Headlights seem a bit dull? The last thing you need on a dark and stormy night is a pair of fuzzy beams to guide you. Before you head to a professional repairer for a fix or replacement, we’ve got some DIY tricks to keep your car headlights clean and sparkling. We’ve also got the low-down on how to restore your headlights if they need extra attention.
Getting the sparkle back
If your headlights have become oxidised (yellow or foggy), try baking soda for a quick remedy. Put about 5 tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl with enough warm water to form a paste. Keep your car headlights clean with soap and water, then apply the baking soda paste to your headlights with the corner of your sponge or a microfibre cloth (don’t use anything abrasive on your lights or they’ll get worse). Remove with clean, soapy water after a few minutes, and polish your headlights with a clean cloth using small circular motions to finish.
Another handy household treatment is the use of Coca Cola. Pour a can of Coke into a spray bottle, apply a liberal amount of Coke onto your headlights, and let it sit for 30 seconds. Use a dry, soft cloth to wipe the headlights clean.
Tougher tricks for tougher jobs
Dirtier or more damaged headlights need craftier cleaning solutions. If your headlights are heavily oxidised (and something like baking soda doesn’t cut it) – WD40 or toothpaste are your next options.
For the toothpaste treatment, dampen a clean, soft cloth, add a dab of toothpaste, and firmly rub the surface of your headlights with the toothpaste-laden cloth in small circles. Add more water and toothpaste as needed, and spend up to five minutes cleaning each light, before washing with soapy water and polishing. WD40 gets rid of headlight haze and is an easy trick to try. Wash the headlight with soapy water, then shake a can of WD40 (or any silicone-based lubricant) and spray it onto the headlight. Wipe off with a clean rag.
Headlights too far gone? Restoration DIY
If your headlights aren’t back to their former glory yet, you’ll need to venture outside your home for a professional-grade headlight restoration kit or some replacement headlights. The headlight restoration kits include an abrasive polishing compound and sandpaper discs, which will remove the outer layer of damage by going a bit deeper into the surface of your headlights. It’s important to follow the instructions carefully so that you don’t damage your headlights even more.
Replacing your headlights is always a job for a qualified repairer. Modern headlights, in particular, can have complex electrics, and doing a dodgy job can do more damage than good, as well as put you and others on the road in danger if they malfunction.
Though our DIY tricks are easy, too much time spent cleaning your headlights may be a sign you need a new ride. Check out some of the great dealer new and used late models available on Gumtree.