Why Do Headlights Get Hazy?

ATV Headlights

Image via Flickr by somegeeki

Hazy headlights are unsightly, but more importantly they interfere with the quality of light coming through from the headlamps. The majority of headlights are made of plastic. Over extended periods of time and usage, the polycarbonate plastic breaks down, resulting in that familiar hazy look. Left untreated, headlights can also develop small cracks and pits, making them difficult to fix.

Wash It Clean

The first step to restoring your headlights and removing that hazy effect is to wash the entire vehicle, with special focus on those headlights. This removes any dirt or stains and makes the process of fully remedying the issue easier to handle.

Tape It Up

After your ride is clean, tape off the area around each headlight with blue painter's tape. Be sure to remove anything around the headlight such as trim before you get to taping. If you don't, the later steps will damage your finish.

Start Sanding

You'll be using a 1,000-grit wet/dry sandpaper for this step. First, dip your sandpaper in cold water for 10 minutes or so. This helps the sandpaper better conform to your material and lessens the likelihood of creating scratches. After soaking, sand the headlight lens gently. Always move your sandpaper in one direction and keep the surface wet while you're sanding.

Don't stop sanding until all the pits, scratches, and fading or darkening of the plastic are gone. This takes patience and shouldn't be rushed. Dry with a towel and check the sanded area to make sure the sanding quality is even.

Polish It

Apply polish to the headlight next by putting it directly on the surface of the headlight and rubbing in a circular motion. This is another step that will take some time, so don't rush it.

If your headlight was only lightly foggy to begin with, you could try to use just polish instead of sanding and see how that works for you.

Dangers of Hazy Headlights

Most of the time, owners don't even notice they have hazy headlights on their ATV, bike, or scooter. But hazy headlights means lower visibility to others out on the road or trail, which means a higher likelihood of accidents and injury. So, regular upkeep on your headlights is strongly encouraged.

Taking the time to address a less functional light will make your ATV, bike, or scooter much safer for yourself and those around you. Your vehicle of choice is an investment. Protecting it is as simple as making time and putting the effort into maintaining a top-notch vehicle.

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