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Clearing the Fog on Headlights, a detailers answer to foggy headlamps

Fading and foggy headlights are not only unsightly, but they can limit visibility at night creating safety issues. The plain and simple truth is that nothing lasts forever, especially headlights. Some of it is manufacturing, but most is environmental and out of our control.

In my unscientific, but educated opinion, I would break it down like this: 96% Environmental UV rays, rocks, weather etc. wearing the clear coat down.


2% Manufactures applying thiner clear coats to cut costs.


2% Abrasive cleaners and improper maintenance. So, how do I prevent them from fading?

The simple truth is I don’t think you can prevent them from ever fading, but there are a few tricks to keep them looking newer longer. Park the vehicle in a garage as much, as possible, or get a car cover and cover the vehicle if it can’t be garaged kept. This by far will extend their life span more than any coating or film.

In addition to those methods, ceramic coating the headlights is a great option, as most professional grade ceramics last on average 5 years with proper care and maintenance.

If you’re not sold on ceramic coating them, then consider a clear film. Film offers superior protection against rock chips and bugs.


If you are really inclined to keep them looking new for the next 10 years, or so then applying film and adding a coating on top of the film should extend their life span significantly.


Regardless of which method you decided on, you still have to maintain them, and care for them.

The best way to maintain them is to not let the bugs, tar and other contaminates sit on them. You can simply wash them with your favorite car wash shampoo and dry them with a clean microfiber. You can also take spray wax or spray sealant to them to add to the UV protection from the above methods. In all cases make sure you read the label.


What if my headlights are already faded? Do I need new ones?


We performed a full detail on this Lexus and added a headlight restoration to make it look like new again.


In most cases a restoration seems to work for most headlights. However, restoration is not permeant, as they will eventually fade again, but with modern technology and chemicals you should be able to go 2 to 4 years before having to restore them again.

Lastly if you would rather not go through this process then replacement lamps are readily available, however, they come at a steep price upwards of $300 a light and $300 is on the low end. Add to that the cost to install them. In the long run, it's easier to protect and restore them than replace, but that is all dependent on how long you plan to keep the car.



Andrew's Auto Care formed in October 2020 is focused on providing high quality mobile detailing services to the metro Atlanta area north of I-20. We would love to earn your business. To get in touch call us at 770-624-9099 or email andrew@andrewsautocare.net




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