coat of special car wax. This is intended to protect your headlights from hasty oxidation after cleaning them.
When purchasing the materials, take note of the quality so that they would have a longer lasting effect on your headlights. Sometimes, cheap fixes can worsen the problem and make you end up spending more than is necessary.
Of course, prevention is better than cure. So, to prevent oxidation of your headlights the next time, make an effort to park your car in a shaded area or inside a garage if possible. This would lessen the heating effect on the plastic headlights and, thus, lessen oxidation. Take time to maintain and regularly check your headlights as well. You could do the three quick-fix steps mentioned. A three-month interval is advisable.