Back in the 1980s, car manufacturers almost ubiquitously made use of car headlights that were made out of glass. In the time since then, however, all of them have changed over to polycarbonate or plastic headlights on the ground of increased safety levels during a collision. Sadly, this has led to a new problem, namely headlight oxidation.
Oxidation is a natural process, which occurs over time. In the case of car headlights, the problem usually arises out of excessive exposure to the sun, with ultraviolet rays being the primary cause. Road debris and atmospheric chemicals also contribute to the problem. If your vehicle has this problem, here’s how to correct it using toothpaste and a cloth:
A Note before You Start
A cloudy appearance on a polycarbonate or plastic lens isn't necessarily the product of oxidation. Sometimes, built-up grit and grime can lend a hazy look to these surfaces. Make sure you thoroughly wash your headlights to determine the root cause of the haziness or discoloration prior to starting oxidation repair.
What you’ll need:
• Car wax
• Masking tape
• Plastic or vinyl gloves
• Toothpaste of any kind
• Cloth or sponge
1. Clean your headlights with soap and water using firm back-and-forth movements, then rinse off with water. Leave them to air-dry.
2. Mask around the edges of your headlights using masking tape in order to protect your vehicle’s bodywork from accidental scuffing.
3. Put your gloves on and dampen a clean, soft cloth in water. Add a dab of toothpaste.
4. Using the toothpaste-laden cloth, firmly rub the surface of your headlights using a small, circular motion.
5. Add toothpaste and water as needed, and expect to spend up to five minutes on each affected light.
6. Apply car wax to your clean headlights in order to protect them from future damage using a clean cloth and a circular motion, followed by another rinse of water.
Why this method works
Toothpaste contains a mild abrasive that buffs out the surface of our teeth when we brush them, and this same effect is applicable to car headlights! This is what allows it to remove stains from oxidized headlights.
Content and image source: Yourmechanic