5 Steps to Follow to Restore your Headlights
Hazy, clouded headlights can affect how well you see at night and make it difficult for oncoming traffic to see you. Luckily, this can easily be avoided with headlight restoration. Restoring your vehicle’s headlights will provide you with the best possible on-road lighting to ensure your safety. With just a little work, you can restore your headlights in no time.
Headlight Replacement Tips & Tricks
Many people have never replaced their own headlight bulbs and are a little intimidated by the job. But for the majority of cars, replacing the bulb of your headlight can be a simple task that takes less than a few minutes and requires no tools. Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure your headlight replacement runs smoothly:
- The Right Bulb – Make sure you get the right replacement headlight bulb for your specific car. Choose between a direct replacement or upgrade with a wider light span or a brighter bulb.
- Hands off – Be careful to never touch the glass of a halogen headlight bulb. The natural oils from your hands can cause the bulb to burn our prematurely. Use latex gloves or a paper towel to handle the bulb, and if you can accidently touch the glass, wipe it down with isopropyl alcohol.
- Grease to Last – Using a bit of dielectric grease on the base of the bulb will ensure it gets a good electrical contact, and it will help you get the full-service life out of the bulb. Dielectric grease is available in one-use packets, perfect for headlight replacement.
- Tool Free – Most headlight bulbs can be reached or replaced without tools but take your time when removing and installing the bulbs. If you’re too rough, you may accidentally pull the wires out of the sockets or clips.
- Read Up – Consult your owner’s manual on where to find your bulbs and how to remove and install them. Some bulbs are held into the headlight assembly by the wiring socket assembly, while other bulbs install directly into the headlight assembly. Most bulbs and socket assemblies are removed (and installed) with either a push-in-and-turn motion or by releasing small clips used to hold the pieces together.
a. Tip: Don’t remove both clips at the same time. Use one side for reference when replacing the other and repeat the process for the other side.
- Take Aim – Check the aim of your headlights. While driving, headlights can become loosened and knocked out of proper alignment due to rough road conditions. This can cause the light output of your bulbs to be directed away from where you need it most – on the roadway. Pull your vehicle up to a garage door or wall and check to see that both headlights shine at the same angle. If you need to adjust the aim, consult your vehicle’s owner manual.
The Exception To The Rule: If you’re having a difficult time finding out how to get to your headlight bulbs, you may have one of the few vehicles that require disassembly of car panels and/or removal of the headlight assembly in order to change the bulb. In general, how-to-videos for these vehicles can be found on YouTube.
What You’ll Need for Headlight Restoration
First and foremost, you will need to purchase a headlight restoration kit. We sell a variety of headlight restoring kits and products on our site. The top three we recommend are:
3M Headlight Lens Renewal
- Kit with protectant
- Restores the clarity of yellowed, hazed, or dull headlight lenses
- Cuts through oxidized buildup
- Protects from debris
BetterRain-X Headlight Restoration Kit (images on https://www.pepboys.com/auto-care/diy/headlight-restoration)
- Provides a deep clean to yellowed and hazed headlights
- Helps restore clear plastic
- Features specialty designed polish and sealant
Blue Magic Headlight Lens Restorer and Sealer(images on https://www.pepboys.com/auto-care/diy/headlight-restoration)
- Removes light haze and discoloration
Once you have purchased your headlight restoration kit, you will need a cordless drill that has variable speeds. If you don’t have a drill in your garage yet, you can find one on our website or at your local Pep Boys.Now, follow the steps below to restore your headlights;
- Clean the lens with soap and water
- Wipe the lens dry with a microfiber towel
- After the lens is dry, tape down the area of the headlight with precision masking tape, so that you are sure to stay inside the lines while buffering the light
- Open your restoration kit and follow the step-by-step directions provided in the kit
- Once you are finished following the steps in your kit, complete the process by buffing clean with a soft microfiber towel
If stubborn grime is giving you a hard time, schedule an appointment and let one of our Pep Boys professionals restore your headlights as good as new.