Freshly cleaned headlight on a Silver Toyota Corolla in Westbury, NY.

Defog Your Headlights with These Four Simple Tips

Posted at Fri, May 17, 2019 10:45 AM

Clear and bright headlights are crucial when it comes to driving safely, and that’s why it’s imperative for vehicle owners to know how to keep their headlights defogged and dehazed. It might sound like a complicated procedure, but there are a few methods that aren’t that difficult to do on your own. Our experts here at Westbury Toyota have put together a quick and easy to understand list of tips you can follow to ensure that the headlights on your Toyota are always bright and shining just like new.

Get Your Lights Shining Brighter by Sanding

A tried and true method of getting your headlights back to normal is to simply sand down the clouded surface of your headlights. This is a fix that will cost you less than $20.00 and will have a lasting effect. With fine sandpaper, rub away the cloudiness on the headlight surface. Once that’s done, you can refinish the light by thoroughly applying a polishing compound and rubbing with a microfiber cloth.

Polish Your Headlights with Denatured Alcohol

Another reliable method of defogging your headlights, says David Galloway of Lifehacker, is using denatured alcohol to polish them. Denatured alcohol is most commonly found in nail polish remover and can be purchased in almost any kind of hardware store among the painting supplies. This is definitely one of the easiest ways to defog your headlights – and also one of the cheapest! All you need to do is soak a rag in denatured alcohol and then use it to polish the headlights for several minutes at a time, exerting constant and firm pressure. Keep in mind that the headlights may still look foggy until the alcohol evaporates, so be sure to give it 15 to 20 minutes to achieve the desired results.

Brighten the Night with Toothpaste

It might sound a little ridiculous, but toothpaste is actually an effective way to get your headlights to shine brightly again. Toothpaste is a method of polishing, and it works by reducing the haze left on your headlights via the dings and scratches that are accumulated from everyday road exposure. All you need to do is clean the headlight completely, apply the toothpaste and rub it in, and then buff either by hand or with a buffer tool for an electric drill.

Improve Illumination with Wet-Sanding

One of the most effective ways of defogging your headlights is via the process of wet-sanding. This undertaking involves washing the headlights, sanding them with some kind of abrasive instrument, buffing, and then polishing. There are wet-sanding kits available on retail sites such as Amazon, but if you’d prefer to save a bit of money, here’s a list of the easy-to-find tools you need for the wet-sanding process:

  • Water and soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Masking tape (use it to protect the vehicle paint around surrounding the headlight)
  • Abrasive compound
  • Polishing compound
  • Microfiber cloth

If you’re nervous about undertaking this process yourself, you don’t need to be. As Jolie Kerr of Jalopnik points out, it’s quite easy to do on your own, which means you’ll be able to save money and acquire another car maintenance DIY skill.

Maintain Driving Safety

Poor headlight illumination adds unnecessary risk to your daily commutes, particularly during the evening or on days with inclement weather. You can pay to have your headlights refinished, of course, but if you’re okay with DIY methods and keen on saving a few bucks, the list of tips our Westbury Toyota team has put together above is definitely worth considering. Bright lights mean safer driving, so make sure to defog your headlights whenever needed to ensure that they’re up to standard.

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