How To Clean Fogged Headlights

August 31, 2022

The Rolling Rig

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Have you noticed that the light coming from your semi truck headlights is less bright than it used to be, or that the lights themselves seem to be fogged? Headlights use polycarbonate lenses that can become cloudy over time.

Fogged headlights can be a major safety risk! The good news is that knowing how to clean fogged headlights is an effective way to prevent collisions, especially in low-visibility conditions or when driving at night.

Whether your truck uses halogen or LED headlights, cleaning headlights is a simple process that’s well worth your time! We’ve got the details in our step-by-step guide, below.

What Causes Fogged Headlights?

Headlight lenses are made from thick polycarbonate plastic because it is far more durable and scratch-resistant than the glasses lenses of yesteryear. However, these newer lenses degrade over time from UV exposure, causing them to absorb more blue light from the headlight bulbs and emit foggy yellowish light instead of bright white light.

But that’s not to say they’re damaged beyond repair! With the proper supplies, cleaning headlights can improve their brihtness and clarity. Next, we’ll take a look at how to clean fogged headlights step-by-step, and what products you can use for the process.

 Best Products for Cleaning Fogged Headlights

Most auto supply stores should carry supplies and products designed specifically for cleaning headlights. A “headlight lens restoration” kit will provide the most effective and speedy cleaning of fogged headlights—but it’s not strictly necessary. In a pinch, you can also use toothpaste, baking soda, or a polishing compound. (oddly enough Dryer sheets and a little water do a great job cleaning off bugs and tar may want to list this)

Once you have your cleaning solution, gather the following supplies before cleaning your fogged headlights:

  1. Clean rags or towels
  2. Latex gloves if you have sensitive skin
  3. Water for rinsing
  4. Soft-bristled brush
  5. Mild cleanser

How to Clean Fogged Headlights: Step-by-Step

Follow these steps for cleaning fogged headlights:

  1. Spray down your headlights with a mild cleanser and wipe any dirt and debris.
  2. Thoroughly dry the headlights with a clean towel.
  3. Generously apply headlight cleanser to the lenses. If using baking soda, mix with a small amount of water first to create a paste. Leave the cleanser on the lenses for several minutes, until it’s slightly dry.
  4. With the soft-bristled brush, work the cleanser into the lens surface using circular motions. Take care not to scratch the plastic surface.
  5. Wet a towel with water and rinse away the cleanser.
  6. If any bits of debris remain, spritz the lens with cleanser and polish dry with another clean towel.

Learn More About Semi Truck Maintenance with International Used Truck Center

That’s it—you should now have bright, white lights to illuminate the road ahead! If you like, you might even keep supplies for cleaning headlights in your truck along with other key maintenance and safety items. If you have any further questions about semi truck accessories and service, don’t hesitate to reach out—our team is here to help.

* UV yellowing can not fully be fixed since it happens on more than just the surface of the light. Light will need to be replaced.
* Leaking seal can be helped by drilling a hole in the lens so that the moisture can escape; however, this does compromise any integrity that the light may have had left and will result in premature failure of bulbs. Light will need to be replaced.

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International Used Truck Center 41.776180, -88.200918.