Why Are My Headlights Hazy?

Hazy Headlights | Lou's Car Care Center, Inc.


Most vehicle’s on the road today have polycarbonate plastic headlights. This strong plastic is made to handle tough road conditions without breaking. Overtime, exposure to UV light from the sun oxidizes the clear top coat on the headlight lens causing them to become hazy and turn yellow. Dirt, chemicals, and debris, like road salt, can also scratch and wear down the top coat, dulling the lens. Condensation can also form inside the headlight if there is a break or tear in the watertight seal around the lens or if the lens is cracked. However, unlike burned-out bulbs, cloudy headlights don’t always need to be replaced. Skilled auto detailers can restore hazy headlights to like-new condition.



Regular car washes are recommended to clean off dirt and chemicals that can promote fogging on the headlight lens. Wash the headlights well with automotive soap to remove any caked-on debris. After washing your vehicle, carefully apply a non-abrasive, headlight polishing compound using a microfiber cloth to gently remove any signs of yellowing. After waxing your vehicle, apply the same wax to your headlights to protect and seal the lens. If possible, park your vehicle indoors or in a shady area, with your headlights away from the sun to reduce UV exposure and slow the oxidizing process.



Most headlights can be restored if the lens does not have condensation behind it. At Lou’s Car Care, our professional headlight restoration service involves:

  • Dry sanding the headlights with two, specific grits to remove the oxidized outer layer

  • Wet sanding the headlights with two, specific grits to continue to remove the oxidized outer layer and refine the heavy dry sanding

  • Polishing the headlights with two, different polishing compounds to remove the scratches that attract dust and dull the light

  • Waxing and sealing the headlights to slow future yellowing of the lens

  • FREE exterior car wash


We do not recommend Do-It-Yourself headlight restorations as the wrong grit of sandpaper can cause permanent damage to the headlights.


Headlight Restoration | Lou's Car Care Center, Inc.




Condensation behind a headlight lens is a sign of a potentially bigger problem. Water had made its way behind the lens from either a broken seal or through an obvious crack or hairline fracture. That additional moisture can get into electrical components and cause rust and short-circuits. We recommend that an auto technician assess the condition of a headlight with moderate to heavy condensation to advise on the proper repair or replacement of the headlight.

Lou’s Car Care is the right choice for all of your vehicle repair, maintenance and detailing needs. Serving the Baldwinsville, Liverpool, Cicero, Clay, North Syracuse, Fayetteville, and Manlius communities since 1976! Call us or schedule your appointment today!



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