How to clean car headlights

How to clean car headlights

Don’t Get Caught Out: Failing Inspection Due to not Having Clean Car Headlights

Save yourself thousands of dollars when it comes to renewing your car rego and getting your pink slip approved. Make quick work of these inspections and avoid the headache. One of the common requirements for eSafety check approvals, is the criteria based on whether your headlights are in safe working order. Although it may seem like a small task, it can be awfully expensive if you don’t know what you are doing or what your options are.

Dirty headlights can reduce visibility, especially at night or in adverse weather conditions, which can lead to a failed inspection. It is always recommended to keep your car headlights clean and in proper working condition to pass the inspection.

before headlight restoration
How to clean car headlights 1

But first let’s cover the eSafety Check, otherwise known as the Pink Slip. It’s a mandatory pre-inspection that determines whether your car is in a road worthy condition and therefore safe to drive and for drivers around you. Inspection is generally for vehicles that are at least 5 years old and you will need to pass this to renew your car rego.

Don't waste your money on new headlights

before headlight restoration
after headlight restoration

Now speaking of headlights, there will come a time where you will notice that your front headlights have been discoloured or faded to a yellow. As a result, the light emitted dims to a yellow and ultimately presents you with a road unworthy vehicle.

Did you know such a simple headlight replacement can cost you from hundreds to thousands of dollars? That’s right, thousands of dollars! A BMW headlight assembly without a bulb can already rack you a $985 bill and that is not even including the accessories. Although, before you go digging your pockets, figuring our how to achieve clean car headlights may be what you need and the best part about it, it costs a fraction of the price of getting a headlight replacement. Typically if your car headlight is hindered due to internal oxidation, physical damage and so on, it may require a completely new replacement instead.

Achieving clean car headlights can be a troublesome process requiring meticulous attention to detail and experience, given how easy it is to create mistakes along the way. The car headlights can be quite a fragile part to handle and often requires the outside and inside to be buffed by machine and by hand for tough to reach areas. Also oils may transfer on to the light bulbs when handling the headlight by hand, these oils can cause your lights not to last as long and reduce it’s overall quality.

Crystal clear headlights are a must!

Fetch a better deal

With crystal clean car headlights, you can fetch a better market price for your car. Let’s face it–dingy headlights don’t really add any style points to your car. On the other hand, SUVs, sports cars, and off-road vehicles all look fantastic with clear lenses. They have a significant role in building the profile of your car. A Jeep, Porsche, Mazda, BMW, or Mercedes, is a good example. Their amazing headlights most likely contributed significantly to their wow factor and unique headlight design.

There is nothing more unappealing than the look of faded yellow headlights as it really does emphasise the wear and tear on your vehicle. Always an essential feature when it comes to investing in any sort of pre-sale car detail where you are looking to maximise your returns.

Maximise headlight performance

By cleaning your car headlights, it enables optimal performance by erasing any haze or scratches that may deflect the light output to where it is meant to be focused on. Any light lost due to blemishes, means less clarity of the road whilst driving. Especially if your car is equipped with high-performance LEDs, then having your car headlights serviced is a no-brainer.

Improved Visibility

Hazy headlights can limit your ability to see ahead and this can definitely be annoying and dangerous. Especially at night when light is very limited, as a driver, you are going to need as much light as you can possibly get for a smooth journey. Worst of all, when we consider rain, snow and dew into the mix, you have yourself a recipe for a car accident. The last thing you need during these challenging conditions is poor lighting.

car headlight restoration before
How to clean car headlights 2

Bonus Style Points!

The improvement in your car’s aesthetics after achieving clean car headlights is obvious like day and night. Even if a car’s hazy headlights may not be the first thing you notice about it, fixing them right away enhances your perception of the vehicle and that of others. Maintain the pristine appearance of the car you love even as it ages by routinely addressing headlight lens deterioration. Don’t take our word for it, but have a look at the two images above, side by side, the difference is clear!

How to achieve clean car headlights

The process is easier said than done, not only does this require significant attention to detail, but a greater knowledge on the composition of your headlights. Similarly to paint correction in car detailing, it is vital to understand the limitations of the headlight under certain pressures and abrasives. Nevertheless, let’s have a look at the process.


1. Ensure the surface is clean with a cleaning agent such as car wash shampoo to help loosen up dirt and grime.

2. Thoroughly rinse the surface to help remove the first layer of debris and grime

3. Use a clay bar and detailer solution as lubricant to help decontaminate the second film of contamination, such as stubborn dirt and stains.

4. Rinse and dry again

5. If you wish to, you can use a panel cleanse solution such as IPA mixed solution or a wax remover to remove any leftover oils for an even deeper clean.

6. Once rinsed and dried, we should have a clean surface to operate with.

7. Depending on the condition of your headlights, you may require wet-sanding to tackle the haze and oxidation on the headlight exterior.

8. Alternatively, depending on the state of the headlights, you can machine polish them with a buffer. Although, you would require the knowledge to determine the right combination of foam pads and polishing compound to use. All foam pads and polishing compounds will vary in abrasiveness and will correct at different speeds.

9. Once you are able to achieve the right amount of clarity, use a clean microfiber towel to buff off any excess compound from the headlights and then seal the finish with a protectant/sealant.

Car Mould Removal Sydney Service

 Car Care Advice For The Everyday Driver & Enthusiast

With a relentless hunger to deliver car owners and drivers across the world with the latest emerging trends and innovations in the car space, you have tuned into the right place.

Do your car a favour and book a headlight restoration with your car detail

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