It happens to everyone. The dreaded foggy headlight. Not only do they look ugly, but a severely hazy headlight can reduce visibility by 50%. With reduced visibility by 50% you are risking your safety, and the safety of other drivers, and you can get a ticket from the police. Luckily, foggy headlights can be cleaned very easily. Did you know that you can clean your headlights with WD40?
Before I tell you my trick about cleaning the headlights with WD40, let’s see what makes your headlights foggy.
What Makes Your Headlights Foggy
So let’s dive into what makes your car’s headlights foggy. To be honest with you, just about everything will make your car’s headlights foggy or hazy. Here are some of the biggest factors why your headlights are foggy:
Oxidation is normally a reaction between oxygen and iron, but it happens with plastic too. Simply put, oxidation is any chemical reaction where loss of electrons is involved. In order to prevent oxidation, all new headlights come with a clear top coat. Eventually, this coat will wear off and then the sunlight will turn your plastic headlights yellow. You can maintain your headlight cleanliness by applying a clear top coat on your headlights every 3 months.
Condensation is a serious issue when it comes to headlights. This is something that you simply cannot prevent. As I said before, the headlight cover is made out of plastic. When you turn on your headlights, the light bulb gets hot. Manufacturers had to come up with something to release this heat coming from the inside and they made a small opening on the back of the headlights. This small opening is responsible for getting water into the headlights.
Everyday your headlights are exposed to road debris. At winter times, the roads are full with salt and we all know the damage that salt causes to our vehicles. Then you have the dirt and rocks all year around. All of the above gets pushed on your headlights and creates scratches on the clear top coat of your headlights and makes the coat to wear off eventually.
As I mentioned before, all new headlights come with a clear top coat which protects the headlights plastic from UV lights. This top coat has a lifetime. The lifetime of the coat depends on what chemicals you use when you wash your car. If you are using some strong chemicals, you will damage your top coat faster. You might not be in a position to control oxidation, condensation or road debris, but you are in a position to control what kind of chemicals you use to wash your car.
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How To Clean Headlights With WD40
This is how to clean your headlights with WD40 and restore them the original clean look just by following the 6 steps below:
1. Clean your headlights with water.
Before you start, you need to make sure that your headlights don’t have any dirt or little rocks on them which will cause scratches as soon as you start wiping with your towel. So, spray your headlights with water. It’s better if you have a pressure washer, but even a simple water hose will do the trick.
2. Wipe your headlights with a towel.
After you spray your headlights with water, it is important to wipe it with a clean cloth or towel paper. The headlights surface needs to be dry for the next step. Also, probably there would be a stubborn dirt on the headlights that built up over the years so make sure you wipe it clean.
3. Sand your headlights with a Sandpaper (600).
This step is optional, but I recommend it. I wrote 600 grit, but you can use higher grit than that. It all depends on how foggy your headlight is. I always start sanding in a corner just to see how it will turn out.
4. Spray your headlight with WD40.
Spray your headlight with WD40 and leave it for 1 minute. Please note that WD40 has a shelf life of 5 years. You might not be happy with the results if you use WD40 older than 5 years. Get one on amazon.com.
5. Wipe your headlight with a clean towel.
Make sure that you use a clean towel or any of the steps above will be for nothing. If your skin is sensitive to chemicals like WD40, please use gloves. Wipe the headlight until you are satisfied with the look. If you followed the previous steps, you should be able to see a clean headlight in 15-20 seconds. Get a microfiber towel on amazon.com.
6. This should be your result.
If this is not your result, please do it all over again. Maybe this time you should try a sandpaper with a lower grit.
How To Maintain Your Headlights Cleanliness
Of course, there are some ways you can maintain your headlights to delay these negative effects.
One of the simplest ways to make sure your headlights don’t turn foggy is by simply parking your car in the shade. I know that it’s not possible to always find a parking space in the shade, but if you can choose from a parking space with shade and without shade, make the smart choice. This way you will keep your headlights from the UV light. I bought a car cover few months back, and I am more than happy with it. Check it out on amazon.com
Your second priority to maintain your headlights cleanliness is washing your headlights with automotive soap at least every three months. If you are washing your car at the local car wash, you don’t know which kind of soap they are using. It could be a good one, or it could be a bad one. That’s why its important that you wash your headlights with a decent soap every 2-3 months. I bought mine on amazon.com.
The last thing you need to do to maintain your headlight cleanliness is to make sure you’re polishing your headlights with a polish and a microfiber cloth to get any of the yellowing. I use the headlight restoration kit from 3M. You can check it out on amazon.com.