Most people only know how to keep the body of their cars clean and shiny. Have you ever thought about headlight maintenance, and how proper maintenance and cleaning can help improve their performance? While you may be thinking that the car’s headlights are working just fine as long as they power on when you need them, proper maintenance is essential to ensure they lit and shine properly on the road while you’re driving in the dark, especially at night.

1. Short term and quick-cleaning tips

Do you see some fogginess and yellowing on the headlights? UV rays can cause the lenses to appear foggy or yellow over time and lead to impaired visibility while driving at night. The quick and short term solution that really works is the use of toothpaste! Toothpastes that have plaque-removing chemicals are the most recommended type as they work best in dealing with your headlamps’ oxidation. All you need is a sponge, a clean cloth, masking tape and toothpaste! You have to do this in a slow, circular manner to get the best result. Rinse it with clean water and dry it off with the clean cloth. As this is only a short term solution, it may only last for 2 to 4 months.


2. Long term but rougher cleaning tips

An alternative but longer-lasting cleaning method is to do it rough with the sandpaper! Sandpaper might sound a little too harsh, but this method is the best if you want a long-lasting result. All you need is a 400 to 600 (depending on how cloudy they are) and 2,000 grit sandpapers, a bucket of water, masking tape, a clear coat, rubbing alcohol and a dry cloth. Wet your headlights with clean water and damp the 400 (or 600) grit sander. Sand the headlight in small circles, portion after portion until you cover the entire thing while continuously splashing right amounts of water. Dry it with a clean cloth and clean it with rubbing alcohol. Wipe it off with a tissue before applying the clear coat after covering the surrounding area with newspaper and masking tape. Your car’s headlights will look brand new after drying it out for a day!


3. Replace headlights on time

Headlight bulbs naturally dim over time and need to be replaced over time. If your headlight lenses are clear but its lighting seems to be dim, it may be time to replace the bulbs. This is crucial not only for compliances reasons, but also important for safety reasons as you don’t want to be left helplessly driving in the dark. Check out our articles on other indications of the need to get your car’s headlights replaced!


4. Adjusting the headlights

Over time, bulbs can become misaligned and end up pointing too high, too low or off to one side. Be sure to regularly check your headlight bulbs to see if they are centered correctly and pointing towards the road. To perform the check, drive your car as close as possible to a plain-colored wall and turn on the headlights. Mark the center of where each light beam hits the wall with masking tapes. Reverse your car about 12 inches while keeping the headlights on. The most intense portion of the light beam should be at the center of the marked point if the bulbs are set properly. You may check your owner’s manual for details on adjusting your car’s headlights.


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